Return to Common Sense
January 5, 2015
Section: Domestic – Crime
“Swift, sure, and blind justice has increased prison populations and consequently lowered crime rates.”
“There's a simple way to solve the crime problem: obey the law; punish those who do not.” Rush Limbaugh.
Philosophy (Background, Issues, Objectives):
There are four justifications for criminal sanctions (punishment):
- Deterrence - seeks to make crime more costly; deter from committing crime and criminals from recidivism.
- Incapacitation - removes the offender from society; reducing crime is most important.
- Rehabilitation - assumes crime is determined by social forces and not the decisions of criminals; criminals must be retrained, not punished.
- Retribution (Just deserts) - asserts that punishments should be commensurate with the moral gravity of offenses; level of punishment determined by seriousness of crime.
Restitution is associated with the civil courts.
- Restitution is based on restoring lost compensation.
Laws are selectively enforced.
- Speed limits are perfect example of selective enforcement.
- Punishment is inconsistent, geographically and economically.
- Higher class and politicians are frequently given a pass on first criminal offense.
- “Mental” (ex: hate) crimes increase punishment, but not effective (hard to prove mental motivation).
o “Thought police” seeks to criminalize thought and non politically correct thinking.
o Hate crimes establish unfair, two tiered justice system, favoring one type of victim over others.
Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) allows judges to order highly symptomatic and problematic individuals with serious mental illness to accept treatment as a condition of living in the community.
- Even more important, it allows judges to order the mental-health system to do what it won’t do voluntarily: accept the most seriously ill into their programs.
- AOT is only for those who have a past history of needless arrests, incarcerations, and hospitalizations.
- New York made a marked impact on street crime among those enrolled:
o Reduced homelessness by 74%
o Reduced suicide attempts by 55%
o Reduced substance abuse by 48%
o Reduced hospitalizations by 77%
o Reduced arrests by 83%
o Reduced physical harm to others by 47%
o Reduced destruction of property by 46%
o Reduced incarcerations by 87%
- Similar results occurred in California.
Capital punishment is criminal justice, not revenge.
· A society that honors the sanctity of life by putting to death those who are destroyers of life is not murderous but Godly.
· Number of executions has decreased since 1999.
· Gallup poll found 69% of Americans favor the death penalty.
· States that reinstituted death penalty after 1976 collectively saw a significantly bigger drop in murder rates by 1998.
o Studies found that each execution saved the lives of about 15 to 18 potential murder victims.
o 75% studies by economists find that executions reduce murder, accounting for 12% to 14% drop in murders.
Department of Justice statistics document crime is skewed by race.
· Between 1976 and 2005 blacks have been killing other people 6-9 times higher than comparable homicide rates for whites and Hispanics combined.
o From 1976 to 2005 blacks committed more than 52% of all murders in America.
· Blacks constituted 39.3% of all violent crime arrests, including 56.3% of all robberies.
· In New York violent crime is 13 times more likely to be perpetrated by a black than be a white.
· In studies that consider all relevant variables, such as the defendant’s prior criminal record, the severity of the crime in question, the offender’s demeanor with police, whether a weapon was used, and whether the crime in question was victim-precipitated, no differences have been found in sentencing patterns, either in relation to the victim’s race or the offender’s race.
o In 1983, the liberal-leaning National Academy of Sciences found “no evidence of a widespread systematic pattern of discrimination in sentencing.”
o In 1985, the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology concluded that a disproportionate number of blacks were in prison not because of a double standard of justice, but because of the disproportionate number of crimes they committed.
o In 1985, federal government statistician Patrick Langan conducted an exhaustive study of black and white incarceration rates and found that “even if racism [in sentencing] exists, it might help explain only a small part of the gap between the 11 percent black representation in the United States adult population and the now nearly 50 percent black representation among persons entering state prisons each year in the United States.”
o In a 1987 review essay of the three most comprehensive books examining the role of race in the American criminal-justice system, the journal Criminology concluded that there was little evidence of anti-black discrimination.
