Is Criminal Justice Reform a Policy Issue for Republicans or Democrats?

December 06, 2015 by

The notion that criminal justice reform is a republican or democrat issue couldn’t be further from the truth.

Both conservatives and liberals push “tough on crime” messaging, without evaluating whether or not it actually works.

For far too long local sheriffs, state attorneys and legislators have used “tough of crime” rhetoric hoping that “talking tough” would increase their electability.

But being “soft on crime” isn’t a problem in need of a solution, but rather a distraction away from efforts to reform the criminal justice system.

People who commit violent crimes pose a danger to the public and should be prosecuted accordingly. However, is it accurate to say that the majority of those currently in prison are violent criminals?

According to the bureau of prisons, forty-eight percent of imamates are behind bars due to non-violent, dug-related convictions.

There is a fundamental problem with a minor being caught possessing drugs and becoming a felon. Such labels equate such an offense with something violent [rape or assault??].

I am not suggesting that we legalize drugs nor am I suggesting that drugs aren’t a plague on communities. I’m not even suggesting that drug traffickers or gangs don’t pose a risk or danger to society. In many cases, they do.

The question is: does the punishment fit the crime? If the goal of the criminal justice is to protect society from violent criminals, then we must restore justice to the system by improving our legal framework to ensure that our policies are effectively accomplishing that objective.

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About the Author

Charles operates the Houston office for Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.