Notes from the “Justice Reform” Bandwagon

 

shutterstock_245621518Yesterday, Mona Charen posted some skeptical thoughts on justice reform. I’ve been working on this subject for a few months now, so I thought I might offer some responses to her queries. The short of it is: she’s right that there are reasons to be cautious about reform, but there really are problems that need addressing. Furthermore, some reasonable answers have already been offered to many of her questions.

First of all, I should commend Mona for correctly debunking the oft-cited but highly misleading “two thirds of inmates are non-violent drug offenders” claim. As she reports, that is only true of Federal prisons, which represent a very small minority of America’s inmate population. The make-up of state prisons is quite different, and a majority of inmates have been convicted for violent crimes. So no, it isn’t the case that most of our nation’s inmates are basically harmless people who maybe used (or sold) a few drugs. The majority are there because they’ve hurt people, and it would be quite foolish just to release them en masse.

Republican presidential candidates should not be talking about “the new Jim Crow.” That phrase is pulled directly from Michelle Alexander’s foolish, irresponsible book (of the same name), and we shouldn’t lend it any credence. Incarceration is not the new Jim Crow, and approaching it that way will only precipitate a different kind of broken system.

Nevertheless, we should be looking for ways to help impoverished communities rebuild themselves. We should, as well, be interested in finding more effective, and less expensive, methods of crime control and rehabilitation. Speaking as someone on the justice reform bandwagon, I’m very motivated by the thought that it’s essential to offer a counter-narrative to the sweeping “racial justice” demands of Black Lives Matter. I don’t support their proposals, but social angst about an ill-functioning justice system may well precipitate such irresponsible changes if we can’t offer a more appropriate remedy to real problems.

Mona poses some good questions. How should we handle parolees who continue to offend? How do we reassure the public that the system is fair? Will we undermine people’s respect for law if we don’t respond aggressively enough to offenses that are still serious, even if not violent?

Serious, responsible people have been working on all of these questions. A few short answers: yes, there are better ways to make use of parole and probation. Programs like HOPE (using swift and certain sanctions to motivate parolees to follow the rules) have gotten excellent results, and are being modeled in many places around the country. One nice thing about probation is that it often enables offenders to pay restitution to their victims, and both of these options are safer and more feasible now that we have technology that enables us to keep tabs on an offender’s location and monitor his alcohol use. That’s not going to be safe for hardened, violent criminals, but for many smaller-scale lawbreakers it’s effective and considerably cheaper than years’ worth of incarceration.

Concerning “suites and streets,” the biggest two points of concern are probably pretrial proceedings and prosecutorial power. I don’t believe that the system is awash in bigotry. But I do believe that large-scale incarceration has created some “efficiency” of a kind that often undermines real justice, and no one should be shocked to hear that people are more likely to get squashed by the justice machine if they’re too poor to afford good legal help. I have a piece in the works right now (meaning, finished but not published) on bail reform and helping the indigent get better legal help. But if you really want to know right now, you can read the book on it. Excellent, feasible suggestions (most of them already tried in particular locales) are already out there, and they don’t call for a massive relaxation of law enforcement generally.

It’s challenging to make justice reform into a sexy topic, because the actual problems in the system don’t lend themselves to top-down, grand-gesture reform. They’re more the sort that call for psychiatrists and policy wonks to put their heads together, developing practical solutions that ideally should be tailored to the needs of particular states and regions. From a journalistic standpoint, it’s a little bit hard to sell that, while it’s much easier to sell the sweeping, dramatic narrative of Black Lives Matter. Pragmatic nuts-and-bolts reform can seem kind of boring to outsiders (though not to, say, the indigent defendant who gets to watch his kids grow up instead of spending several years in prison), but it’s often the thing that’s actually needed.

At the very least, though, we should avoid broadcasting the message that conservatives are embracing this issue just because they want to jump on the liberal racial justice bandwagon. That’s not true. They’re embracing this issue because they realize that law enforcement and corrections are not immune to the sorts of problems that arise in every large-scale system that’s funded by taxpayers and administered by bureaucrats. Sometimes the system needs some restructuring. Conservatives are working out ways to make it better.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Rachel Lu: They’re embracing this issue because they realize that law enforcement and corrections are not immune to the sorts of problems that arise in every large-scale system that’s funded by taxpayers and administered by bureaucrats. Sometimes the system needs some restructuring. Conservatives are working out ways to make it better.

