A new report published by the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan federal government agency, estimates a bill awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA), would reduce federal spending by $722 million over the next 10 years. SRCA, sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, would revise federally mandated minimum sentences for individuals convicted of some non-violent federal crimes.
Despite its reputation for freedom, the U.S. has the world’s highest prison population rate, 716 inmates per 100,000 people. More than half the countries of the world have rates less than one-fifth of that. The United States’ rate is six times that of Canada and six to nine times greater than the rates of Western European nations, with whom we have the most cultural and historical ties. Why is criminality so much higher here than in those countries? The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but 22 percent of its prison population.
There is a growing concern among citizens that some government officials have been and are continuing to abuse their authority. There are many examples and evidence of this starting at the very top level of our government. Will there be further conflicts, and if so will it be the catalyst for further insurgency by citizens against government?
I have difficulty with viewing these arguments from Wehner and Gerson (and David Frum) as anything but naive posturing. For Gerson, the aim seems to be that the drug war is something that is helping people, and backing off from it is bad for society; for Wehner, he seems to conclude that the path back to electoral success is doubling down on the drug war to appeal to single women and moms.
The Heartland Institute’s Steve Stanek interviews Vikrant Reddy, from the Right On Crime Initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, to discuss alternative conservative approaches to incarceration.