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The New York Times is reporting on a new alliance forming against the Justice Department and criminalization over all in our country. That alliance is the right and left.
Generally the right has always supported the aggressive position of the federal government when it comes to prosecuting crimes, but given numerous cases heading to the Supreme Court over the next few months that involve drugs, corruption and sex, the right is starting to view the government as overreaching their bounds.
So how strong is this alliance becoming? Well Edwin Meese, the Attorney General under Reagan, once called the ACLU the criminal “lobby”. Today he is willing to join forces with the ACLU to stop this abundance of prosecutions. That is an alliance most of us thought we would never see.
Even more interesting is the groups that are joining together. The article points out that groups like the Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute, Federalist Society and the ACLU are all joining forces to fight this onslaught of overcriminalization.
I’m sure most have seen lists or websites highlighting idiotic laws. If not here is a great site. Meese points out some of these laws like “giving a false weather report” and says that our nation is actually prosecuting people for this. What an incredible waste of time and resources. With our Justice Department expending themselves on silly laws like this, it’s no wonder that terrorists and major criminals slip through the system.
Then we get to the issue of prisons:
Some religious groups object to prison policies that appear to ignore the possibility of rehabilitation and redemption, and fiscal conservatives are concerned about the cost of maintaining the world’s largest prison population.
It is no accident that the United States has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world. We have gotten to the point that anyone can be thrown in jail, and once released their options are so slim that they end up becoming repeat offenders. We have no rehabilitation in our prison system and the extremely high number of repeat offenders increases population and costs. Spending more on rehabilitation would decrease costs and make all sides happy.
Seeing a unifying debate like this is a good sign in our split nation. It’s time for America to address the problem of our prison population and ridiculous prosecutions. Hopefully all these diverse groups coming together can do just that – force change in our government. It is a government by the people, and we have people for every corner of our country now screaming for change. It’s also a good time for Jim Webb to start pushing his legislation to redo our criminal system.