    Wow.

    You write and think very clearly on this messy subject. I agree with every word you’ve written here.

    Thank you.

    • #1
  2. Merina Smith Member
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    The “keep it local”  and “top down, federal government solutions don’t work” parts are what get conservatives on board. We all want to criminal justice to be just, and we all want fathers and husbands back with their families if they safely can be.  This should be a winning topic for conservatives.

    • #2
  3. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Rachel Lu: But I do believe that large-scale incarceration has created some “efficiency” of a kind that often undermines real justice, and no one should be shocked to hear that people are more likely to get squashed by the justice machine if they’re too poor to afford good legal help.

    A thousand times yes. Our justice system is a machine that is way more concerned with being systematic than it is about justice. Justice is the thing that is lost in the system as it currently exists. When everyone in contact with a case thinks it prima facie ridiculous and the only person with the authority to sweep the matter aside is a prosecutor who sees an easy win rather than a human being facing either justice or injustice, we have a problem. Sure, 99 times out of a hundred that efficiency comes to the right(ish) result, but that one time when there is no discernment and injustice occurs our entire culture suffers for it.

    • #3
  4. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Anyone who has never seen it owes to himself a day at the local courthouse watching pretrial hearing and people pleading guilty to things only tangentially related to the real behavior they are accused of committing.

    Of course, if every accused person got a process and trial like what is described in primary school text books the system would crash from being overloaded. Our system was designed for precision, not volume.

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  5. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Rachel Lu: How should we handle parolees who continue to offend?

    Would parole even be a sensible option if our prisons were not overloaded? Shouldn’t every sentence be carried out for the full prescribed duration?

    If the purpose is rather to reward the good behavior of particular inmates, then it shouldn’t even be a consideration until such an inmate has demonstrated cause.

    • #5
  6. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    Yes, I love that justice reform has thus far proceeded mostly according to a federalist model. States implement reforms, and the more successful ones get tried in other states with similar needs. See, for instance, Georgia’s reform efforts, modeled on measures that had already been successful in Texas. There was cooperation and cross-pollination between the two states, but each state legislature ultimately passed its own bills, to the widespread approval of its own citizens. California might be going a little overboard with some measures, and if so, the negative impacts will at least be relatively contained so that the whole country doesn’t have to learn the same lessons the hard way. Laboratories of democracy, yes!

    The only downside to this model is that it’s harder to publicize. People are so federally focused nowadays that it’s harder to reassure them that, “Sure, justice reform is already on the right track, good things are happening!” when the picture is far too complicated to paint in a brief summary. The danger of Black Lives Matter is that it may persuade people that an irresponsible grand gesture is needed (like firing half our law enforcement, which their charter recommends), when prudent state/regional adjustments are really the appropriate remedy.

    That’s why I wanted to say, especially in response to Mona Charen’s post, that I really don’t think it’s true that conservatives are interested in this issue (in general) because they want to throw themselves heedlessly on the racial-justice bandwagon. The conservatives I’ve worked with (including some from CKI and multiple influential public policy foundations) aren’t like that at all. They’re very pragmatic about the policy details, and they care enormously about public safety, but they just really think it should be possible to implement some responsible reforms, which will slim down our corrections budget while also giving many people a better chance to pull their lives together. There’s surely a lot to love about that endeavor.

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  7. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    The King Prawn:

    Rachel Lu: But I do believe that large-scale incarceration has created some “efficiency” of a kind that often undermines real justice, and no one should be shocked to hear that people are more likely to get squashed by the justice machine if they’re too poor to afford good legal help.

    Sure, 99 times out of a hundred that efficiency comes to the right(ish) result, but that one time when there is no discernment and injustice occurs our entire culture suffers for it.

    I hope this is an accurate estimate! I’m not always sure.

    • #7
  8. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    What harm would come to society from this:

    We release everyone convicted of drug possession, prostitution, gambling, and other offenses where no other human was injured or lost property.

