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The real world consequences of releasing felons early


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Paul Mirengoff

July 25, 2020

During the debate over the First Step Act, conservatives favoring lenient treatment for felons liked to point to Texas where, supposedly, enlightened programs were rehabilitating criminals with remarkable success. These “evidence-based” programs were cited to justify shorter sentences for, and the early release of, federal felons who took various courses while incarcerated. The usually sensible Sen. John Cornyn helped lead this charge, as did Heritage Foundation.

No disrespect to Texas, but in fact it has not succeeded where reformers dating back to the time of Jeremy Bentham failed. Properly analyzed, the statistics don’t demonstrate substantial success for its “evidence-based” rehabilitation programs.

Nor will the friends and family of Jenny and Bao Lam be impressed by Texas’ ability to rehabilitate felons. Bill Otis directs our attention to this report:


UPDATE: Here, via Daniel Horowitz, is another appalling example of our under-incarceration problem. It’s from Florida.


Best Comment

John Pinckney 2 hours ago

A cat hunts mice because he is a cat. A criminal does crime because he is a criminal. I do believe in the possibility of redemption but redemption doesn't need to mean you get out of your punishment. One reduces crime by removing criminals from society, it is as simple as that.

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