Wednesday, September 07, 2016

End prison for non-violent, non-repetitive offenders

America's criminal justice system is a disgrace; failing on multiple levels. One that stands out is incarceration. The US houses 2.2 million souls, over half a million more than runner up China with four times our population. Containing just 4.3% of the planet's population, we house 22% its its ten million detainees. Cross the border to Canada and the imprisonment rate drops from 743 per hundred thousand to 118 per hundred grand. That's not so grand. America is No. 1, but not in what you should brag about.

Let's stop using the utterly futile and costly adage 'lock em up' when someone commits a non-violent crime. End incarceration for non-violent offenders, with no criminal history and not likely to become repeat offenders. Whether they steal a hot dog from an unguarded vendor or $150 million like the Great Madoff, allow judges the discretion to suspend any prison sentence for such candidates. Use home confinement, except for going to or from work, restitution, and the threat of imposing the suspended sentence for failure to comply.
Use the freed up prison cells to house the truly dangerous, the repetitive and the incorrigible to protect both themselves and society from further murder and mayhem. Let's replace the stupid pills we feed our juries, jurists and legislators with wisdom, compassion and common sense.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Two from Illinois

Kudos to Congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush who were the only Illinois congressmen among 64 who signed the congressional letter sent to President Obama calling for moratorium in arms sales to Saudi Arabia over their criminal bombing of neighboring Yemen that has left 10,000 dead, 7 million near starvation and the country largely destroyed. Of course, as the supplier of the bombs, planes and logistical support for these war crimes, the US is also committing war crimes. That still leaves 371 congressmen and women under control of the US war party. US war crimes make no dent on their conscience. They are the best that war party money can buy.