    I can certainly see the savings.

    • #8
  9. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    Aaron Miller:

    Rachel Lu: How should we handle parolees who continue to offend?

    Would parole even be a sensible option if our prisons were not overloaded? Shouldn’t every sentence be carried out for the full prescribed duration?

    If the purpose is rather to reward the good behavior of particular inmates, then it shouldn’t even be a consideration until such an inmate has demonstrated cause.

    Parole is a perfectly sensible idea, at least in principle. There may be people who no longer need to be behind bars, but who still merit some level of correctional control, for their own good and the public’s. If they haven’t spent any time in prison, we call that “probation”. If they have, it’s parole. You seem to have truth-in-sentencing type concerns, but that’s a different issue.

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  10. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Oh, and that “innocent until proven guilty” bit — while it’s technically true, and a jury will surely be instructed to behave so on the first day of a trial, in reality the entire criminal justice system — from the cop who first contacts you to even your own defense attorney — will treat you like every jot and tittle of the charge is true. Only the jurors are required to abide by this idea. In our justice system it is simply not a reality. Once accused and charged with a crime all your liberty is forfeit except for what you purchase back from the state at an exorbitant cost (bail) or a judge grants out of his benevolence.

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  11. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    The King Prawn:Oh, and that “innocent until proven guilty” bit — while it’s technically true, and a jury will surely be instructed to behave so on the first day of a trial, in reality the entire criminal justice system — from the cop who first contacts you to even your own defense attorney — will treat you like every jot and tittle of the charge is true. Only the jurors are required to abide by this idea. In our justice system it is simply not a reality. Once accused and charged with a crime all your liberty is forfeit except for what you purchase back from the state at an exorbitant cost (bail) or a judge grants out of his benevolence.

    Yeah, hence the need for pretrial reform. Bail reform has finally entered public consciousness (at least a little bit) as a pressing issue. None too soon.

    • #11
  12. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Rachel Lu:

    The King Prawn:

    Rachel Lu: But I do believe that large-scale incarceration has created some “efficiency” of a kind that often undermines real justice, and no one should be shocked to hear that people are more likely to get squashed by the justice machine if they’re too poor to afford good legal help.

    Sure, 99 times out of a hundred that efficiency comes to the right(ish) result, but that one time when there is no discernment and injustice occurs our entire culture suffers for it.

    I hope this is an accurate estimate! I’m not always sure.

    The numbers were only for emphasis, and I’d hate to imagine that my ordeal is common, though I fear it is.

    • #12
  13. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    Tommy De Seno:What harm would come to society from this:

    We release everyone convicted of drug possession, prostitution, gambling, and other offenses were no other human was injured or lost property.

    I can certainly see the savings.

    Prostitution amnesty! Who doesn’t love it? (Dark chuckle.)

    If the suggestion is just that we should release scores of inmates tomorrow, with no follow-up, I think that would be harmful. Whether or not you think they would be, err, disruptive influences in society, which some surely would.

    Already, respect for our legal system is undermined by a relative lack of stability. That is: people don’t feel like there’s fairness and consistency in the way crimes are prosecuted or in the sentences that are dispensed. Dramatic gestures like “drug and prostitution amnesties” aren’t going to help with that. These laws exist for reasons; you may not think they’re very good, but in that case we should debate whether to change them rather than just releasing people willy-nilly.

    On the other hand, better methods of external control (like ankle monitoring) might in some instances make early release an eligible option. And that might also make probation a more viable possibility going forward, for certain crimes. That’s worth discussing.

    • #13
  14. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Much of our system is based on the “do something” mentality rather than reasoned and rational responses to reality.

    It probably doesn’t help that our society has degraded to the point that even those of us who are very concerned about tyranny and injustice happening on an individual level also want some of this efficiency because of the sheer volume of crimes committed.

    • #14
  15. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Rachel Lu: Prostitution amnesty! Who doesn’t love it? (Dark chuckle.)

    How many prostitutes are locked up long term or at a level higher than the lowest available like city or county? Or gamblers? Drugs are really the thing, but my understanding is that it’s not solely possession or even selling drugs that get these people more than token sentences. It’s all the other crimes they commit as part of the drug culture that pile on the years.

