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July 29, 2018

"Reducing the prison population is a bipartisan goal"

The title of this post is the title of this recent Dallas Morning News commentary authored by Doug Deason, who is a co-founder of the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center at Southern Methodist University.  Here are excerpts:

About 1.5 million people are sitting in state and federal prisons across the U.S. today, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, many for nonviolent crimes.  Prisoners all too often face inhumane conditions and are woefully unprepared to rejoin society as peaceful, productive and law-abiding citizens.

This weekend I will join Charles Koch and other business and philanthropic leaders for a retreat in Colorado Springs to discuss how we can work together to solve this and other challenges and create a freer and more open society.  We know challenges like these can't be solved alone.  We stand ready to, in the words of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, "unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."  And there are few issues in which "doing right" is more urgently needed than fixing our broken criminal justice system....

Many are rightfully alarmed at the inequities in the criminal justice system. African-Americans make up around 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for one-third of inmates, according to the BJS, and compared to the general population, prisoners are far more likely to have a history of mental health problems and drug abuse.  A Brookings Institution study found that four out of every five prisoners had zero earnings when they entered prison.

Then there are the costs to taxpayers and innocent family members.  The annual cost of running the corrections systems at the national, federal, state and local levels exceeds $80 billion, according to a Washington University in St. Louis study.  It is a system that frequently turns folks who were once taxpayers into wards of the state. And it leaves many mothers and fathers to raise their children alone and without the aid of child support.

These mounting concerns have energized support for reform across the political spectrum. As a co-founder of the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center at Southern Methodist University, I have participated in panel discussions with CNN's Van Jones to highlight the need for cutting incarceration rates.  As a Republican businessman and a Democratic political commentator, we don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to politics.  But like many Americans, we are willing to put our differences aside to address this critical problem.

As U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., recently said, according to Townhall.com, "overcriminalization is increasingly viewed as not a Republican or a Democrat problem but as an American problem." Jeffries and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., are co-sponsors of the First Step Act, legislation that would help rehabilitate prisoners and save taxpayers billions of dollars in the process....

Reforming the criminal justice system won't be easy or quick. It will require a long-term commitment.  But if we want to break the barriers that keep too many Americans trapped in lives of crime and poverty, we will all need to work with unlikely partners.  The leaders gathering in Colorado Springs welcome any allies willing to unite to do right. Let's not let our differences stop us from working together on these critical issues.

July 29, 2018 at 12:43 PM | Permalink


3% decarceration. 10-15% jump in murders in a dozen cities.

Home addresses, far left, rent seeking assholes. We are sending all released prisoners to your streets.

Once out, try selling drugs in the territory of a non-violent drug dealer. Those non-violent, gang banger, drug dealers are serial killers of competitors.

Here is an accurate depiction of a non-violent drug dealer to be released. Compare to the denier depiction in this bullshit report.


Posted by: David Behar | Jul 29, 2018 1:33:26 PM

Shouldn't the focus be, as much as possible, getting the right people in prison?

The problem is that with nitwit judges like Judge Doris Downs, you have to over punish to make sure that some aren't underpunished (or under incapacitated) because the consequences of under incapacitation can fall very harshly on the innocent.

How, Doug, do we prevent mistakes like Judge Downs'? Or Olu Stevens handing out probation for armed home invasion?

Posted by: federalist | Jul 29, 2018 4:08:56 PM

And curious, Doug, that you don't have a separate post on Downs' "mistake/"

Posted by: federalist | Jul 29, 2018 4:09:36 PM

It is interesting that you haven't devoted a post to the Myrick case.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 29, 2018 4:13:45 PM


Another victim of lenient sentencing.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 29, 2018 4:34:51 PM

David: the author of this commentary calls himself a "Republican businessman," and I believe he is also a Trump supporter. So I do not think the label "far left" fits here.

federalist: you raise reasonable points, which I will take up in a post on the Myrick and Cowell cases.

Posted by: Doug B | Jul 29, 2018 5:17:28 PM

I guess the real answer, Doug, is that the judiciary, as a whole, cannot be trusted to really put in the work. And that's not just an issue with respect to crime and punishment.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 29, 2018 6:13:33 PM

Just put up a new post on Myrick and Cowell cases. But I am not sure what you mean by "put in the work." The "lazy" approach to sentencing, at least in the federal system, is just to always follow the guidelines and always affirm at the circuit level. That approach, as I see it, has led to over-incarceration at the federal level. In the states it gets more complicated, but I still think being harsh is often "easier" than letting folks off.

I largely agree with the notion that judges tend to be too "by the book," but I am not sure if that is the criticism you are making.

Posted by: Doug B | Jul 29, 2018 6:30:20 PM

Deason is a criminal justice system outsider who is trying to influence the legislative process and his audience is the fraction of the general public that is interested in the subject. My guess is that the uninterested fraction is larger. He has to keep it simple and his message is that we have to have a bipartisan approach to reforming the CJS. The first step act is good example of bipartisan legislation that passed under adverse circumstances. This is a big brush strokes effort.

The result is that the subject is changed to a discussion of individual cases and Deason is ignored.

Posted by: John Neff | Jul 29, 2018 9:06:38 PM

The sole race bias is against black crime victims. Violent black criminals need to all be executed, and summarily.

