Conservatives Embrace Cut in Mandatory Sentences

Sunday, 29 Sep 2013 06:57 PM

By Greg Richter

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
It's not just liberal Democrats trying to get rid of mandatory sentencing laws – conservatives, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and others have joined the fight.

Paul has co-sponsored the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in an effort to ease crowded prisons. The law would allow judges to consider defendants on a case-by-case basis and hand down less than the mandatory minimum sentence if he or she determines the defendant isn't a threat to public safety.

The plan saves public dollars, which conservatives like, but it also promotes personal responsibility – another conservative tenet. In addition to the cost of housing prisoners being greatly reduced, offenders are more able to pay restitution when they are working rather than sitting behind bars.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a leader in the effort with its Right on Crime Project. The project has been used on the state level in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina to cut the penalties for low-level drug possession; expand drug courts, which save time and money; take money once used to fund prisons to provide better law-enforcement methods; and expand community-based programs, reports FoxNews.com.

Prison systems currently cost taxpayers some $50 billion a year, FoxNews.com reports, and people on probation in Texas a few years ago paid $45 million in restitution, while prisoners paid only $500,000.

"Our country’s mandatory minimum laws reflect a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach, which undermines the Constitutional Separation of Powers, violates the our bedrock principle that people should be treated as individuals, and costs the taxpayers money without making them any safer," Paul said when he introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act.

Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, authoried an op-ed in The Hill praising the bill.

They quoted University of Chicago economist and "Freakonmics" author Steven D. Levitt saying he had changed his mind on his pro-prison ideas from the 1990s.

"In the mid-1990s I concluded that the social benefits approximately equaled the costs of incarceration.” Levitt said. But now, “I think we should be shrinking the prison population by at least one-third.”

Attorney General Eric Holder announced a similar move in August when he directed his office not to pursue some lower-level drug offenders.



© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

GOP Weighs Big Changes at Congressional Budget Office

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 07:06 AM

When Republicans take full control of Congress on Jan. 6, they will face decisions on major changes at the Congressional . . .

Actor Booth Colman Dies at 91

Sunday, 21 Dec 2014 21:30 PM

Booth Colman, who had a long career as an actor including the role of ape scientist Dr. Zaius in the 1970s "Planet of th . . .

FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston Cleared in Campus Rape Hearing

Sunday, 21 Dec 2014 19:12 PM

Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared in a student conduct code hearing looking into . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved