National Review Misses Most Obvious Point in Taking on "Prison/Industrial Complex"


Rich Lowry at National Review tries to take on the "prison-industrial complex," with a dull shiv hastily carved from any old thing he found in the kitchen.

Pensiero / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

He has some decent ideas–encouraging prisoners to learn work skills, giving them opportunity to raise money (some of which should go as restitution to victims, though of course remember technically every crime is a crime against the state!), not releasing them without any of the means to survive honestly and legally in the world (including not locking them out of occupations via licensing laws), and not unduly restricting their ability to see/communicate with family and loves ones while in lockup.

He also has some creepy and counterproductive ones, like (approvingly quoting Eli Lehrer):

"Transition programs should increasingly involve random, unannounced home visits, subject ex-offenders to round-the-clock electronic monitoring, require them to take random drug tests, and offer them swift and certain punishment for slip-ups."

But what he doesn't deliver is the best knife in the jugular to kill the worst aspects of the prison-industrial complex, for prisoners, their families, their communities, and America: end the goddamn drug war, which gifts us with nearly half of federal prisoners and 18 percent of state and local ones.