    • #15
  16. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Good post, Rachel.  I have a lot to say about this topic, and not the time to say it right now.  It is very interesting to think about these problems from inside the system, and I know there are many Ricochetti who can probably do so (Al French comes to mind, if he could be persuaded to write at length about it).

    Rachel Lu: It’s challenging to make justice reform into a sexy topic, because the actual problems in the system don’t lend themselves to top-down, grand-gesture reform.

    I agree with this point, but have the same response that I had to a similar call from Kate on the member feed regarding gun control – to the idea that we can all accept that there is a problem and something ought to be done, my only response is what?  We live in a human world with real problems.  Institutions are not perfect, and will never be perfect.  For every problem I’ve witnessed in our justice system, I’ve also witnessed the exact opposite problem.  For instance, virtually no vetting process for the appointment of public defense; so while you might say that being poor is a disadvantage (and I’m not sure that I consider that a problem so much as a reality), it is as much of a problem to disallow negative consequences by always having a safety net.  The attorney is free, you nearly always qualify and there is virtually no personal cost.  But that’s not the only issue – we deal with the ignorance of juries, but on the flip side of that, the arrogance of judges… these are problems with no easy solution, but problems where the cure is often sure to be worse than the ailment.

    Rachel Lu: They’re more the sort that call for psychiatrists and policy wonks to put their heads together, developing practical solutions that ideally should be tailored to the needs of particular states and regions.

    And here is where I have to more thoroughly disagree, although I apologize if I’m simply misreading your statement.  The idea that crime is a malfunction rather than a decision is amazingly pervasive.  Treatment nearly always trumps punishment.  So we live in a rehabilitative vs. retributive society right now where personal responsibility is out the window because we’re all victims of circumstance, upbringing, disease, racism, culture, the list goes on and on and on.  I’d be half inclined to say we need a pastor, not a psychiatrist…  and that’s just it (I made the same point about gun control) – it is a cultural problem.  Not the method of adjudication, but the ideas that foster criminality in the first place, and the answer is more conservatism, traditional values, etc… It is impossible to preach relativism, indulgence, and entitlement while maintaining a working rule of law.  The two are incompatible, and the left is spotting the fire, but offering to douse it with gasoline.

    • #16
  17. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    The King Prawn:

    Rachel Lu: Prostitution amnesty! Who doesn’t love it? (Dark chuckle.)

    How many prostitutes are locked up long term or at a level higher than the lowest available like city or county? Or gamblers? Drugs are really the thing, but my understanding is that it’s not solely possession or even selling drugs that get these people more than token sentences. It’s all the other crimes they commit as part of the drug culture that pile on the years.

    Excellent points. Our prisons aren’t full of people doing hard time for being prostitutes. You might do some time for running a high-stakes illegal gambling ring or something like… or a dog-fighting ring… but those are genuinely more pernicious. (Dog-fighting, for instance, involves training canines to be ruthless, indiscriminate killers. There’s definitely a public safety angle there.)

    There are some freaky cases of mandatory minimum (drug) sentences that get applied to people who almost certainly don’t need to do hard time. That should be corrected… but everyone kind of realizes that now, so it’s already underway.

    • #17
  18. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Tommy De Seno:What harm would come to society from this:

    We release everyone convicted of drug possession, prostitution, gambling, and other offenses were no other human was injured or lost property.

    I can certainly see the savings.

    As I pointed out on Mona’s post:  We release Al Capone because he’s only in jail for the non-violent crime of tax evasion.

    Your argument relies on a premise that is by no means assured.

    • #18
  19. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Rachel Lu: There are some freaky cases of mandatory minimum (drug) sentences that get applied to people who almost certainly don’t need to do hard time. That should be corrected… but everyone kind of realizes that now, so it’s already underway.

