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The Remaining Presidential Candidates Mostly Suck on Criminal Justice Reform

Voters don't seem to mind.

Gage SkidmoreGage SkidmoreRand Paul is out, and with him the hope that criminal justice reform will be anything more than a signaling exercise (on both sides) in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Ted Cruz, whose campaign strategy has been to adopt whatever ideology fits the voting population he's trying to woo on that particular day, has already abandoned much of his criminal justice reform positions in the quest to win social conservative votes. He's flip-flopped on marijuana too—he now opposes the federal government cracking down on states that have legalized it. That may be one of the few criminal justice reform bright spots left in the Republican race.

John Kasich is the other. The Republican governor of Ohio has actually made progress in his state on criminal justice reform. A state police-community advisory panel that wasn't just packed with political cronies came up with nearly two dozen recommendations, including limiting use of force policies and requiring the use of body cameras. Unfortunately, it's part of his record that doesn't often come up in conversations about the Republican race.

Most of the remaining candidates have spent almost no time substantively engaging issues of criminal justice reform. A year ago it looked like criminal justice reform would be an unavoidable topic in the 2016 elections. "There is an emerging consensus that the time for criminal justice reform has come," Marco Rubio wrote in a book released by the Brennan Center that featured essays from many of the presidential candidateds. "A spirited conversation about how to go about that reform has begun."

And now the conversation is over. The blame belongs to the candidates but also to voters. The presidential candidates who have succeeded in getting this far have largely done so by appealing to their bases' emotions—class envy for Democrats and fear for Republicans.

Dr. Ben Carson has used his upbringing in inner city Detroit to call on "intensifying" the war on drugs. In a BET candidate forum, he said restoring respect between police and the communities they serve was important, and blamed police reform activists on "sowing division." He did, at least, use the venue to oppose mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

"We need to take care of police officers because they take care of us," Carson said, avoiding the issue of police unions like every other Republican who is usually skeptical of public unions in other contexts. "For those who don't like police officers, I'd like you to think about what your life would be like if they weren't around for 24 hours. It would be awful." Carson doesn't sound like someone who understands how the small government principle of having less laws would apply to the issue of police brutality.

Marco Rubio, now the closest thing the establishment has to a frontrunner, has promised to crack down on states that legalized marijuana. And while he's said he knows people who have been racially profiled and found it "deeply disturbing," he didn't see a role for Congress in the debate about race and policing. So much for a conversation.

That betrays a poor grasp of the problems surrounding police brutality, and a too-eager willingness to ignore the role the federal government has played in militarizing local police over the last thirty years. Like Carson, Rubio also ignores the federal government's role in propagating the idea of more laws and imposing more controls on people, controls that trickle down and are ultimately the driving forces of many of the most questionable interactions between police and residents.

As governor of Florida, Jeb Bush pushed a strict mandatory-minimum sentencing proposal that would require a mandatory sentence of 20 years if a gun was fired in the commission of certain felonies, and 25 to life if the use of that gun caused an injury or death. He supports more spending the war on drugs, and has argued narcotrafficking and "lawlessness" have hampered economic growth. But de-escalating the drug war and even legalizing marijuana would have profound positive effects on economic growth and would do more to end lawlessness than any amount of spending on the drug war ever could.

It's important to remember the situation is not much better on the Democratic side. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has hit most of the right notes on mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, but the union booster is highly unlikely to do anything to tackle the power of the police and corrections officer unions that profit off the prison-police-industrial complex and work to maintain that status quo. Instead he fetishizes the "problem" of private prisons, which account for just 7 percent of prison beds in the U.S. and can actually be incentivized, via the proper contracts, to reduce recidivism by, for example, getting paid less if their charges end up back in prison. Bernie Sanders says he wants socialism and that that's no big deal because things like police departments are socialist institutions. Stated differently, state violence is socialism.

