April 22, 2010
"Sanford backs plan to put fewer non-violent offenders in prison"The title of this post is the headline of this new article concerning proposed prison reforms in South Carolina. Here are the particulars:
Gov. Mark Sanford formally threw his support behind a far-reaching sentencing reform bill Wednesday, a bill that supporters say will reduce the number of non-violent offenders in prison and save the state millions of dollars. "You can only squeeze so much blood from a turnip," Sanford said. "This really is a taxpayer issue."
The 94-page bill is expected to reduce the state's projected prison population enough to negate the need for a new prison -- saving more than $400 million over five years. It's designed to increase training for nonviolent offenders to re-enter society without becoming repeat offenders. And it defines a laundry list of crimes as "violent," including many sex crimes against children.
It also provides, for example, a tiered approach to assault and battery crimes. Currently, the state has 90-day maximum sentences and 10-year minimum sentences and nothing in between, said state Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston.
And it provides a sentence of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison for habitual offenders convicted of driving under suspension resulting in death -- and a fine of up to $5,000 and 10 years in prison in such cases where great bodily injury results. A version of that provision, rolled into the bill last month, has been championed by Spartanburg resident Lily Lenderman for eight years -- ever since she lost her grandson in a wreck caused by someone driving under a suspended license.
"The whole idea about any criminal law is to keep us safe," said Rep. Keith Kelly, R-Woodruff, chairman of the House Criminal Law Subcommittee. "This bill ... is strong by keeping the violent offenders segregated from South Carolina families. At the same time, it's smart, because it's taking non-violent offenders out of the Department of Corrections and puts them on alternative sentencing -- GPS monitoring, for instance, that they pay for, not you or me."...
Corrections Department Director Jon Ozmint said the Sanford administration had been behind sentencing reform since a scaled-down version of it failed seven years ago. Ozmint said South Carolina currently doesn't have a criminal justice system; rather, it has a patchwork of laws that have been cobbled together over the years. He and several supporters talked about this bill being ruled by statistics rather than emotions. "Don't underestimate that first step in this state's history," he said.
April 22, 2010 at 05:56 PM | Permalink
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"Gov. Mark Sanford formally threw his support behind a far-reaching sentencing reform bill Wednesday, a bill that supporters say will reduce the number of non-violent offenders in prison and save the state millions of dollars. 'You can only squeeze so much blood from a turnip,' Sanford said. 'This really is a taxpayer issue.'"
So the "incarceration nation" crowd has a new spokesman. Mark Sanford.
Congratulations, guys. Next you'll be telling me Bernie Madoff will be carrying your message too.
This is as good as having John Edwards do an ad for marriage counseling.
I NEVER get this lucky.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 22, 2010 6:35:11 PM
"Next you'll be telling me Bernie Madoff will be carrying your message too. This is as good as having John Edwards do an ad for marriage counseling."
I'm no Sanford fan, but that is an absurd and inept analogy (aside from it being pure ad homininem). Sanford did not break any laws (as Madoff did) and his advocating for sentencing reform is not hypocritical from his actions (as an Edwards marriage ad would be). This is a Republican governor who acted immorally, but whose state legislature felt did not need to be removed.
He's no role model, and I wouldn't vote for him. But in no way is this “as good” or on par with your imagined hypotheticals.
Posted by: DEJ | Apr 22, 2010 10:00:13 PM
Because criminals do not specialize, one should at prior offenses before classifying one as non-violent. So if one has a defendant on shop lifting charges, and one suspects he is a serial killer, it is appropriate to use the shop lifting charge to keep him in stir. Once the person has been convicted, harmless enhanced interrogation techniques should be permitted to solve other high priority cases. Instead of wasting time on prolonged vacation in prison, spend the time getting the burial sites of the twelve girls that turned up missing when he moved into a neighborhood.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 22, 2010 10:30:29 PM
"I'm no Sanford fan, but that is an absurd and inept analogy."
Except it's not an analogy.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 22, 2010 10:56:40 PM
Bill, you're giddy about Sandford's position, as you would be if Madoff was carrying the message. And you said Sandford's position was "as good as" Edwards having an ad for marriage counseling. Sounds to me like you were comparing the situations by talking about how "lucky" you are/would be under the various situations. Call it what you want, but the imaginary situations you posit and Sanford's taking this position are starkly different.
Posted by: DEJ | Apr 23, 2010 1:30:15 AM
There is a difference between an analogy and a comparison. "Vanilla ice cream is as good as chocolate ice cream." That's a comparison. "Having Sanford endorse prison reform is as good as having Edwards endorse marriage counseling." That is also a comparison.
What you said is that I had used "an absurd and inept analogy." One cannot have used an absurd and inept analogy if one has not used an analogy. I didn't. It's just a comparison.
Nor is the comparison absurd and inept. Keep your eye on the overall point, that being that when the spokesman for X is known to be a creep, maybe X would do better with a different spokesman. Sanford is a creep and so is Edwards. You wouldn't want either as a spokesman FOR ANYTHING, because people tend to be turned off by creeps, no matter the subject.
So when Sanford, of all people, shows up here as (in effect) a spokesman for reducing the number of inmates, those of us who think there are better and more effective ways to rescue the public fisc looked upon it as a golden nugget. If you're enlisting Mark Sanford as your advocate, you've got to be pretty close to the bottom of the barrel.
As for ad hominem: To that charge -- made in this particular context -- I plead guilty. Indeed I have repeated the "crime" just now, by calling both Sanford and Edwards creeps. That's because they ARE creeeps, AND their creepiness is relevant to their value as spokesman for X, whatever X turns out to be. People are going to take note of the judgment, truthfulness and honor of the spokesman in evaluating the product. Thus, while it is in a sense an ad hominem attack on Sanford and Edwards, their personal qualities and their overall persona are relevant in this context.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 23, 2010 10:31:21 AM
Pretty thin, Bill.
analogy n. a partial likeness between two things that are compared...
analogous adj. similar in certain respects...
But have it your way. It was an absurd and inept comparison...for the reasons DEJ elucidated (or should I say asserted?).
Posted by: John K | Apr 23, 2010 4:07:29 PM
As a fairly regular peruser of this blog, I am starting to wonder whether the e-version of Bill Otis is actually more than one person. I mean how could one person find the time to contest so many pedantic points on so many threads? There seems to be no point too minor, no interlocutor too inconsequential, to keep him from unloading with both rhetorical barrels. Does he sleep? Does he have a day job?
Posted by: Anon | Apr 23, 2010 4:34:09 PM
I agree with the proposed law to take non violent offenders out of the DOC and putting them on an alterantive sentence. However, as long as we continue to practice the same law the non violent offender will always have clothes on his back, shoes on his feet, a roof over his head, fed three meals a day, shower, watch television, earn a degree, and play basketball all at the expense of taxpayers while educational programs and teachers are being terminated and unemployment and the deficit in SC Carolina continues to rise.
Posted by: S | Apr 10, 2012 11:00:15 AM