    This also isn’t what it seems.  In Washington, the mandatory minimum for possession of drug paraphernalia is 1 day for a first offense, 2 days the second and all subsequent offenses.  Possession of drugs involves a weight limit, and it is only past a certain point where you exit the realm of petty misdemeanors.  If you’re in on a man min for drug possession, you’re talking about ridiculously large amounts of drugs.  There is no “user” in possession of that amount, yet this argument is nearly always presented as if joe-dopeaddict is rotting in jail due to harsh sentencing.  That is simply not true.

    • #19
  20. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    Ryan, I emphatically do not want to eliminate the moral dimension, but, I happen to think that a just and moral response will also be, in most cases, the most rehabilitative. Being held accountable is important to making people well; being made well is also critical to society’s further good (in most instances, recognizing that only a very small portion of our inmates are desperate criminals who probably need life imprisonment.) And yes, I think psychiatrists and criminologists can help us figure out what will be more successful. But can psychiatrists not be interested in justice?

    • #20
  21. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    Ryan M:

    Rachel Lu: There are some freaky cases of mandatory minimum (drug) sentences that get applied to people who almost certainly don’t need to do hard time. That should be corrected… but everyone kind of realizes that now, so it’s already underway.

    This also isn’t what it seems. In Washington, the mandatory minimum for possession of drug paraphernalia is 1 day for a first offense, 2 days the second and all subsequent offenses. Possession of drugs involves a weight limit, and it is only past a certain point where you exit the realm of petty misdemeanors. If you’re in on a man min for drug possession, you’re talking about ridiculously large amounts of drugs. There is no “user” in possession of that amount, yet this argument is nearly always presented as if joe-dopeaddict is rotting in jail due to harsh sentencing. That is simply not true.

    Usually not, I think. I did use the word “freaky”, mind. I’ve read about instances where people had a small amount of drugs that were blended with some non-illegal substance, but state laws were tailored in such a way that it all “counted”. I’ve also heard of instances of drug mules etc doing hard time when they probably had very limited awareness of what they were even doing.Do people make those sorts of defenses more often than they’re true? I’m sure. But they might still be true sometimes.

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  22. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Ryan M:

    Tommy De Seno:What harm would come to society from this:

    We release everyone convicted of drug possession, prostitution, gambling, and other offenses were no other human was injured or lost property.

    I can certainly see the savings.

    As I pointed out on Mona’s post: We release Al Capone because he’s only in jail for the non-violent crime of tax evasion.

    Your argument relies on a premise that is by no means assured.

    On a deeper level, is it justice to incarcerate someone on a spurious charge you can prove rather than trying and failing to convict him of the crimes which he is really believed to have committed? Can justice be served by consolation prizes?

    • #22
  23. BrentB67 Member
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Rachel, in your research have you looked into the effects of private prisons. Some states have outsourced their prison system to private contractors. Does this create perverse incentives?

    • #23
  24. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    BrentB67:Rachel, in your research have you looked into the effects of private prisons. Some states have outsourced their prison system to private contractors. Does this create perverse incentives?

    Everything does, right? But I think private prisons could actually create some good incentives if we tailored the systems right, e.g. rewarding prisons for low recidivism rates.

    • #24
  25. BrentB67 Member
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Rachel Lu:

    BrentB67:Rachel, in your research have you looked into the effects of private prisons. Some states have outsourced their prison system to private contractors. Does this create perverse incentives?

    Everything does, right? But I think private prisons could actually create some good incentives if we tailored the systems right, e.g. rewarding prisons for low recidivism rates.

    That would be good, but would the reward/bonus for low recidivism be sufficient to cover the lost revenue from more inmates returning?

    I am just very skeptical of privatized criminal justice. That is one thing the state is specifically empowered to do.

    • #25
  26. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Rachel Lu:Ryan, I emphatically do not want to eliminate the moral dimension, but, I happen to think that a just and moral response will also be, in most cases, the most rehabilitative. Being held accountable is important to making people well; being made well is also critical to society’s further good (in most instances, recognizing that only a very small portion of our inmates are desperate criminals who probably need life imprisonment.) And yes, I think psychiatrists and criminologists can help us figure out what will be more successful. But can psychiatrists not be interested in justice?

