Getting the best of you.
Getting the best of you.

This is in response to... a lot of stuff I have seen.

Illustration for article titled The Problem With Prison Reform Advocates: They Have No Idea What They Are Doing

I keep seeing this and always felt uneasy about it. Prison and sentencing reform happened. Someone would do something terrible and would be punished, but would get minimal or no jail time. The same left leaning internet communities and, notably, the same individuals, clamoring to end the carcereal state would now be livid he got off so lightly.

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Finally a defense attorney weighed in and explained my unease: outrage over individual cases is what causes long sentences. Judges don’t want to be targeted in elections over a light sentence and they know they won’t be targeted over harsh ones. Outrage like this leads legislatures to pass harsher laws that increase prison populations and the length of probation and prison sentences.

The problem with the advocacy is they don’t think about what will happen. For example, Brock Turner’s sentence exactly matched the recommendation of the probation office which compared his case to state guidelines designed to reduce the prison population and increase the chance prisoners will get jobs and not reoffend. When they speak about prison reform, reform activists and their supporters seem to have this idea of a generic prisoner with no victims. If you are angry about cases like that, you don’t really believe in prison or sentencing reform.

Make a decision. Do you want it, or not? Judges are bound by law to do what you say you want and it is profoundly stupid and unjust they lose their jobs for following the laws, rules and guidelines you pushed for.

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