Last week, Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, and Deborah Daniels, former assistant U.S. attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs, co-published an article on WashingtonPost.com called "Less Incarceration Could Lead to Less Crime."
There aren’t too many things these days on which Republicans and Democrats agree. Partisanship is high, and considering that this is an election year, the incentive for both parties to work together to solve problems is low.
There is, however, at least one issue that has elicited support from both liberals and conservatives: prison reform.
Hank Green, half of the of the popular “Vlogbrothers” video blog team, was recently asked by a viewer, “If you could do a high-quality animated video about any issue in the world, what would you choose?” Green’s response? “I went with incarceration in America, because it is messed up.”
As the newly appointed executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, Rick Raemisch spent the night of Jan. 23 in solitary confinement at a state penitentiary.
It is no secret that existing state and federal prison systems are too often models of inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Outdated facilities have been unable to keep up with growing prison populations. And despite the astronomical costs of housing prison inmates (a study of New York state facilities estimates that annual cost per prisoner is a staggering $167,731 – enough to send that same prisoner to an Ivy League school with full room and board for four years), recidivism rates remain around 40 percent.
On January 16, the U. S. Senate passed the FY 2014 Omnibus Bill. By doing so, it established the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections. The non-partisan task force will make recommendations on a host of issues surrounding the criminal justice system, including recidivism rates, rights of both victims and inmates, and cost controls.
When the word “prison” is mentioned, a some very common images come to mind – cold, gray bars set against drab, colorless walls; small, dark cells intended to isolate and punish rather than to reform or rehabilitate. Acres of razor wire surrounding these facilities bespeak the philosophy that those on the inside are to be set apart, not to be connected in any meaningful way to society at large.
Park Avenue. Soho. Chelsea. Midtown.
When one thinks of exclusive addresses in New York City, the first thing that likely comes to mind is a penthouse overlooking Central Park, or perhaps an historic brownstone in a trendy part of town.
A version of the following article originally appeared on the website of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. To learn more about the work and the mission of the Colson Center, visit their website at www.colsoncenter.org.
“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”
Can you believe abandoning a snowmobile in a life-threatening blizzard or digging up arrowheads can result in criminal charges?
These are a few unfortunate examples of “overcriminalization.”
New criminal laws that do not include a criminal intent requirement and the duplication of federal criminal laws that already exist at the state level have made it impossible for reasonable citizens to know all the criminal laws and regulations that could land them in jail or prison.