o A 1991 Rand Corporation study found that a defendant’s racial or ethnic group affiliation bore little or no relationship to conviction rates; far more important than race were such factors as the amount of evidence against the defendant, and whether or not a credible eyewitness testified.
o The 1991 Rand study also found almost no relation between a defendant’s race or ethnicity and his or her likelihood of receiving a severe sentence.
o A 1993 study by the National Academy of Sciences agreed that race had a negligible effect on sentencing.
o Also in 1993, a study of federal sentencing guidelines found no evidence of racially disparate punishments for perpetrators of similar offenses.
o The seriousness of the crime, the offender’s prior criminal record, and whether weapons were used accounted for all the observed interracial variations of prison sentences.
o In 1995, Patrick Langan analyzed data on 42,500 defendants in America’s 75 largest counties and found “no evidence that in the places where blacks in the United States have most of their contacts with the justice system, that system treats them more harshly than whites.”
o A 1996 analysis of 55,000 big-city felony cases found that black defendants were convicted at a lower rate than whites in 12 of the 14 federally designated felony categories.
o Liberal criminologist Michael Tonry wrote in his 1996 book Malign Neglect: “Racial differences in patterns of offending, not racial bias by police and other officials, are the principal reason that such greater proportions of blacks than whites are arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned.”
o In 1997, the following year, liberal criminologists Robert Sampson and Janet Lauritsen concurred that “large racial differences in criminal offending,” not racism, accounted for the fact that blacks were likelier than whites to be in prison and serving longer terms.
· This finding is consistent with the overwhelming consensus of other recent studies, most of which indicate that black defendants are slightly less likely to be convicted of criminal charges against them that white defendants.
Criminal system over protects the criminal.
- Profiling criminals is a valid police approach for rapid apprehension.
- Evidence rules impede law enforcement.
- Crime rate decreased corresponding to increased incarceration.
- The one tactic that has worked is swarming crime “hot spots” with cops, forcing criminals to mind their manners.
U.S. has highest adult imprisonment rate in the world.
- The United States now has 5% of the world’s population, yet 25% of its prisoners.
o Nearly one in every 33 American adults is in some form of correctional control.
o The prison system now costs states more than $50 billion a year.
- In 2009, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 1,524,513 prisoners in state and federal prisons.
o When local jails are included, the total climbs to 2,284,913 prisoners.
o Nonviolent offenders make up more than 60% of the prison and jail population.
o Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all inmates, up from less than 10% in 1980.
o Expanded incarceration accounts for about 25% of the drop in violent crime that began in the mid-1990s.
o State correctional spending has quadrupled in the last two decades and now totals $52 billion a year, consuming one out of 14 general fund dollars.
- Prisoners forfeit rights, such as voting, as condition of imprisonment.
- High percentage of black males (1 in every 6) & Hispanic males (1 in every 13); White males (1 in every 38).
o In 2010 one in 87 working-aged white men is in prison or jail
o In 2010 one in 36 Hispanic men is in prison or jail.
o In 2010 one in 12 African-American men is in prison or jail.
o More young (20-34) African-American men without a high school diploma or GED are currently behind bars (37 percent) than employed (26 percent).
- Women incarceration rates recently doubled to 1.8% (compared to overall male likelihood of 11.3%)
- Recidivism remains high (2/3 rearrested within 3 years) for most crimes.
o More than 40% of ex-convicts return to prison within three years of release.
o In some states, recidivism rates are closer to 60%.
- In 2008, 18.4% of all state prison inmates are drug offenders.
o Texas reduced recidivism using drug courts to emphasize treatment and probation over incarceration for first time offenders
- Prison reform focuses on prioritizing prison space for violent and dangerous offenders, while strengthening cost-effective alternatives that hold nonviolent offenders accountable.
o Texas lowered crime rate by 25%, while lowering incarceration rate.
o New York prison population has fallen to lowest rate since the 60’s, thanks in part to innovative policing strategies in New York City.
Justice statistics divide crime into four categories:
- violent (assault, robbery),
- property (theft, vandalism),
- public-order(prostitution, gambling), and
- Based on “damage to the victim” these would play out, from least to greatest, like this: public-order, drug, property, and violent.