And Hillary Clinton is awful. Her husband didn't apologize for the 1994 crime bill and its contributions to the ballooning prison population and the overpolicing of minority communities until last year, in that brief moment the political class thought voters might hold them accountable for the failures of the criminal justice system to protect constitutional rights. It never happened. Clinton's supporters refuse to engage the Clintons' position on criminal justice and how it exacerbated the problem of police violence. Instead, the 90s are written off as "ANOTHER GODDAMN WORLD ENTIRELY."

That's probably why Martin O'Malley, the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, escaped the presidential race unscathed by his fundamental role in creating a law and order culture that systematically violated the constitutional rights of black people in Baltimore. That history should have made O'Malley a non-starter in the Democratic race. Instead, his lack of celebrity and inability to channel unbridled socialism was his downfall. In the meantime, the strongest Democratic candidate on criminal justice reform, Jim Webb, who was an advocate for criminal justice reform before that became the it issue of the moment, earned no traction. Instead, a comment pointing out that the right to defend yourself shouldn't be limited to the rich, caused the left to throw a fit about him, and he dropped out shortly thereafter. It's not a good sign for how engaged the base that insists it cares about criminal justice reform the most actually is.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr

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  • tarran||

    INCENTIVES!!!!

    Nobody in the corrupt mess that are the organs of the nation state has any incentive to avert them from their destructive course.

    The whole notion of checks and balances was that each office holder would jealously limit the power of the others to guard their own turf. Sadly it ignored the fact that humans are adept at cooperating; and the office holders discovered that they could gain much by cooperating in the plundering of the American people and lose much by refusing to cooperate.

    And the voters continue to dance like marionettes to the bullshit they are fed.

  • Quixote||

    Who said the criminal justice system needs reforming? We need to expand, not constrict, our nation's jail system, especially to provide room for some of these "freedom of speech" Trolls and Trigger-Speech terrorists and Micro-Aggressors who go around using illegal means — including above all inappropriately deadpan "parody" — to stir up controversy on our college campuses and civil forums everywhere in this great and mighty nation. Fortunately, the public knows exactly what is going on, and that is why "voters don't mind." Indeed, several distinguished members of the academic community have helpfully assisted New York prosecutors in setting a major precedent in this area; let us now hope that others will follow suit throughout the country. See the documentation of America's leading criminal Troll and criminal "satire" case at:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • John||

    The last year has caused me to give up hope on this issue. i actually thought there was going to be progress. Then Black Lives Matter arrived to redraw the battle lines back to the way they were in the 70s between hard working people and lawless bums and the cops in New York, Chicago and Baltimore helped them out by effectively refusing to enforce the law in response to even the threat of accountability.

    Every time we try and have a conversation about this problem the race hustlers show up and poison the well and the cops immediately act to ensure the choices are totally unaccountable and out of control police or a police force that effectively refuses to go to work. I don't know how you ever solve that problem.

  • Lee G||

    Ultimately the people electing the politicians are accountable for this clusterfuck. Fear sells.

  • John||

    Sure it does. And that is totally understandable. No one wants to live with high crime and lawlessness. The fact is most voters are totally unaffected by this shit. Even if they are aware of the problem and want to do something about it, the cops make sure that any efforts result in increased crime. And crime is something that does affect them. So why take the risk of harm that is likely to affect you to prevent a harm that while real is unlikely to affect you?

    Hell even if you are black and do live in the inner city and are likely to get brutalized by the cops, the risk of that happening is still likely lower than the risk of being victimized by a criminal after the cops say fuck it and stop enforcing the laws in response to any effort to control their behavior. The cops in Baltimore made damn sure the law abiding people of the city paid dearly for having the nerve to hold them accountable for murdering a guy in a police van.

  • ||

    So why take the risk of harm that is likely to affect you to prevent a harm that while real is unlikely to affect you?

    Because you have a conscience.

