Anyone who still thinks “criminal justice reform” is about leniencies only for first-time, nonviolent offenders, take stock of what yet another liberal prosecutor is contemplating.
Last week, the Lansing City Pulse reported that Ingham County district attorney Carol Siemon “this year plans to begin a formal review of the 90 convicted murderers serving life in prison without parole in Ingham County.”
“While I personally believe there are some people who should be in prison forever, like the Jeffrey Dahmer type of people, I just don’t believe in the death penalty,” Siemon explained. “I think life in prison without parole functions in a similar way, and I think everyone should have an opportunity to be able to get out some day.”
Siemon is part of a growing trend of deep blue cities electing “progressive” prosecutors, often with the help of Soros-funded NGOs, to promote what they call “restorative justice.” Siemon publicly stated what, clearly, most of them privately believe. Their opposition to the death penalty is not born out of some sort of altruistic pro-life view. Keeping murderers alive in prison opens the door to ultimately releasing them, eventually doing away with life sentences the same way they have essentially done away the death penalty as a common practice in almost every state.
“It’s not whether or not they’re innocent,” Siemon said in an interview with City Pulse. “We’re not saying that. But if they committed a homicide 40 years ago, who are they now? And do they deserve another chance? To my knowledge, nobody else is doing this type of thing in the state. It has just been something rolling around in my head.”
No regard for second chances for victims, of course.
This speaks to the big lie about over-incarceration. Most people locked up are in prison for violent crime or have a substantial criminal history. They were already on their second, third, or 40th chance by the time they were put away for many years. That’s built into the system. Most criminals are already under-charged and under-sentenced for their crimes as it is. This is why, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 40 percent of murder convicts serve less than 10 years in prison, while only 30 percent serve more than 20 years. Thus, anyone serving a life sentence deserves it by a mile.
As the City Pulse interview reveals, Siemon already under-convicts criminals relative to what they do. Even the people originally arrested for first-degree crimes, such as murder or robbery, can now plead down to second-degree offenses, which dramatically reduces prison time, even before factoring in all of the early release opportunities. This is why we see every day so many criminals with serious arrests and even convictions who barely served time over the course of a 20-year criminal career.
The effort to release the worst offenders is now a growing trend throughout the country. As I reported, Virginia Democrats are working on legislation to release many murderers and rapists when they turn 50 or 55 and are also working on restoring gun rights to juveniles convicted of murder (while infringing on gun rights of law-abiding citizens.)
Something is wrong when there are only a few people with a voice in public policy speaking out against this. Almost every “conservative” and libertarian organization is now pushing “criminal justice reform,” without defining what it is, other than hiding behind the banal talking point of the need not to over-incarcerate “low-level, first-time offenders.”
However, if they really believe that, why are they not just as passionately opposing the growing successful trend in almost every blue state, and now even red states, to release violent repeat offenders? Why are Koch-funded organizations, such as the Texas Public Policy Foundation, so gun-shy when it comes to calling out those who are seemingly tainting their supposed version of reform? They don’t seem too concerned about the Soros agenda of releasing even violent prisoners. Which raises the question: What exactly is their agenda of “conservative” reform?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.