Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, took a firm stance against drug dealers trafficking fentanyl, reasoning these types of criminals should receive life sentences in prison.
On the Thursday edition of the "Hold These Truths" podcast, Crenshaw proposed more lenient sentences for those committing minor crimes.
On the flip side, Crenshaw also said there should be no empathy shown to those dealing fentanyl, which reportedly accounted for more than 64,000 American deaths in 2021.
And that figure is expected to be higher for 2022.
"I think people who are dealing fentanyl ... should be put in prison for life. I think that should immediately be our swift justice. I think if you rape a child, you should be put to death. You know, most people listening agree with me on this," Crenshaw told Al Massey, the executive relations manager for the Texas-based Prison Entrepreneurship Program.
"But like, there's just so many people in jail that are not even close to these kind of crimes and are in there for years," continued Crenshaw. "I mean years. I swear to God if I do something wrong accidentally one time, you put me in jail for a week, I will have learned my lesson. Like I never want to go back and do that again ... ."
Crenshaw then expanded on his overall assessment of the criminal justice system in America:
"People are real focused on the criminal justice system at the moment because it's not working. You know, we hinted at that a little while ago where we noted that like a lot of us don't understand why certain people are in jail and certain people aren't," said Crenshaw.
The Texas Republican added: "I tend to have a softer heart with criminal justice reform. And you know, I — 'cause I tend to think that we have to distinguish between people we're mad at and people we're afraid of. If we're afraid of you — you should be in jail. We're gonna take that extreme step, which is taking away your liberty."
Crenshaw admitted he wasn't certain if society, on the whole, still views jailing those committing non-major crimes as a prohibitive step.
"I'm not sure we see that as society as an extreme step anymore, but it is — it's very extreme. ... Part of me thinks we really should refocus how we administer that kind of justice. You know, are we mad at you? And if we're mad at you, how else can we punish you without completely ruining you?" Crenshaw mused rhetorically.
"That's a longer conversation," said Crenshaw. "It's a philosophical one, and it's for lawmakers to decide. But it's worth thinking about because, you know, are we making things worse by putting you in jail for certain things?"
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