Civil Liberties

Do You Care About Prosecution of Victimless Crimes & The Growing Prison Population?

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Last week during CPAC, Reason contributor Jon Utley presented Pat Nolan of Justice Fellowship with the Freda Utley Prize for Advancing Liberty. In his prepared remarks, Utley noted:

The United States today has more persons in prison or in its criminal system than any other nation in the world.  About half are for victimless crimes, minor parole violations, and extremely long sentences under mandatory minimums.  Prison guards have become a powerful labor union lobby seeking more prisons and prisoners.  Prosecutors use the threat of long sentences to get innocent persons to confess to crimes they did not commit, even for environmental crimes or for political activity.  The drug war and threats of terrorism have been used to vastly expand the prison powers of government….   

Pat Nolan has helped bring together a coalition on both the Right and the Left towards reforming our criminal justice system.  He helped Congress to pass the Prison Rape Elimination Act.  He helped bring about the Statement of Principles signed by top, top conservatives to bring about reform in our system which now creates more criminals, destroys countless young peoples' lives, and is contributing to the bankruptcy of America.

More here.

The Freda Utley Foundation was founded in memory of Utley's mother, Freda, and his father, Arcadi Berdichevsky, who was executed in Vorkuta, Russia during the reign of Stalin. For more on the foundation, go here. The prize is awarded annually by the Freda Utley Foundation in conjunction with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

And to watch "Return to the Gulag: Jon Utley's search for his father," a harrowing documentary that ends in a killing field outside the Vorkuta prison camp, go here.

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  1. The United States today has more persons in prison or in its criminal system than any other nation in the world.

    Follow the money.

  2. “The United States today has more persons in prison or in its criminal system than any other nation in the world.”

    —So what? We have a population of 300 million. What did you expect? Yes, I wish we could get rid of those silly drug laws, but unless you believe that every prisoner is an innocent saint, don’t beat on America.

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    1. unless you believe that every prisoner is an innocent saint, don’t beat on America.

      Huh?

    2. We have a population of 300 million. What did you expect?

      Well, since that places us at least third in total population I would expect no more than to have the third most prisoners. Both India and China have more than 3X the number of people we do and we have more people in prison? How could that add up? Perhaps you could count the number executed in China but how would you explain India?

      1. China’s lying, so don’t take those numbers too seriously.

        However, we do have too many people in prison, regardless of how we compare to other societies. Obviously, the WoD has a lot to do with the numbers.

  3. Yes, I do care about those things.

  4. too bad his group is pretty much anti-homosexual and bent on changing them back to good godfearing citizens.

  5. Pat Nolan was a leader of the Traditionalist faction of California Young Americans for Freedom in 1969, and later was elected to the California Assembly.

    As Republican leader of the Assembly he was victim of an FBI sting operation involving illegal campaign contributions. Nolan served time in prison for accepting questionable contributions in the sting.

    His prison time has made him much less the law and order conservative, as he saw conditions on the inside.

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