EDITORIAL

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

Posted

At a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin a man drove his SUV through the crowd killing six and injuring dozens more. The driver was a repeat offender who had just been released on bail for brutalizing his girlfriend. The bail was set at $1,000.00. Many wonder, especially considering this tragedy, how a repeat offender could be released so easily? The answer: bad criminal justice policies that no longer punish crimes appropriately.
One cause of the progressive left has been the reform of the criminal justice system. They want to reduce prosecutions, incarcerations, and cash bails. All agree that it would be great for society if we reduced all three. Ideally, we would do this by reducing crime. Of course, we cannot judge policies according to intentions. As the economist Milton Friedman said: “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” Instead, we are seeing policies in some of our cities which decriminalize offenses, release offenders, and lower cash bails. The result of these policy decisions has led to an increase in crime in some of our major cities. For instance, just this past week an organized mob shoplifted in San Francisco. Criminals are becoming more active because the punishments no longer fit their crimes. It should be common sense that appropriate punishment discourages criminal activity and protects the community.
Yes, we should improve our criminal justice system to ensure that it is just. But justice consists in applying the appropriate punishment to the crime.

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