We Need to Get Smart, Not Tough, on Crime
Mark Kleiman thinks we need to punish more readily, but less severely
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 20, 2013 1:33 PM CDT
We need to punish offenders, but long sentences are a bad deal.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Talk to a Democrat about crime, and he or she is likely to try to change the subject. They're convinced that conservatives, "who want to fight crime by hurting people who commit it," have the upper hand, UCLA professor Mark Kleiman writes at the Democracy Journal. "On this theory, the voters aren’t buying what the good guys are selling: less punishment and more social services." Progressives who aren't running for office cling to the illusion that crime is an imaginary or overstated problem invoked to stoke racial fears. "We can and should do better" than this debate, Kleiman says.

Crime is real and has real costs—which fall disproportionately on poor people and minorities. Progressives should be raging against this, both with social programs, and, yes, with punishment. But because crime is a terrible value proposition, criminals tend to be short-term thinkers, which means long jail sentences don't work. What we need are swift, certain penalties, not severe ones, which means investing in policing and being stricter with handling parolees. "With a little less heated rhetoric and a little more practical reasoning, we could have a lot less crime." Click for Kleiman's full column.

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Showing 3 of 112 comments
Mar 23, 2013 12:17 AM CDT
Apparently, the guy who killed both the Colorado corrections chief and another man was himself out on parole. Liberals make it easy for murderers to escape execution, and all to get out on parole. It is the sickness of liberalism call Dukakism - or Willie Hortonism. The smart thing is to execute the murderers, and punish severely the criminals.
Mar 22, 2013 8:51 PM CDT
Talk to me. I'm a Democrat and see no reason to cut criminals any slack.
Mar 21, 2013 10:28 PM CDT
The pro-crime liberals have come up with these types of proposals before - excusiology. The liberals usually have enough money to reside in safe neighborhoods. The poor suffer. But in part, it is their own fault. Poor minorities vote for liberal Democrats, who refuse to enact the death penalty or other reasonable punishments for violent criminals. Lib Dems favor let them out with a lecture. So, they commit more crimes, and more, and more. Liberal Dem cities like Detroit show what happens when liberals control the politics, and the punishments. Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia prefers to attack an article critical of Black crime, than crack down on Black criminals. That is typical. That is why, to reduce crime, the first step is to oust liberal Democrats.