By Alan Bean
Why are so many right-wingers suddenly arguing the case for criminal justice reform? In this fascinating piece in Salon, Justin Elliot of Salon directs this question to Doug Berman, author of the influential Sentencing Law and Policy blog.
Here are the highlights:
1. Prison is far more brutal than most people believe it to be
2. Most of the conservatives currently leading the smart on crime crusade have been locked up: Duke Cunningham, Charles Colson, Pat Nolan, Conrad Black
3. The religious concept of redemption generally plays a large role in these conversions.
4. Historically, mass incarceration required the enthusiastic cooperation of the political left
5. When you do hard time you realize that harsh penalties are typically applied to crimes disproportionately committed by minorities
6. Busting budgets and historically low crime rates make this a good time for reform, but . . .
7. The political forces that drove mass incarceration are always lurking. (more…)