  • John||

    Oh piss off. Seriously, piss off. It is easy for you to say other people should sacrifice for what you think is right. What sacrifice have you ever made to change things? What do you not have a conscience? Or maybe do you have a life and other things to worry about and other responsibilities to uphold?

  • Cytotoxic||

    We get it. You have no morality. No need to blame others.

  • John||

    I would call you immoral but you are too fucking stupid to understand morality much less be held accountable for braking it.

    This conversation is so far above your head, it is hard to even know how to begin to explain it to you. We are talking about condemning people for not sacrificing their own safety and well being in the uncertain hope that maybe others will be saved from harm. Yes, in an ideal world that is the thing to do. In the real world, people have competing demands and responsibilities and have a duty to act for their own and their own families safety. That makes these questions much harder than your simple minded thinking. And regardless, people are going to act how they do. Saying "but they are evil" doesn't change that or advance the conversation.

    It is not so much that you are stupid, it is that you seem to enjoy being that way that makes you so annoying.

  • ||

    Yes, in an ideal world that is the thing to do. In the real world, people have competing demands and responsibilities and have a duty to act for their own and their own families safety

    So: yes, if they act morally they will make sacrifices, but most people are sinners.

    So...exactly what I said.

  • John||

    So: yes, if they act morally they will make sacrifices, but most people are sinners.

    Go back to not believing in morality. It suits you better. They have a moral duty to protect their families don't they? If acting on this results in their children being placed at risk, that is immoral as well.

    What are you fucking 12 like Cytoxic? Do you not understand the concept of moral dilemmas and that morality and ethics is not some clear cut thing?

  • ||

    I've made all sorts of sacrifices, in all sorts of areas of life, to best adhere to my own morals. Like most people who aren't totally amoral do.

  • John||

    I've made all sorts of sacrifices, in all sorts of areas of life, to best adhere to my own morals. Like most people who aren't totally amoral do.

    I thought you didn't believe in morality? Has that changed?

    What makes you think other people don't do the same thing? What gives you the right to assume that just because someone isn't willing to sacrifice their safety or their families safety in pursuit of this or any other cause they "don't have a conscience"?

  • Zeb||

    Because you have a conscience.

    That seemed like a perfectly reasonable answer to the question. That is why one would, and why many people do, do things that they think are right but are not in their own immediate self interest.

  • Jickerson||

    Do you not have principles, then? I expect that people in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' would be willing to sacrifice many things in the name of freedom. Strange, then, that most people here neither desire freedom nor act brave.

    Are you going to defend people who support mass surveillance next, because they're scared of terrorists?

  • R C Dean||

    Because you have a conscience.

    Dang, Nikki.

    Well played.

  • Thomas O.||

    "Hell even if you are black and do live in the inner city and are likely to get brutalized by the cops, the risk of that happening is still likely lower than the risk of being victimized by a criminal after the cops say fuck it and stop enforcing the laws in response to any effort to control their behavior. The cops in Baltimore made damn sure the law abiding people of the city paid dearly for having the nerve to hold them accountable for murdering a guy in a police van."

    So let the mob-thugs in the police have their way - not a single attempt to reform their behavior or get rid of the bad apples - or they'll get the "blue flu" and the city folk will fear a real-world version of "The Purge". Got it.

  • John||

    My point went right over your head.

  • tarran||

    The race hustlers are successful because people are so eager to buy into their hustle. All cons depend on the eagerness of the victim to believe the conman's patter.

  • John||

    Perhaps, but that doesn't make the con man any less morally culpable.

  • Lee G||

    The Remaining Presidential Candidates Mostly Suck on Criminal Justice Reform

    FIFY

  • ||

    Damn you!

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, I thought I'd check first. Ed's got subject matter to last the entire year, here. Just substitute "liberty", "taxes", "foreign affairs", etc.

  • Teaching Student||

    Cross out the mostly, then you're more accurate.

  • ||

    All Irish needs to know is which one promises to lock up the most darkies.

  • SIV||

    Christie?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    This is going to be a good election for Irish.

