« SCOTUS adds a qualified immunity case to its docket | Main | You be the judge: what federal sentence for "Dance Mom" star after her guilty plea to financial crimes? »

January 19, 2017

"Dear President Trump: Here’s How to get Right on Crime, Part 2"

As noted in this prior post, the Marshall Project this week has a timely three-part series in which leading conservatives working on and advocating for criminal justice reform are setting out the conservative case for reforms. The first commentary was authored by Pat Nolan and carried the subheadline "Focus on intent, tailor the punishment to the crime, prepare prisoners for life after incarceration."

The second in the series here is authored by Vikrant Reddy and carries the subheadline "End overcriminalization, reward success, pay attention to the heroin crisis." Here are excerpts:

Criminal justice reform advocates are pessimistic about the prospects for federal sentencing reform under the new presidential administration. Federal sentencing, however, is only one component of America’s vast criminal justice system. There are several other areas where the administration and reformers could find common cause.  Here are just three reforms widely supported by advocates which are also consistent with a “Trumpian” worldview.  They should be at the forefront of a serious federal reform agenda over the next four years.

Scaling Back Overcriminalization

There are now over 5,000 obscure federal crimes, such as shipping lobster in plastic rather than cardboard boxes, that are more appropriately treated as administrative or regulatory matters. Furthermore, the mens rea or “state of mind” portions of many criminal statutes (which specify whether the conduct must be purposeful, knowing, reckless, or negligent) are frequently left out when laws are drafted. Reversing this “overcriminalization” has long been a priority for conservatives. Yet it has also been a priority for prominent progressive voices, such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and U.S. Representatives John Conyers and Bobby Scott....

Performance-Incentive Funding

One of the most widely-admired strategies for improving criminal justice outcomes is performance-incentive funding (PIF). The idea is simple: Governments should fund prisons (and community corrections programs, for that matter) based on outcomes achieved, not merely on the number of people incarcerated. A government that contracts for lower recidivism rates and increased restitution payments to victims is more likely to find that its prisons are encouraging education and job training behind bars. People from the business world who are more concerned with results than with ideologies — such as Donald Trump — are likely to understand this truth intuitively: You get what you pay for....

Combating Heroin Addiction

On Election Day, Trump performed unusually well in communities ravaged by heroin abuse. He seemed to understand that he owes it to these voters — his base — to take the issue seriously. His administration will likely pursue a law enforcement solution that attacks the “supply side” of the heroin problem, as Trump frequently promised on the campaign trail. There is also a “demand side” to the problem, however, and Trump must treat this side of the problem with equal urgency.  This means redirecting scarce resources from incarceration to less costly and more effective diversion programs that treat addiction.

Prior related post:

January 19, 2017 at 10:07 PM | Permalink


Marshall Project? A Trojan Horse for government employment, worthless make work jobs. Dismissed.

Trump or the President after him should do a Duterte. Duterte has successfully transformed the Philippines into a nice place to live.

Trump should declare open hunting season on criminals. These should include lawyers violating their oaths, and disloyal to the constitution. The latter prohibits judicial review in Article I Section 1. These should include rent seeking regulators, where rent seeking is a synonym for armed robbery. If the murder victim is in those categories, the murderer in public self help should be immunized, as a matter of executive policy. If a lawyer chooses to prosecute one, hunt him too, and any judge allowing the prosecution to proceed. To deter.

The heroin epidemic is a benefit to the nation, and no intervention is necessary. It is clearing our nation of the lawyer clients, the criminals, thus the phony hand wringing. Even the loved ones of the victims of the drug dealer syndicate delivered carfentanyl, an elephant tranquilizer, are better off. Chronic pain patients trying to get back to work are not affected by it. The latter complain of dizziness and sedation on the tiniest doses of opiate analgesics, and cut them in half on their own. Each of these deaths prevents hundreds of crimes a year for the prevented lifespan of addicts. That adds up to thousands of crimes prevented. If you price each crime at $10,000 in economic value destroyed in our economy, each death adds $tens of millions of value of destruction prevented. If the addict is an intelligent and productive criminal, the value may be in the $hundred million range.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 20, 2017 1:16:34 AM

Behar, try pulling your head out of you ass once in awhile and join the human race again.

Posted by: Pat | Jan 23, 2017 5:51:03 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB