Is America Getting Less Punitive?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Over at Huffington Post, I look at that question in light of recent election results.

The article is almost optimistic. Longtime readers may find that confusing. But I promise, I really did write it.

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17 Responses to “Is America Getting Less Punitive?”

  1. #1 |  JLS | 

    Thank you for writing in such a way as to be optimistic when it is warranted. I think a lot of us fall into the temptation to just be cynical so much that we forget that when the evidence gives us a reson to be optimistic it’s ok to be optimistic.

    I’m tired of being down all the time and really really need a reason to hope.

  2. #2 |  MH | 

    Ah, so now I can take off my cup while reading this blog?

  3. #3 |  SJE | 

    Who are you? What have you done to Radley?

  4. #4 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Not much less punitive– people convicted of crimes related to prostitution can be treated as sex offenders.

    The damned thing passed. A small part of it was blocked by a judge.

  5. #5 |  Burgers Allday | 

    In line with some of the examples in your fine artie:

    http://www.policeone.com/corrections/articles/6036279-Defense-lawyers-say-cop-shouldnt-get-jail-time-for-excessive-force-incident/

  6. #6 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    A Texas Prosecutor Faces Justice:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/opinion/nocera-a-texas-prosecutor-faces-justice.html

  7. #7 |  marie | 

    Forgive me, Burgers…I cannot tell if that is sarcasm or not. This cop killed a man.

    Radley, I like the optimism and am happy for the victims of the WOD. What I worry about is that law enforcement and the courts and the prisons will still need someone to kick around in order to keep their jobs. To me, it looks as if child porn defendants are the new war casualties. Legislators who want to look tough on crime now have these guys to grind under their heels.

  8. #8 |  MH | 

    There are (I hope) not enough pedophiles to support the same kind of jobs program afforded by the Drug War.

    They will fight tooth and nail not to give up the Drug War.

  9. #9 |  Burgers Allday | 

    The cop was well on his way to getting off scot-free.

    It was public pressure that (a) got him a (federal) trial; and (b) now has gotten a couple public officials voted out / fired.

    as a long time follower of the Zehm story (I have family in the general area who mention it from time to time), things bode much better than they did back in, say, 2009. Not ideal justice, but it is a story that has been around long enough that you could actually sort of see the zeitgeist shift a bit.

    YMMV.

  10. #10 |  marie | 

    There are (I hope) not enough pedophiles to support the same kind of jobs program afforded by the Drug War.

    There aren’t that many pedophiles but experience with the Drug War shows that they don’t need that many really bad guys. They are perfectly willing to go after the harmless ones.

    ~~~
    Thanks, Burgers.

  11. #11 |  Rojo | 

    Making the state the vendor probably seemed logical to the Oregon marijuana initiative writers, as that is basically the situation with liquor sales here.

    Anyway, I voted for it because whatever the problems with the state vendor model, it’s still better than prohibition.

  12. #12 |  red | 

    I’ve actually become harsher towards criminals over the years while reducing my the actual number of things I think people should be punished for. At this point anything that actually cause harm to someone else is only type of crime I could convict someone of. I am also a lot less likely to believe the police/prosecuters when it comes to convicting anyone.

    On the other hand I think that burglars, muggers, rapists, and murders should either exiled or executed. I have no tolerances for those who intentionally do evil and allowing them walk around free just invites more crime.

  13. #13 |  Allen Garvin | 

    In California, the irrational crime panic of the 90s–criminals who re-offend over and over–has been replaced with an irrational fear of sex slavery, the initiative mandating decades-long punishment for crimes tangential to actual coerced sex trafficking, and public branding of their crime if they ever get out of prison.

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Lot’s of WTF regarding Burger’s Seattle PD link: Cop is eventually convicted by a federal jury of violating victim’s civil rights by using excessive force and then lying to investigators.

    Standard Operating Procedure: City refused to charge the cops involved (after a thorough internal investigation)…even though they were later convicted. So, not only was there enough evidence to file charges and go to court, but to actually get a conviction…but Seattle (after a thorough internal investigation) deemed that nothing wrong happened at all. That’s all the proof I need to determine SPD is corrupt.

    Now, defense lawyers claim no time should be served as “humiliation of conviction” is enough…for killing a man. Judge actually lets the cop remain free POST CONVICTION. He walks out of the court room.

    At every single step in the process, the state gangs have conspired to allow one-of-their-own to get away with murder.

    Damn onions: “All I wanted was a Snickers bar” were the last words of a weak old man after he was clubbed, tazed, beaten, gagged, and sat on by numerous cops. Oh, he was proven to not be the guy they were looking for.

    BTW: I hate the state vendor model…for everything. Liquor, MJ, it doesn’t matter. That system is how I imagine legalized prostitution would be if state-run and staffed by the DMV.

  15. #15 |  Cynical in New York | 

    I honestly don’t think so. Badgelickers and “law and order” types still outnumber us who actually cherish our civil liberties. While the recent developments in laws regarding marijuana are certainly a welcomed turn of events. There is still plenty of work to be done

  16. #16 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Standard Operating Procedure: City refused to charge the cops involved (after a thorough internal investigation)…even though they were later convicted. So, not only was there enough evidence to file charges and go to court, but to actually get a conviction…but Seattle (after a thorough internal investigation) deemed that nothing wrong happened at all. That’s all the proof I need to determine SPD is corrupt.

    I think it was Spokane, but, more to the point, I honestly don’t think the case would have unfolded the same way if Zehm had been killed in 2012 instead of 2006.

    This is what progress looks like. It is, of course, messy and irrational.

  17. #17 |  Burgers Allday | 

    PS: The Spokane Officer (the main instigator) has now been sentenced to four years. supposedly he will have to serve at least 85%.

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