  • SIV||

    Donald Trump does have that 20+ year history of calling for the legalization of ALL drugs. He's not running on that (obviously) but considering he's all over the place on both sides of every issue it is probably the one thing he's been most consistent on. If you believe Trump was insincere for holding that politically toxic position for decades, who the fuck was he pandering to?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Who knows. Maybe he's just an imbecile.

  • ||

    He wasn't running for office when he said it.

  • Robert||

    Then it's probably what he really thinks.

  • Robert||

    That's why many in the LPNY were interested in him: a guy who was for legal drugs & was an entrepreneur, so not a commie or hippie. Howard A. Stern liked him too, quipped that if Trump ran the Post Office, you could send letters for $.12 & gamble w the stamps.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    My take: Ed keeps his "best Reason headline and alt text writer" title for another day.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Being soft on crime isn't going to buy anybody's vote.

    Much better to focus on candidates who want to let the states decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Getting that legalized state by state is the most important criminal justice reform there could be. Take the penalty for growing and possessing cannabis all the way down to zero.

    I should say gun control is another issue that's important that way--only that's taking a step backwards on criminal justice reform.

    What does it matter if someone supports "criminal justice reform" and yet wants to suddenly make criminals of millions of otherwise law abiding Americans?

    Score the candidates based on those two issues--marijuana legalization and gun control.

  • John||

    Getting that legalized state by state is the most important criminal justice reform there could be.

    I am all for legalized pot but I completely disagree with that statement. Things like police accountability, asset forfeitures and the explosion of strict liability crimes are all much more important problems to address than pot prohibition. Just to give an example, the Chicago police ran a black prison where people were held for days and sometimes weeks in comunicado and without charges or anyone but the cops knowing they were there. And no one was held accountable for it happening and there is no reason to think they haven't set up the same operation somewhere else. That just to name one thing is a hundred times more of an outrage and problem than people getting busted for pot.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Things like police accountability, asset forfeitures and the explosion of strict liability crimes are all much more important problems to address than pot prohibition."

    I don't think that has a lot to do with anything a President can fix--especially police accountability.

    Police accountability is about Democrat party machines controlling cities, "negotiating" with police unions that the city councils themselves are beholden to for endorsements and campaign contributions--along with district attorneys being beholden to police unions for endorsements and campaign contributions.

    Chicago only has one Republican alderman on the city council. Look at where his endorsements and campaign contributions are coming from--police unions.

    http://www.napolitano41stward.com/home.html

    They only have one Republican out of 50 on the Chicago city council, which means having the one Republican in their pocket makes the police unions are even better represented on the city council than the Democrats.

    What's a President going to do about that?

    Legalize marijuana and you're talking about getting rid of a big part of the reason for having a militarized police force in the first place.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You look at his campaign page?

    The only thing he has to say about the police in Chicago?

    "Address Inadequate Police Presence in the Ward"

  • John||

    I think the President could do a lot to fix that by using DOJ and federal civil rights laws to go after cops and hold them accountable. The President could also use the power of the purse to deny federal money to police forces that engage in such behavior. The President could do a lot of good, if they choose to.

  • R C Dean||

    I think the President could do a lot to fix that by using DOJ and federal civil rights laws to go after cops and hold them accountable.

    One of the few legitimate functions of federal law enforcement is going after state and local officials. So, naturally, they rarely do.

    And less over time, I bet. I recall big, high-profile federal corruption cases being brought against city politicos and apparatchiks years ago, but nothing in quite awhile. Weird, huh?

  • Robert||

    The President could also use the power of the purse to deny federal money to police forces that engage in such behavior.


    Not legally, I don't think so. It'd have to be in the legisl'n. Funds can't be withheld by executive action alone.

  • Robert||

    I don't think that has a lot to do with anything a President can fix--especially police accountability.


