Thursday, November 29, 2007

Garbage In Garbage Out

Sometimes I hate being right. I always said that if the death penalty was ever rescinded, outlawed, declared unconstitutional, or went into some kind of moratorium, it wouldn't stop there. The same people pushing for an end to it (many of whom currently like to brag about how they would be "tough on crime" by mandating life at hard labor) would waste precious little time moving into phase two-insisting on moving the prison system away from punishment and toward rehabilitation even toward, whenever possible, the most hard core and violent offenders.

Since a great many states have now moved toward a death penalty moratorium in the wake of federal and Supreme Court rulings that address concerns as to the constitutionality of certain forms of execution, especially the process of lethal injection, the next step is on the way.

Enter this report by Maya Schenwar, "Set in Steel:Prison Life Without Parole, a special report on Why, she asks, are federal bans on parole still in place, despite burgeoning prison populations and, of all things, growing recidivism? (Uh, maybe because of the "growing" recidivism, perhaps?)

True, the article does make the point-and it is a good one-that a lot of the people stuck behind bars with no chance of parole are non-violent drug offenders. True, I myself think a lot of these so-called crimes should not only not be crimes, they should be legal and regulated commerce.

At the same time, I guarantee you this process would be just the first step in a return to the seventies and eighties mindset, which can best be summed up as-let's rehabilitate the criminal and put him back out to where he can contribute to society after at most a few years of controlled therapy.

One of the reasons I turned from the left, and from the Democratic Party who have been their staunchest enablers, is the simple fact they never seem to learn from past mistakes, and it is easy to see the potential for history repeating itself with just a brief scan of this article.