“The growing awareness of fiscal and social costs is why criminal
justice reform is garnering so much support on the right,” writes
Mary Kate Cary in commentary for U.S. News. The tough-on-crime approach
reigned supreme in previous decades. Now it seems time for a new approach
to reign supreme: Right on crime. Being right on crime means not incarcerating
more people than pretty much any other nation on earth.
This would save taxpayer dollars. More importantly, it would give people
their liberty and freedom.
As it turns out, both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to show support
for this approach. Republicans have a way to slow the tide of government
spending. Democrats have a way to get low-level offenders (like folks
in jail for
drug possession crimes) out from behind bars and back to their lives.
Cary writes that while the tough-on-crime approach seems to have worked
in terms of lower rates of violent crime like rape and murder, today more
than half of prison populations are made up of people in for various drug offenses.
Perhaps this most telling quote, in terms of the shift in attitude away
from being tough on crime, is this one: “When you’re going
to spend $25,000 or $35,000 [a year] to keep someone out of society,”
said one state attorney general, “you have to have a darn good reason