Column: History repeats itself with renewed soft on crime policies

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According to the U.S.  Bureau of Justice Statistics, About 62% of prisoners released across 34 states in 2012 were arrested within 3 years, and 71% were arrested within 5 years.
Photo Lloyd Mitchell

From the White House to the streets of America’s cities, the progressive ideological concept of not responding adequately to those who do harm to the innocent has wreaked havoc.

The Obama administration’s semi-pacifist foreign policy proved disastrous. When Beijing assaulted the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, the 44th President didn’t even lodge a diplomatic protest. When Russia invaded Crimea, he responded with only weak sanctions. In a move duplicated recently in Afghanistan, all U.S. forces were withdrawn from Iraq, a move that gave rise to the rise of the ISIS caliphate.

Currently, with another progressive in the White House, a new round of violence is under way. Moscow is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine, unless the U.S. provides key concessions. That’s the moral equivalent of a mugger negotiating with you how much he will take from your wallet. China is preparing to assault Taiwan. Iran, despite being already bound by non-nuclearization treaties, is developing atomic weapons.

A similar response occurs to crime throughout America’s cities where progressive district attorneys exist. The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund reports that “ [the] failure to keep criminals locked up had tragic consequences.”

Concepts such as defunding police forces, and especially bail “reform,” have endangered public safety on a massive scale.

Examples abounds, in New York, the completely Democrat-controlled government attacked the appropriate use of bail. As the new policies were being proposed, Court Innovation.org noted that “In January 2020, New York State put into effect sweeping criminal justice legislation, strictly curtailing the use of cash bail and pretrial detention… In New York City, 43 percent of the almost 5,000 people detained pretrial on April 1, 2019 would have been released under the new legislation. Outside of New York City, the effects could be even greater. Of the almost 205,000 criminal cases arraigned in New York City in 2018, only 10 percent would have been eligible for money bail under the new law.”

In San Francisco, the newly elected District Attorney Chesa Boudin told Jacobin magazine that “Our system of mass incarceration is grossly disproportionate to our problem with crime and public safety. In fact, the way we arrest and lock people up actually makes us less safe, creates more crime. For too long politicians have falsely equated victims’ rights and public safety with conviction rates and length of sentence…”

The failure of soft on crime policies, whether in foreign affairs or in America’s cities, is clear. Examples from New York and California are well known. The Manhattan Institute examined a few other jurisdictions. In Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Ferguson, Missouri, and Riverside, California, investigations led police to scale back proactive policing. Each of these jurisdictions saw sharp drops in police-initiated interactions, such as pedestrian stops. As a result, “almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies occurred over a two-year period.”

Nationwide rates of violent crime have skyrocketed. The refusal to incarcerate or to keep incarcerated offenders defies the evidence. The U.S.  Bureau of Justice Statistics outlines the statistics:

  • About 6 in 10 (62%) prisoners released across 34 states in 2012 were arrested within 3 years, and 7 in 10 (71%) were arrested within 5 years.
  • Nearly half (46%) of prisoners released in 2012 returned to prison within 5 years for a parole or probation violation, or a new sentence.
  • Eleven percent of prisoners released in 2012 were arrested within 5 years outside of the state that released them.
  • Eighty-one percent of prisoners age 24 or younger at release in 2012 were arrested within 5 years of release, compared to 74% of those ages 25 to 39 and 61% of those age 40 or older.

New Jersey Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, in a letter to the Lexington National Insurance organization, noted that his states’ bail reform “has been an absolute disaster. The public safety needs of citizens in New Jersey have suffered far greater than could have been imagined. The costs to the state have increased exponentially and, even worse, the constitutional rights of many of the accused are being infringed.”

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