February 4, 2008
Super Tuesday and sentencing "change"
Tomorrow, so-called Super Tuesday, will likely be the biggest single day in the 2008 presidential campaign until November. Thus, I thought it appropriate to spotlight a few of my favorite posts from my Campaign 2008 archive as pundits everywhere gear up for the big day:
- How the media can do better: ask the candidates tough crime and punishment questions
- Race, class and criminal justice in campaign 2008
- Pardon politics and the 2008 campaign
- Interesting commentary on 2008 politics of death
- ACLU urging candidates "to oppose mandatory minimum sentencing"
- A huge win for sentencing hope over fear in Iowa
- Is Senator Clinton to the right of Justice Scalia on sentencing issues?
- Why is Huckabee now trying to seem tough rather than compassionate?
- Candidates asked "what would Jesus do" about the death penalty
Needless to say, I am caught up in all the "change" talk coming from all the candidates, and I am sincerely hoping that change may extend to our current misguided affinity for long terms of incarceration for lots of non-violent offenders. I think some of the candaidates are more likely than others to work seriously toward sentencing change, but I fear these issues will be relatively low-priority matters for anyone elected in 2008.
February 4, 2008 at 05:57 PM | Permalink
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What exactly is a "non-violent" offense? Is drug smuggling non-violent? Kiddie porn? Identity theft? Car theft? Burglary? The devil is in the details, obviously. Prison beds are a scarce resource, and bed space usage ought to be optimized, but I don't think that criticizing sentencing for "non-violent" offenders moves the ball at all.
If Barack Obama or Hillary wins in November, I doubt there will be much change to the incarceration policies. It may sound nice to let a bunch of "non-violent" criminals go, but good luck seeing liberals like Obama or Clinton wasting political capital on criminals. Yeah, they'll appoint liberal judges who will do some helpful things for criminals and maybe they'll deal with some of the crack/powder disparity, but there is no way they will stick their necks out for criminals. Obama and Clinton are far more concerned with taking the hard-earned money of taxpayers than helping out criminals.
Posted by: federalist | Feb 4, 2008 9:26:52 PM