Bloomberg News ran a happy news story this week about the "surprising" development of Republicans joining Democrats in their effort to end our "incarceration generation" by the simple expedient of putting fewer criminals in prison. (Lots of good ideas involve ham-fisted, Johnnie Cochran-style rhymes.)
And Bloomberg wasn't just talking about the media's usual lickspittle, Sen. Rand Paul.
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Texas governor Rick Perry have all called for "new" approaches to allegedly "non-violent" drug crimes -- i.e., any approach other than prison.
Perry says: "You want to talk about real conservative governance? Shut prisons down. Save that money."
Sen. Ted Cruz -- along with lickspittle Paul -- wants to end mandatory minimum sentencing. Yes, remember how much we trust judges to use their discretion wisely? The precise reason the public demanded mandatory minimums in the first place was because so many liberal judges had their own ideas about "alternatives to prison" -- such as, again, not prison.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee suggests that, instead of prison, the government should "address character."
Huckabee, for example, addressed the character of Maurice Clemmons -- a career criminal who said he was deeply remorseful and was trying to be a good Christian -- by granting him clemency. This allowed Maurice to rape a child and slaughter four police officers execution-style, in "the largest number of law enforcement officers killed by one man in a single incident in U.S. history," at least according to Wikipedia.
(On the bright side, releasing Maurice saved Arkansas taxpayers all sorts of money -- just as Perry predicted!)
Before sucking up to The New York Times, it would be really great if Republicans would read, so they'd know stuff.
Contrary to the claptrap being pushed nonstop by the left, for example:
(1) No one is in prison just for possessing a joint; and
(2) So-called "non-violent" drug crimes that result in prison are generally committed by violent criminals.
Evidently, Americans need to patiently explain to elected Republicans -- who are too busy hanging out with their Chamber of Commerce friends to have any idea how the world works -- that no judge is going to waste prison space on a guy selling a joint.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 0.7 percent of all state inmates are behind bars for marijuana possession alone. Carnegie Mellon's Jonathan Caulkins puts the figure at less than half a percent.
And these are the convictions of record.
Our pro-criminal media invariably cite the conviction of record, as if that's the worst crime committed by the defendant. But, as the Times itself reports: "97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains."
Do you think criminals are pleading guilty to the most serous offenses they're actually guilty of?
Defense attorney: The prosecutors want to charge you with murder one, menacing, drug possession and distribution.
Criminal: OK, I'll plead to murder one.
Defense attorney: No! We'll offer to plead to possession of marijuana.
Criminal: Oh! OK, OK, I see -- yes, you're right.
Show me all the wonderful fellows in prison just because they had a single joint. I want three examples -- and I want their names, so I can find out what they really did.
For years -- in fact, to this very day -- the left's poster boy for the monstrous injustice of the war on drugs was DeMarcus Sanders, whose life was ruined, so the legend goes, just because police found a single marijuana seed in his car.
And then you run a basic Google search and find out that DeMarcus was a known gang member who had already served time for shooting a rival gang member. After that conviction, DeMarcus was arrested again, for who knows what -- but copped a plea to possession of marijuana, the only charge we ever hear about in connection with his name.
Just a few months ago, DeMarcus was again sentenced to prison, this time after taking a plea to being "a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition," as the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa) reports. (Incidentally, I thought we all agreed that known felons shouldn't be allowed to have guns.)
The reason so many plea bargains involve firearms and drugs isn't that those are the perp's main crime: It's because guns and drugs aren't human beings who can make lousy witnesses, leave the jurisdiction, die or be intimidated out of testifying. Possession offenses are the very least the prosecutor can demand in a plea bargain and the quickest way to get bad guys off the street.
Prosecutors know who the defendants are, and know what they really did. That's why those in prison for "mere" drug possession actually have a higher arrest rate for violent crimes than those in prison for burglary, robbery or even drug trafficking, according to innumerable studies, including one in the Journal of the American Statistical Association.
You know what would be really great? Instead of Republicans impressing the media by taking "surprising" positions on crime, how about Republicans try surprising us by taking a position against Wall Street or the Chamber of Commerce and on the side of ordinary Americans?
True, it wouldn't be celebrated as a "kumbaya" moment by Bloomberg News. But on the plus side, a lot fewer Americans would be murdered, crippled, raped and robbed.