I WOULD HAVE thought the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and CSPAN would be more objective and more sensible. I guess I was wrong.
The February 13 WSJ published an article by David Bank about public opinion being in favor of "crime prevention." The column was repeated on CSPAN’s Washington Journal that morning. The CSPAN moderator referred to the article and asked of callers the proposition, "Punishment or Prevention?" He asked viewers to phone in to give their opinions about whether or not the criminal justice system should take the approach of punishing criminals, or preventing crime instead.
I never realized the two approaches were mutually exclusive.
The fact is that during the last decadeand even the article stated thiscrime has decreased as incarceration rates have increased. That is "prevention," boys and girls. This seems inconceivable to liberal journalists. The paradigm for this is New York Times journalist Fox Butterfield who once wrote the absurd column, "Crime keeps on falling, but prisons keep on filling." Butterfield’s ignorance notwithstanding, incarceration prevents criminals from committing crimes and can convince them not to do it again.
The WSJ article cites data suggesting that the public dislikes "threestrikesand yourout" laws. The article states that a California appeals court vacated a conviction of 25tolife for a petty theft because of the three strikes law. Of course, the WSJ makes the same specious claims as the defense attorneys. The person was not sentenced for a petty theft. He was sentenced because he is a career criminal. Instead of threestrikesyourout, would the WSJ rather the state continue with the sentencing policies that have resulted in two of three convicted murderers already having a prior felony conviction? How many innocent people need be murdered before the WSJ believes the murderer should be incarcerated? Would the WSJ rather murderers released from state prisons serve an average of only 5.9 years as a survey of those released from state prisons in 1992 determined? Is the WSJ aware that in 1994, the state of Florida identified 4615 career criminals, with an average of 20 prior felony arrests and 6 convictions? Of those 4615 career criminals, only 671 were incarcerated.
Of course, the WSJ does not publish these data and CSPAN moderators do not ask, "Why are so many felons on probation? " Instead, they repeat the canards of the liberal advocacy groups.
However, give liberals credit. They are able to promote their message. They are well financed, and have great access to the media. Groups like the ACLU, the Sentencing Project, the Death Penalty Information Center, and the NAACP are advocating rehabilitation that requires little or no incarceration and more education. Notice I said rehabilitation that requires little or no incarceration. The education theory is Marxist dogma. Although Engels and Marx never really devised a criminological theory, Communist criminal justice systems (what few remain) believe that education will make prisons antiquated. Of course we all know what "education" really means. When you think of socialists educating their citizens you think of the Gulag, you think of Cambodia, you think of Castro’s Cuba. I am not sure if the average American wants that for a criminal justice system.
However, the average American academician may desire such a thing. Often college professors speak of the need of educating people to be parents, to be voters, to be citizens, etc. They speak as if the average person is incapable of acting in their own best interest. This idea of an educated elite directing the average citizen is known as Vanguardisman idea refined by Lenin.
This is what these liberal advocacy groups mean when they say "rehabilitation." They are saying that imprisonment will be unnecessary and their beliefs instilled in the populace will eliminate crime. As I said these groups have great access to the media, are well financed, and therefore are able to communicate their message.
However, they are hypocritical. For example, when it comes to "hate crimes," these same groups will endorse prison sentences. One never notices The Sentencing Project advocating probation for a member of the KKK or Aryan Nation. One never notices the ACLU or NAACP filing a lawsuit on behalf of a white police officer convicted of excessive force in arresting a black person. Quite the contrary; they usually campaign for a prison sentence before the trial begins. Unfortunately the mediaeven conservative medianever seem to question this contradiction.
Those who eschew incarceration are generally the same people who believe that we should try to "understand" al Qaeda. They are the criminological members of the Phil Donahue Chapter of the Neville Chamberlain Society. They believe they are capable of molding individuals in their own image. They believe they are social engineers who can create Utopia.
However they are more like the people Edmund Burke referred to when he said, " The men who today snatch the worst criminals from justice will murder the most innocent persons tomorrow. "