“The growing awareness of fiscal and social costs is why criminal justice reform is garnering so much support on the right,” writes Mary Kate Cary in commentary for U.S. News. The tough-on-crime approach reigned supreme in previous decades. Now it seems time for a new approach to reign supreme: Right on crime. Being right on crime means not incarcerating more people than pretty much any other nation on earth.
This would save taxpayer dollars. More importantly, it would give people their liberty and freedom.
As it turns out, both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to show support for this approach. Republicans have a way to slow the tide of government spending. Democrats have a way to get low-level offenders (like folks in jail for drug possession crimes) out from behind bars and back to their lives.
Cary writes that while the tough-on-crime approach seems to have worked in terms of lower rates of violent crime like rape and murder, today more than half of prison populations are made up of people in for various drug offenses.
Perhaps this most telling quote, in terms of the shift in attitude away from being tough on crime, is this one: “When you’re going to spend $25,000 or $35,000 [a year] to keep someone out of society,” said one state attorney general, “you have to have a darn good reason for it.”