Recidivism rates in America have been trending upward, from around 63% in 1983 to around 77% now.
- Recidivism, however, does not correlate with respect to victimization.
o Property damage yields the highest rate of re-arrest at 82%.
o Drug offenders are at 77%,
o Public-order offenders are at 74%, and
o Violent criminals are at 71%.
- Of the prisoners that were rearrested, 57% of their arrests occurred within the first year of their release.
- Prior to 1996, when Megan’s Law was passed (requiring every state to register sex offenders), sex offender recidivism was around 25%.
o The reason we treat sex offenders with such disdain is based on the fact that (according to a 2012 report) 26% of sex offender victims are age 12 – 14, and 34% are under the age of 9.
States are trying a dramatic shift on crime and punishment policy, offering alternative punishments for non-violent offenders.
- Texas began to shift nonviolent offenders from state prison into alternatives, by strengthening probation and parole supervision and treatment.
o Texas was able to avert nearly $2 billion in projected corrections spending increases.
o The state said no to building eight more prisons.
o The state’s crime rate is declining.
o At the same time, the state’s parole failures have dropped by 39%.
- South Carolina and Mississippi have passed sentencing and corrections reform steering lower-level offenders away from prison an reinvested some of the savings realized from reduced corrections spending into substance abuse and mental health treatment and other programs designed to cut re-offense rates.
o South Carolina has seen sharp declines in crime.
o Mississippi expects to save $266 million over the next ten years which will be directed at drug courts and re-entry programs intended to reduce recidivism.
Prisons are being used to recruit Islamic terrorists.
- An estimated 2 million people are imprisoned in the U.S., 6% of them are Muslims.
- An estimated 9,000 prison inmates want Islamic services.
- Radical imams in New York have espoused violent views, and war on non-Muslims.
Legalizing the possession and sale of marijuana has been offered as a solution to the drug crime problem, but benefits have not achieved and problems have increased.
- Marijuana is a gateway drug, the starter drug of choice for most criminals, and can lead users to more dangerous drugs.
- Justification for legalization was increased revenue for states and decreased drug-related crime.
o Actual results were no increase in revenue, increased crime, and additional medical costs.
o In Los Angeles, police report that areas surrounding cannabis clubs have experienced a 200% increase in robberies, a 52.2% increase in burglaries, a 57.1% increase in aggravated assault, and a 130.8% increase in burglaries from automobiles.
- Scientific literature is clear that marijuana is addictive, its use significantly impairs bodily and mental functions and is associated with cancer, strokes, heart disease, birth defects, and a host of other serious medical conditions.
- Studies show that teens who frequently smoke marijuana are more likely to suffer a long-term drop in IQ.
Laws can and do legislate morality.
- Judeo Christian morality is basis for many laws.
- Victim justice is ultimate goal.
Enforce or erase all laws, awarding uniform sentences.
- Enforce swift and sure capital punishment for most heinous crimes.
- Revoke “hate crimes” provisions as unneeded, unenforceable thought control.
- Decriminalize socially and economically productive conduct.
- Lower legal drinking age to 18.
Return pendulum to favor victim rights over criminal rights.
- Endorse “criminal profiling” as valid law enforcement approach.
- Revoke driver’s license for repeat DWI offenders.
- Increase length of punishment for repeat offenders.
- Continue trend of keeping violent criminals incarcerated.
- Provide some form of restitution, as part of judgment, to the victim or victim’s family.
Privatize prisons to outsource incarceration services.
- Ensure crime is punished and justice is served.
- Set federal, state, and local incarceration standards and practices.
- Ensure corrections funding is performance based (ex: reducing recidivism, decrease in threat to public safety, etc.)
- Encourage prisoner paid participation in free market enterprise ventures.
Return state and local laws primacy on:
- Abortion application.
- Drug enforcement.
o States should establish drug courts for drug offenses, emphasizing treatment for offenders and incarceration as leverage to ensure compliance.
- Juvenile delinquency.
- Gang activity.
End DOJ law enforcement grants that subsidize routine local law enforcement activities.
- End ineffective Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants.
- End ineffective Youth PROMISE grants.
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