‘Tough-on-crime’ policies are back in some places that had reimagined criminal justice • Daily Montanan

Fueled by public outrage over the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and other high-profile incidents of police violence, a seismic shift swept across the United States shortly afterward, with a wave of initiatives aimed at reining in police powers and reimagining criminal-legal systems.

Yet less than half a decade later, political leaders from coast to coast are embracing a return to “tough-on-crime” policies, often undoing the changes of recent years. This resurgence is most palpable in the nation’s major urban centers, traditionally bastions of progressive politics.

Local and state leaders in blue and red states — including California, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont — also have looked to toughen their approaches to crime and public safety in a variety of ways. Lawmakers have proposed bills that would stiffen retail theft charges, re-criminalize certain hard street drugs, keep more suspects in jail in lieu of bail, and expand police powers. Many are passing with bipartisan support.

Full story: ‘Tough-on-crime’ policies are back in some places that had reimagined criminal justice • Daily Montanan

7 Replies to “‘Tough-on-crime’ policies are back in some places that had reimagined criminal justice • Daily Montanan”

  1. I think that it’s great that California is moving away from prop 47. Allowing people to conduct “Smash and Grabs” with almost no repercussions only opened up a viable criminal market in the state. But in this context, will the people who repeatedly prop 47 to commit theft move on to other areas of crime and continue to overcrowd the criminal justice system or would this actually cut down on strain within courts and corrections?

    1. Removing California’s Proposition 47 is a big step in the right direction toward solving the problems relating to “Smash and Grab” crimes. Although the proposal’s original goal was to decrease the length of prison sentences for specific crimes, by enacting less severe penalties, it unintentionally increased the rate of organized stealing. Going forward, it is imperative to contemplate the possible consequences of nullifying Proposition 47. Reintroducing harsher punishments for theft-related offenses may cause repeat criminals to turn their attention to other crimes, which could ease the burden on the criminal justice system. However, as law enforcement adjusts to new patterns of criminal conduct, this change may also bring out new difficulties. In the end, how successfully California addresses the overpopulation in its courts and prisons will determine how effectively California implements comprehensive strategies to deter and address criminal activities beyond those previously impacted by Proposition 47.

      1. Hi, Stephanie! This was a really well rounded response and gave me a good perspective on the intentions surrounding Prop 47, as well as the ways it falls short in execution. Are there any ideas you have on how California could address this issue? Obviously, we want to keep people out of prison whenever possible, but we can’t be effectively encouraging crime to make that happen.

    2. Hey man I agree with you.The fact that someone can conduct a smash and grab with no repercussions is absolutely insane. I would be sick to my stomach if somebody were to break into my truck and take everything out in a matter of seconds and they get off Scott free.

  2. Does the tough on crime policy pose a risk to both civil rights and overincarceration? The idea behind lowering penalties for crime was to combat both inequality and overincarceration in the United States. In the U.S, there are more people incarcerated than every other nation in the world. That begs the question, do we really need to put people into prison for petty crime. Is stealing $100 worth of merchandise worth thousands to the taxpayer for putting the offender behind bars? Of course, some will take advantage of such regulations, like raising the amount of theft required for a felony charge, but overall, it could be positive towards reforming America.

    1. I agree with your argument I believe stealing under a certain amount should be a misdemeneor. But the punishment shouldn’t just be a fine, the individual who commited the crime should pay restitution fees toward the individual or organization that was stolen from. Businesses that get stolen from potentially lose profit so getting money back for their loss of profit is a good way to keep those businesses running especially if they are small local businesses unlike large companies like apple. Having to pay taxes that equates to millions to house someone in prison for stealing a few hundred dollars sounds like a bad deal. We have already been though a tough on crime era and that did not help mitigate the cost of crime, it only increased it as we had to pay for their housing within prisons.

  3. After the George Floyd murder in 2020, there was a push across the US to reform policing and criminal justice. Political leaders are leaning back towards “tough-on-crime” policies, especially in big cities like San Francisco and DC, where new laws are tightening penalties and empowering police.
    States like California, Georgia, and others are also getting stricter on crime, proposing bills for harsher penalties and less bail.
    A change in public opinion, with more Americans feeling the justice system is too lenient. The debate over crime will continue and it’s battle that could never end.

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