    That's true. There are some handles POTUS could grab, relating to Justce Dept. asset forfeiture programs. Changing the Civil Rights Div.'s focus from race in police relations to just general police relations would help too. But mostly, not a heck of a lot to do directly w law enforcement. W some of the laws themselves, yes, but not re their enforcement.

  • ||

    And most of the people there were picked up on petty drug charges.

  • John||

    Really? I would like to see a citation on that, because that is not what I have read.

  • SugarFree||

    So we are supposed to believe the corrupt police running a black site on what charges the people they were holding in the black site were picked up on?

  • R C Dean||

    Or even whether there were indictments, warrants, or probable cause to pick them up in the first place?

    When you're running Lubyanka on the Lake, I doubt you are overly burdened by concern with due process.

  • Zeb||

    Whatever the facts are in that particular case, ending prohibition would do a lot to curb police abuses. Without a bunch of victimless crimes on the books, the police have a lot less reason to get into people's business. It wouldn't solve the whole problem with police abuses, of course. But I don't think we are going to get anywhere as long as drug enforcement is a major part of what they do.

    Of course, just legalizing/regulating weed isn't going to do it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Also, I hope my point about gun control isn't getting lost.

    Every Democrat who says they're in favor of criminal justice reform and then turns around and advocates gun control should be a laughing stock.

    On the one hand, they want criminal justice reform; on the other hand, they want to turn millions of law abiding Americans into instant criminals--even though they haven't done anything to anybody.

  • Robert||

    Many of them think it's part & parcel of the same thing: violence. They think police should be less violent, & they think everyone else should have fewer means of violence available. They think law abiding people should just abide the law on guns too, & if they don't follow new restrictions, well, then they must be criminals just like existing criminals.

  • JW||

    I am all for legalized pot but I completely disagree with that statement. Things like police accountability, asset forfeitures and the explosion of strict liability crimes are all much more important problems to address than pot prohibition.

    "Sorry folks, we only have the ability to do 3 of these 4 things."

  • Lee G||

    Instead of being "soft on crime", they should reframe it as being "hard on the corrupt" or "strong on freedom".

    There's no shortage of real judicial travesties out there. I'm still amazed they didn't hang that Pennsylvania judge for selling kids into juvie detention centers.

    Nevermind the number of US Attorneys who have hung some poor bastard out to dry over a minor infraction for the political points.

  • John||

    That is a good point. Everyone loves to go after a crooked cop. And in the same way it took Nixon to go to China, it will take someone with impeccable law and order credentials to tackle this problem. Good luck finding anyone who has ever been associated with law enforcement in this country willing to do it.

  • R C Dean||

    Cruz would actually be well-positioned to do this.

    If he wanted to.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    100% agreed. It is not being "soft on crime" to get rid of criminal police officers or corrupt judges.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't think we can make the police truly accountable unless we can get rid of their right to collective bargaining.

    We'd need a Constitutional Amendment to do that.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Agreed. As much as the "militarization of police" is brought up... cops don't act like the military. At all. They act like pubsec workers. If you want to see cops who act like the military, go to Chile. Their Carabineros are organized along paramilitary lines, and they're highly professional, competent and rights-respecting compared to the rest of the region. The problem with US cops isn't that they're being given the military's toys; rather it's an underlying problem with pubsec organization and politics applied to young guys who are given carte blanche to use violence in pursuit of their goals. The main difference between DMV and the cops is in what they've been entrusted with, not in terms of organization.

    The military is not the best model for cops going forward, but honestly it's a hell of a lot better than the current model: at least the military has a handle on how to discipline young guys who don't follow orders and who violate the norms of professionalism within the unit.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think "police militarization" is so much about the police actually being like the military, or even their having military gear to play with, as it is about the attitude that they are "warriors" fighting an enemy. The whole "us vs. them" attitude that so many of them have.

  • R C Dean||

    We'd need a Constitutional Amendment to do that.

