Boston Globe: Crime, bad. Punishment, worse.

August 14th, 2006 7:12 AM
The Boston Globe has been running an occasional series of editorials on the issues for the upcoming gubernatorial campaign. Today's, they're talking about crime and punishment. The Globe opinion writers, doctrinaire liberals that they are, are concerned about the former, but more concerned about the latter. But sometimes you have to wonder whether they're even reading and paying attention to what they themselves are writing. The following paragraph comes directly from this morning's essay.
But for several years now, fortunately, the pendulum has swung back toward rehabilitation. None of this year's candidates for governor would subscribe to the busting rocks doctrine. But being smart on crime, as well as tough, takes leadership. With violence on the rise and a majority of inmates being released unsupervised, the next governor will have to make reshaping the state's corrections policy a public-safety priority. (emphasis mine)

OK. The pendulum has swung back toward rehabilitation and violence is on the rise. Therefore, apparently, we need more rehabilitation and less punishment. The fairly standard liberal approach to all societal ills. We spend tons of money on poverty programs and poverty increases? Spend more! We spend on education, test scores go down? Spend more! We swing from punishment to rehabilitation and violence increases? More rehabilitation! (This is, of course, the largest newspaper in a state in which a gubernatorial candidate is currently running on simultaneously increasing both jobs and the minimum wage, so a spot of cognitive dissonance is nothing new or unusual.)

Interestingly, the issue does allow the Globe to, in a very rare event, criticize a labor union for being obstructive. They're critical of the Massachusetts Correctional Officers Federated Union, calling it an "obstacle to serious prison reform." The next time they criticize the Massachusetts Teacher's Association for being an obstacle to serious education reform, it'll rain up instead of down.

There's also another interesting snippet in the crime editorial.

In a state with little appetite for the death penalty, for example, Healey's and independent candidate Christy Mihos's support for it will make both vulnerable to attack from Patrick or Gabrieli

There is "little appetite for the death penalty" in the offices of the Boston Globe, certainly, but that doesn't necessarily hold for the state at large. As a long-time resident of Massachusetts, it seems to me that there has always been majority support for the death penalty. What there is not is majority legislative support. And sure enough, a quick google search supports my position.

A University of Massachusetts poll in 2003 indicated that those surveyed supported the death penalty by a 54-to-45 margin
Where was that printed? In an April, 2005 piece in the ... The Boston Globe.