If whites were murdered at 4 times their current rate, the military would be on every corner of these shithole Democratic hellscapes.


Posted by: David Behar | Jul 29, 2018 11:02:25 PM

Prof. Berman. The judges owe their jobs to the criminals, not to the victims. They protect, privilege, and empower the criminal to keep their jobs. They did that in the 1970's, and caused massive criminality. They were restrained in the 1990's. Crime dropped. Their jobs were threatened. Conservative Justice Scalia led the charge against mandatory guidelines.

These judges are doing it again. They are all criminal coddling, Ivy radicalized, America haters. They must be crushed.

As usual, the solution is not legal, but technological. Sentencing robots, running algorithms written by the accountable legislatures. These algorithms should be open to the public. They should be revised, based on experience, every 2 years.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 29, 2018 11:12:08 PM

David, you screeds are tired and your vulgar language undermines any claim you feel compelled to make over and over again.

Posted by: Doug B | Jul 29, 2018 11:14:37 PM

Doug. Nothing is more repetitive than your left wing articles and posts. Over and over, every single day, you have posted the same invalid, and ridiculous, garbage drivel to lower incarceration. Perhaps, once in a 1000 posts, you post something mentioning crime victim interests.

As to vulgarity, that is how registered Democrats talk. I am trying to fit in with your readership. In turn, they are trying to fit in with their constituents in the Hood. One of your boys is a Harvard Law radicalized lawyer, Chairman Tom Perez, acting, straight out of Compton, even though we know he is just a know nothing book worm. There is feminist icon Kirsten Gillibrand, radicalized at UCLA Law School. She is really a potty mouth. She needs to have her mouth washed out with soap. Not a word about the feminists and their potty mouths, from you.

In this blog, you are clearly an advocate. You need to remove your description as a law school professor. Education is the presentation of all sides of a subject. You are misleading the readers by calling yourself a professor on this blog.


I am curious to know if you even realize that this blog shows a bias.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 30, 2018 8:21:09 PM

David, everyone has a bias, and I often note my biology and biography which serve as the basis for many of my biases.

Meanwhile, I am not misleading readers because I am professor. And this blog is a modern soapbox, not a classroom. It is also a forum in which I champion free expression in the comments but also urge civility and respect for others. If/when Perez or Gillibrand use the comments to be repetitive, uncivil and crude, I will complain about that. For now, you are the frequent uncivil ranter, and I suspect I am not the only one disappointed that you reneged on your promise to leave this forum if comments improved during you absence (which they did).

Often when reading your rants, I am reminded of the old joke about prisoners giving numbers to all their jokes: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.humor/Pu-ZIoTMk7U. Perhaps you can try that for the benefit of us. When you want to attack lawyers, just say Behar rant #1. For attacks on judges, just say Behar rant #2. For Dems, say just say Behar rant #3. For feminists, say just say Behar rant #4. Would probably save you a lot of time.

Posted by: Doug B | Jul 30, 2018 11:06:10 PM

Professor, you forgot Rant No. 5: the Italian Death Penalty.

Posted by: DRF | Jul 31, 2018 10:49:07 AM

Prof. Berman. I suggest you start to post numbers for your mind bendingly repetitious, pro-criminal garbage propaganda posts.

I have yet to see you criticize Democratic Party officials, not just for cursing, but for invalid ad hominem attacks on dissenters from their policies. The word, rant, is an ad hominem argument. It would be criticized by a judge if we were in a tribunal. Try to set a better example for the law students, by not being so easily annoyed by dissent.

The education thing is serious. The funder of your endowed chair saved a lot on taxes. That means that hard working, low paid people are funding your salary, including me. The reason that is a good thing, is that you will provide education. So it will be worth it to give Ohio State privileges. exemptions, and cash grants. Education covers all aspects of a subject. If you cover a subject with one point of view, that is called indoctrination. Indoctrination is a breach of the promise Ohio State made to provide education. Ohio State is also a state government agency and is prohibited from doing indoctrination. When you use your title, you may not do propaganda, because you are subsidized and privileged by the government, federal and state.

For example, I support your posting as a private person, items to the Communist Party, or to the KKK. As taxpayer, I do not care. However, please, do not deceive the public by the use of the authority of your education title. I and the other taxpayers paid half your salary. I object to the use of your tax supported title to mislead the reader into thinking education is going, when biased propaganda is going on. Candid disclosure is sufficient to answer this objection.

I would like the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS to address the political correctness misconduct now destroying our higher education. A warning letter from the IRS should be sufficient, you have your privileges because you promised to educate, not to indoctrinate. Trump should order his IRS to do that after his 2020 re-election.

Posted by: David Behar | Aug 1, 2018 12:28:02 AM

DRF: I appreciate your paying attention. No. 6: the lawyer profession is a criminal cult enterprise, with supernatural doctrines in the common law, plagiarized from the Catholic Church catechism of 1275 AD. These are prohibited by the Establishment Clause of our secular nation.

No. 7: All self stated goals of every law subject are in utter failure. Find me an exception. You stink.

Posted by: David Behar | Aug 1, 2018 9:38:12 AM

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