    I don't see why. One easy way for the feds to do it would be to withhold all federal law enforcement funding from departments that allow collective bargaining. Naturally, it would be better to get rid of the funding altogether, but . . .

  • Zeb||

    I don't either. You would need one to prevent police from forming unions and trying to collectively bargain. But couldn't a state pass a law forbidding the state or municipalities from bargaining with police unions?

    Attempting to unionize is a basic free association right. But having the employer engage with a union is not.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Right. The problem isn't the unions. The problem is caving to them. End mandatory dues, etc.

  • Robert||

    Trump wants to let states legalize mj recreationally or medically, & wants looser controls on guns than we have now. Cruz I think is the same.

  • Medical Physics Guy||

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has hit most of the right notes on mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, but the union booster is highly unlikely to do anything to tackle the power of the police and corrections officer unions that profit off the prison-police-industrial complex and work to maintain that status quo.

    I managed to make it through half an hour of one of the Democratic debates, and Sanders brought up criminal justice reform at least one maybe twice. I didn't see Rand Paul, doing his imitation-SoCon routine, do much of that. The rest of the paragraph is just Ed's opinion on what Bernie really means -- can't we take a moment to be happy a candidate even brought it up.

  • John||

    This is true. Its a low standard but Bernie met it.

  • ||

    I didn't see Rand Paul, doing his imitation-SoCon routine, do much of that.

    He did do it in some of the later debates (after he gave up the socon routine).

  • Robert||

    He had a certain amount of material, like any performer. You're reading too much into the order in which he chose to present it.

  • Medical Physics Guy||

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has hit most of the right notes on mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, but the union booster is highly unlikely to do anything to tackle the power of the police and corrections officer unions that profit off the prison-police-industrial complex and work to maintain that status quo.

    I managed to make it through half an hour of one of the Democratic debates, and Sanders brought up criminal justice reform at least one maybe twice. I didn't see Rand Paul, doing his imitation-SoCon routine, do much of that. The rest of the paragraph is just Ed's opinion on what Bernie really means -- can't we take a moment to be happy a candidate even brought it up.

  • Rasilio||

    So what you are really saying is that the remaining candidates mostly suck cop dick?

  • John||

    You gotta protect the shield. Thin blue line and all that.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The problem is that in many lower-class communities, there's quite a lot of overlap between violent/property criminals and the rest of the people living there. My family is split right down the middle into high-functioning, high income folk, and low-income, low-functioning with some criminality. I know things about those family members that could potentially incriminate them -- and there is no way in hell I would ever tell a cop any of those things. Most families coming from that background are similar, and this is an enormous problem for policing. It is very hard to determine exactly how to address this issue and gain community trust effectively, and unfortunately many of the "criminal justice reform" groups are not helping to make this relationship mutually productive and humane.

    The libertarian preference to decriminalize non-violent/non-property crimes would improve the police-community relationship IMO, but it is a far more difficult issue to resolve than simply doing that and revisiting special union/legal protections for cops or body camera. I am all for those things, but more will need to be done and it should probably be done at the state and local rather than the federal level. I would especially like to point out that people like Ben Carson and (back in the day) myself supported drug laws and the like precisely as a proxy for the real issues of criminality affecting these communities we grew up in.

  • John||

    That is a great point. The other issue is that the reason the drug war falls disproportionately on the poor is because the poor disproportionately commit other sorts of crimes and thus have more interactions with police. Poll after poll shows that drug use is about evenly distributed among the rich and poor. Yet the poor are nearly always the ones who get busted for it. The reason for this is not because the police give middle class and rich people a pass. The reason is that unless you do something to otherwise attract the attention of the police, you are very unlikely to ever get arrested for drug use or possession. Poor people tend to do that and middle class and rich don't.

    For this reason I have a bad feeling that ending the drug war would increase crime. What the drug war is mostly doing is throwing poor people in jail for drugs and in doing so likely preventing them from committing other crimes. That of course doesn't make the drug war any less immoral or wrong. It is immoral to go out and arrest poor people on unjust charges as a way to reduce crime. Immoral or not, it may however be effective and it is exactly what the drug war is doing.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Pretty much.

