Reviewing Criminal Justice

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by OPTIONAL777, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. March 30, 2009
    Reviewing Criminal Justice

    America’s criminal justice system needs repair. Prisons are overcrowded, sentencing policies are uneven and often unfair, ex-convicts are poorly integrated into society, and the growing problem of gang violence has not received the attention it deserves. For these and other reasons, a bill introduced last week by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, should be given high priority on the Congressional calendar.

    The bill, which has strong bipartisan support, would establish a national commission to review the system from top to bottom. It is long overdue, and should be up and running as soon as possible.

    The United States has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world. More than 1 in 100 adults are now behind bars, for the first time in history. The incarceration rate has been rising faster than the crime rate, driven by harsh sentencing policies like “three strikes and you’re out,” which impose long sentences that are often out of proportion to the seriousness of the offense.

    Keeping people in prison who do not need to be there is not only unjust but also enormously expensive, which makes the problem a priority right now. Hard-pressed states and localities that reduce prison costs will have more money to help the unemployed, avert layoffs of teachers and police officers, and keep hospitals operating. In the last two decades, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, state corrections spending soared 127 percent, while spending on higher education increased only 21 percent.

    Meanwhile, as governments waste money putting the wrong people behind bars, gang activity has been escalating, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the crime in some parts of the country.

    The commission would be made up of recognized criminal justice experts, and charged with examining a range of policies that have emerged haphazardly across the country and recommending reforms. In addition to obvious problems like sentencing, the commission would bring much-needed scrutiny to issues like the special obstacles faced by the mentally ill in the system, as well as the shameful problem of prison violence.

    Prison management and inmate treatment need special attention now that the Prison Litigation Reform Act has drastically scaled back prisoners’ ability to vindicate their rights in court. Indeed, the commission should consider recommending that the law be modified or repealed.

    Mr. Webb has enlisted the support of not only the Senate’s top-ranking Democrats, including the majority leader, Harry Reid, but also influential Republicans like Arlen Specter, the ranking minority member on the Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, the ranking member of the crime and drugs subcommittee.

    There is no companion bill in the House, and one needs to be written. Judging by the bipartisan support in the Senate, a national consensus has emerged that the criminal justice system is broken.
  2. Back when I was in college I researched issues with the death penalty and how death penalty is more likely to be sought in situations where blacks are defendants(we are talking capital murder cases). I also discussed how a significant portion of lawyers were disbarred after representing people in capital cases.

    When a case is eligible for death penalty consideration, a poor black defendant will get it disproportionately while the death penalty against affluent whites is frequently not pursued (I don't want to say never because it sets too high a standard for me to prove)

    American justice system is really dependent on how good your lawyer is. An elite lawyer will destroy a weak case and frequently soften the blow of a strong case (but not always)
  3. Bottomline: Don't kill, especially if you are poor and Black.
  4. No the bottom line is a bit different. Don' you know of false convictions? Witness testimony is not highly regarded nowadays. DNA (and fingerprints) is king. If you are a poor black with some drug convictions and you got "swept up"(innocent) in a murder case you are screwed. Jurors will be predisposed to thinking you are guilty because of criminal history, prosecutors and cops would frequently operate on a "conveyor" basis. If you are assigned some incompetent public defender you are doomed.
  5. Why waste money on another useless commission? It will spend millions and produce a long report that no one will read. I thought the reason we had a congress was to deal with stuff, not punt it off to a commission.

    I can save them the cost, and as an added bonus, give them recommendations that are actually useful.

    One, decriminalize pot and recreational drugs like cocaine. That step alone will solve most of the problems.

    Two, require immediate deportation of any illegal alien convicted of any crime upon completion of their sentence. No appeal, no hearing, just a bus ride to the border.

    Three, eliminate the juvenile justice system that allows violent young thugs to escape punishment and leads gangs to use them as trigger men. Do the crime, do the time.

    Four, get serious about border security. Ok, that's not going to happen in this lifetime, but it would eliminate a lot of other issues.

    Five, appoint Gen. Patreus to lead a "surge" against the insurgencies in virtually all of our major cities. It is outrageous that there exist no-go zones in the US where gangs are in control and police feel that ordinary citizens were "asking for it" if they ventured into them.

    Six, connected to five, make it a priority to deport any illegal alien who is a gang member. I understand the argument that some guy working in a meat packing plant and not causing trouble shouldn't be the focus of ICE. I don;t understand why gang bangers deserve the same treatment. How hard is it to round up gang members, check their immigration status and deport the ones who are illegal?

    Seven, require lengthy mandatory sentences for any elected official who is convicted of failure to file tax returns or tax fraud. Call it the "Marion Barry law" after the long time POS politician and demagogue who personally ruined the DC government and who is years behind on his federal and local taxes but still allowed to stay out of prison. It is absolutely outrageous that these assholes vote high taxes on the productive members of society but don't pay them themselves.
  6. Petraeus is not some kind of military genius. Bush administration pimped him up because their own crediblity was non existent. Petraeus is a careerist.

    US "Surge" is nothing more than bribing of key people who used to fight against US. Russia did something very similar in Chechnya where it "won" as well.
  7. Whatever. Put Rudy Guiliani in charge. Just put enough cops into these areas that crime is suffocated.