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Making Punishment Fit the Crime

Todd R. Clear, dean of Rutgers University–Newark School of Criminal Justice, is one of the country’s leading criminologists. A former president of the American Society of Criminology, he is widely known for his advocacy of evidence-based programs. In his newest book, The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America, Clear notes that the U.S. stands out among Western democracies for the “relentless punitive spirit” of its three-decades long mass incarceration policies. Full Article

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The black ghetto drug dealing criminal archetype is being replaced by the roving sex offender as the “enemy” of society. They are having trouble justifying the disproportional number of blacks in prison. Instead of learning from the failure of mass incarceration, the politicians are breathing new life into the prison industry, by finding a criminal everyone can hate — the sex offender.

I don’t think its a bad thing to reform drug sentencing or that is about replacing prisons with “sex offenders”, of course the main problem is that the supreme court had said registration is not punishment, there were of course three dissenters.

I think the point here is that the “powers-that-be” are not ending mass incarceration, they’ve just changed the target to one that has been made universally despised….

I am for reforming drug sentencing and indeed reforming the whole shebang of getting tough on crime sentencing and moving towards rehabilitation and restoration. There has to be a smarter way. It didn’t come out that way, butI don’t believe there is a conscious plan or conspiracy to replace the war on drugs with the war on sex offenders, but the tendancy for the public to create “enemies” out of a certain identifiable groups of people is very much alive, and so is the politicians’ and media’s hunger to capitalize on it. Just read all the stories posted on this site. I don’t see the justice system changing significantly just shifting its targets. It needs a lot more pushing from everyone who find him or herself on the wrong side of it. Cudos to those who fight racism and to those who fight as yet unnamed forms of social discrimination and advocate for systemic change.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x