    Hate to go all "underlying causes" on this one, but the main positive effects of ending the WoDs would be external to the country. We would be drying up the cartels' main source of income, but in reality there are plenty of crimes -- hell, even libertarian-friendly property crimes -- that the police could use to similar effect. Attaining a police force that is widely seen as professional, rights-respecting, is a much bigger piece of this puzzle -- and frankly, so is the effectiveness of that police force. Why would I call the police to report a violent crime if I don't think they can handle it? That just puts me and my family at risk in these neighborhoods. In that sense, the "tough on crime" folks have a point: it doesn't do to simply have a toy police force that doesn't actually do anything.

    Funny thing is, both the "tough on crime" and the criminal justice folks should be unified around opposing police unions. Chile's police force is the most respected in Latin America, and it is not unionized but rather set up on paramilitary lines. I would like for this problem to be looked at using several lenses, rather than simply through the prism of race or security or freedom alone.

  • Bubba Jones||

    That and the risk premium for drug dealing is much more attractive to poor people. End the risk premium. Women and Minorities Hardest Hit.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Last time I was in a jury pool they asked "how many of you have family members who are cops?" and "how many...felons?"

    Largely the same group of people.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I think a more important question is which candidates would actively oppose criminal justice reform. Christie? Rubio? Hillary?

    I don't think Cruz would block reform.

  • NYer||

    Christie definitely would. A former prosecutor, he even said he would end pot legalization as soon as he got into office: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....4d88346271

    Rubio agrees with him: http://www.browardpalmbeach.co.....nt-7174851

    Clinton will put her finger to the wind and see which way it blows. Cruz is quite similar in this regard.

    Sadly the Socialist is the only candidate left who actually supports criminal justice reform and marijuana federalism.

  • Robert||

    There's little POTUS can do in favor of criminal justice reform, but nothing I can think of to block it.

  • ||

    "For those who don't like police officers, I'd like you to think about what your life would be like if they weren't around for 24 hours. It would be awful."

    Someone needs to check his motherfucking privilege.

  • ||

    Everybody knows that no human society ever functioned, let alone thrived, before the modern concept of municipal police were introduced in the last few centuries.

  • R C Dean||

    I'd like you to think about what your life would be like if they weren't around for 24 hours.

    OK, I have.

    Feels like . . . liberty.

  • dpbisme||

    But, but, but?????

    Did I miss it?

    Just how does this author define "criminal justice reform"?

    To me it means hanging career criminals in the public square because of the huge damage they do to society, do you think that is what he was talking about....

    You know people that
    -- Rob stores ARMED with firearms.
    -- Drive by shooters
    -- Welfare fraudsters.
    -- Medicare and Medicaid Fraudsters

    You know, the kind of people that hurt people for a living.

    I mean if you are going to bash each and every candidate for their opinions it would have been more helpful if we knew what this guy was proposing.

  • BearOdinson||

    Actually, this is criminal justice reform for me:

    1. Decriminalize all actions that are completely consensual (i.e. end WODs legalize prostitution, gambling etc.)

    2. Make police unions illegal.

    3. Make the punishment harsh for people who commit real crimes (murder, rape, robbery, arson, etc.)

    4. Any person who is found guilty of aggravated 1st degree murder, with an even higher degree of certainty than is currently used (say DNA or must be several, independent eyewitnesses, or something along those lines) then they should be executed publicly. Along with a public showing of a re-enactment of their crime.

  • R C Dean||

    I would throw eliminating or greatly restricting sovereign immunity into that mix.

    I might also propose that any laws that give special privileges to cops (like their universal concealed carry privilege) be subjected to strict scrutiny under the Equal Protection clause. Essentially, declare the citizenry to be a protected class.

