Friday, April 3, 2009

Crime Commissions

The major national crime commission of the past several decades was that in 1967, whose report, The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, shaped the government’s response to crime since then, and judging by the results, it was either a very flawed document, inadequately implemented, or based on incorrect assumptions to begin with.

One assumption we know is incorrect is that which assumed the best method of dealing with offenders is through some type of treatment, as noted:

“The Commission’s second objective—the development of a far broader range of alternatives for dealing with offenders—is based on the belief that, while there are some who must be completely segregated from society, there are many instances in which segregation does more harm than good. Furthermore, by concentrating the resources of the police, the courts, and correctional agencies on the smaller number of offenders who really need them, it should be possible to give all offenders more effective treatment.” (p. vii)

Crime is generally the result of an internal decision by an individual knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing the wrong, generally based on the utilitarian perspective congruent with the culture of the world as shaped through the millennia by the prince of the world, as promoted and lived in the United States; a culture too often congruent with that of the criminal world, making the decision to commit crimes often a rewarding—in terms of the world—decision.

A new national crime commission is proposed as this report from the New York Times notes, and one incorrct assumption is already expressed, that three-strikes sentencing is a failure.

An excerpt.

“America’s criminal justice system needs repair. Prisons are overcrowded, sentencing policies are uneven and often unfair, ex-convicts are poorly integrated into society, and the growing problem of gang violence has not received the attention it deserves. For these and other reasons, a bill introduced last week by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, should be given high priority on the Congressional calendar.

“The bill, which has strong bipartisan support, would establish a national commission to review the system from top to bottom. It is long overdue, and should be up and running as soon as possible.

“The United States has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world. More than 1 in 100 adults are now behind bars, for the first time in history. The incarceration rate has been rising faster than the crime rate, driven by harsh sentencing policies like “three strikes and you’re out,” which impose long sentences that are often out of proportion to the seriousness of the offense.”