Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Solution Isn’t Kinder, Gentler Prisons

What got a person locked up – no matter what - in 1790? Piracy. Period. At the birth of the republic mandatory minimum sentences were a rare and targeted thing. Attacking and robbing ships at sea got you life, no ifs, ands or buts. What gets you a mandatory minimum sentence today? Any one of 261 different crimes. It wasn’t until the 1980s, that Congress started passing mandatory minimum’s left and right, and we do mean Left and Right. Two terms of tough-on-crime Reagan and Bush Republicans added 72 new mandatory minimum statutes; Clinton’s two terms added 116. Quoting Joe Biden in 1994, Murakawa reminds us of the liberal Democrats’ approach: “The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now for 60 new death penalties… 100,000 cops. The liberal wing of the Democratic party is for 124,000 new state prison cells.” This is the period, let’s remember, that saw black-white racial ratios among the imprisoned go from three to one to eight to one.

More:  https://www.popularresistance.org/the-solution-isnt-kinder-gentler-prisons/

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