  • Robert||

    Of those, only #2 is what I'd consider even closely related to criminal justice reform. The rest are about the substance of statutes & penalties appurtenant to them.

  • Zeb||

    Wouldn't it be easier to get rid of Medicare and Welfare programs that are easily defrauded?

    If we could get rid of all consensual "crimes", I'd be all for harsh punishments of people who do real harm. I'm not so sure about the death penalty for fraud.

  • Robert||

    All of Medicare & Medicaid is easily defrauded. Plus, they create an environment that invites at least arguable fraud by any provider trying to make decent $.

  • Robert||

    I understood it to mean nothing but procedure reforms. Things relating to how the police, lawyers, & judges behave, not what cases are about.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Hopefully Cruz is just pretending to suck on criminal justice reform. Then he can whip that out during the general. "Well Hillary your 1994 act put tons of people in jail for no reason. Look at the good stuff I did recently."

  • ||

    Here's an article claiming that blacks are completely in the tank for Hillary:

    All the blacks is belong to Hillary

    So if this is to be believed, that means that blacks are willing to go to the polls en masse to support a candidate who it more against criminal justice reform and more pro drug war than any other candidate. I'm having issues believing the irony of this.

  • John||

    I have no doubt that if you bugged them enough, most black people would tell a pollster they support Hillary. Probably 90% or more would say that. How many of them actually support her enough to show up and vote for her is an entirely different question and one that I doubt Hillary will like the answer to.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Only 86%

  • R C Dean||

    I thought I read that Hillary's support among blacks is eroding, as well. Her Great African-American Firewall strategy is not the Win Button she thought it was.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Ted Cruz, whose campaign strategy has been to adopt whatever ideology fits the voting population he's trying to woo on that particular day, has already abandoned much of his criminal justice reform positions in the quest to win social conservative votes. He's flip-flopped on marijuana too—he now opposes the federal government cracking down on states that have legalized it. That may be one of the few criminal justice reform bright spots left in the Republican race.

    Since it's his actions after election, rather than his rhetoric, that matter, his tendency to pander leaves him a giant question mark. The best evidence we have of his actual preferences is in his voting record, so how bad is that?

  • SugarFree||

    "We need to take care of police officers because they take care of us," Carson said, avoiding the issue of police unions like every other Republican who is usually skeptical of public unions in other contexts. "For those who don't like police officers, I'd like you to think about what your life would be like if they weren't around for 24 hours. It would be awful."

    Can I call this guy an asshole yet? I mean, a bunch of people got all butthurt when I made fun of him for believing something 100% retarded about fucking pyramids, but I can object to this, right?

  • ||

    It's ok, he's not a real black person, he's a Republican. So it's ok to make fun of him.

  • SugarFree||

    No one was defending him for being black, but for being a Republican. If Carson was a Democrat saying the exact same things he'd have been the laughingstock I've always thought he was.

  • ||

    Yeah, that Pyramid thing was derptastic. They built pyramids to store grain. The grain was for bigfoot and the aliens.

  • R C Dean||

    Newsletter?

  • BearOdinson||

    Yep. In my neighborhood, there aren't many cops and they hardly ever show up. My house was broken into. I called them, and they were totally cool. But the fact is, had I not called them, NOTHING would be different. My wallet would still be gone, I still cancelled all my credit cards and changed my bank account, new DL etc.

    And in the shitty neighborhoods, they will still be shitty since the cops don't like to go there.

    Pretty much NOTHING would be different. (I am not an anarchist, so I am not necessarily advocating for now municipal police, but for short periods of time, it wouldn't make any difference).

  • SugarFree||

    Too many people watch TV and think that's what cops are really like. Even something like The Shield doesn't capture the day-to-day indifference and venality you see. They write traffic tickets, bust poor and young people for drug and beat up just about anyone they think they can get away with. Everything else is just TV.

  • Robert||

    Fucking pyramids Is retarded all by itself.

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