    My point is not that psychiatrists are not interested in justice, but that we are misguided in treating criminality as an illness.  Regarding the moral dimension, on the one hand, we tell people to reject traditional morality, on the other hand, we’re astonished that they misbehave… I am saying that the problem of justice is not a problem in itself but rather a symptom of something larger.  So, we can tinker around with it all we want, and that won’t change anything.  Take urban crime, for instance.  All the racial sensitivity training in the world won’t change outcomes when it is blacks who commit a majority of the crimes.  And until you do away with the victim/entitlement/dependence mentality in that culture, you re-emphasize the importance of fatherhood and family structure, you will not see any changes.  As a society, we are unwilling to do that, so any adjustments we make to the judicial mechanism will be fruitless.

    • #26
  27. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Rachel Lu:

    Tommy De Seno:What harm would come to society from this:

    We release everyone convicted of drug possession, prostitution, gambling, and other offenses were no other human was injured or lost property.

    I can certainly see the savings.

    These laws exist for reasons; you may not think they’re very good, but in that case we should debate whether to change them rather than just releasing people willy-nilly.

    Oh then allow me to go on record:   I favor 100 % the “willy-nilly” releasing of these people from prison.  Hell, call it the “willy-nilly release act” for all I care.

    Let’s save by firing some of the pension padding, every-other-day-off, accumulating $200,000 in sick days, shiftless public employees that are involved in running the prison industrial complex.

    Let these people out of jail and give them increased fines and a payment plan.  Not only do we get money rather than loose money in the process, but they will be taking part in commerce and strengthening the economy as much as any one of us.

    • #27
  28. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    The King Prawn:

    Ryan M:

    Tommy De Seno:What harm would come to society from this:

    We release everyone convicted of drug possession, prostitution, gambling, and other offenses were no other human was injured or lost property.

    I can certainly see the savings.

    As I pointed out on Mona’s post: We release Al Capone because he’s only in jail for the non-violent crime of tax evasion.

    Your argument relies on a premise that is by no means assured.

    On a deeper level, is it justice to incarcerate someone on a spurious charge you can prove rather than trying and failing to convict him of the crimes which he is really believed to have committed? Can justice be served by consolation prizes?

    No, but that’s not my point.  I’m not suggesting that it is good to get people however you can, with whatever little proof you have.  I’m only saying that the numbers do not say exactly what the people citing them are claiming.  On another post, I brought up the reality of plea bargains – where a person is charged with several things at once, and as a defense attorney, I might encourage my client to plea to one with dismissals of the others because it will be better in the long run.  So the picture that we see in the statistics simply doesn’t tell the whole story.

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  29. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Tommy De Seno:

    Let these people out of jail and give them increased fines and a payment plan. Not only do we get money rather than loose money in the process, but they will be taking part in commerce and strengthening the economy as much as any one of us.

    On a bit of a side note, I’d be interested in seeing what percentage of these fines actually get paid.  Based on my own limited experience, I’d be surprised if that number was anything other than extremely small.

    Rather, I’d like to see more consequences tied in to entitlement.  In other words, don’t pay fines, don’t receive welfare, etc… Along those lines, I’d even be willing to consider expansion of government programs if we had job-training or other related types of programs tied to welfare, with caps and strict cut-offs when it comes to money paid out in welfare.  Having these sorts of consequences tied to our justice system would be perfectly appropriate.

    • #29
  30. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Rachel Lu:

    Tommy De Seno:What harm would come to society from this:

    We release everyone convicted of drug possession, prostitution, gambling, and other offenses were no other human was injured or lost property.

    I can certainly see the savings.

    Prostitution amnesty! Who doesn’t love it? (Dark chuckle.)

    While we are on the subject, prostitution laws are the dumbest we have in America.

    Why do we care if some poor guy who needs a release and doesn’t have a companion buys that release?   Why do I have to give a damn?   Why should he have to give a damn whether or not you give a damn?   Let his priest worry about his soul.  You feel free to pray for him.  Neither is a public function.

    We can pass time, place and manner restrictions on it to keep it from the public eye to maintain our puritan vestigial appendage. You think the John wants it in public anyway?

    Anyone who favors the current prostitution laws will not get away with calling themselves a small government conservative around me, and don’t even try to call yourself a libertarian you do.

    • #30

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