Being tough on crime is something politicians love to say. That you need to be tough of criminals with higher fines, worse prison conditions, mandatory minimums, longer sentences, even charging for prison.
I’ve been reading a little about the absolutely horrible things disgraced sheriff Joe Apriao did in his many years as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona that includes Phoenix.
Things like tent cities for prisoners to be out in the Arizona summer and winter without air conditioning or adequate clothing. Racial profiling…
We have since Richard Nixon’s presidency increased penalties for drug possession and sale. It’s led to millions having records, billions spent, thousands unable to vote, or even get student loans and government benefits. It’s led to difficulty finding work, broken families and a distrust of police and policing.
We can do so much better.
Many people who use drugs like marijuana do it recreationally without causing anyone any trouble. Why should they go to jail because they would rather use recreational money to toke than drink or play video games, read, watch a movie, etc. And I of course realize many of these things can go together.
We have a President in Donald Trump who campaigned on law and order again. Even though crime is going down.
Campaigned on high unemployment that he suddenly says is good while in office.
Campaigned on border walls when illegal immigration is going sharply down and our border patrol may already be too large.
We need to bring sanity to our criminal justice system. We need to allow and support second chances. And we need to release a whole lot of people who hurt no one but themselves in consensual crimes like using drugs.
We should live in a society with empty jails and more apprenticeships to become a master at something.
Where social workers can help people without insane rules to prevent “welfare fraud” that isn’t even a major issue.
We have great resources to help people live better and easier lives. We should use them.