Democrats Prefer ‘Reforming’ the Criminal-Justice System to Punishing Criminals

From left: activist Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 14, 2020. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
A survey of the candidates’ views on criminal justice

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘W e need to rethink our approach to public safety,” proclaims Elizabeth Warren, “transitioning away from a punitive system.” Given that prisons and jails are nothing if not punitive, it is incumbent on Warren to tell us just how she plans to deal with murderers, rapists, robbers, and other major offenders without punishing them. While you won’t find a good answer to that question, even in Warren’s comprehensive plan for criminal justice, her statement gives us a sense of the position on that issue of the Democratic presidential candidates — or at least most of them.

Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg are not

Barry Latzer is an emeritus professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. His most recent book is The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America. His history of violent crime pre-1940, The Roots of Violent Crime in America: From the Gilded Age through the Great Depression, will be published in 2021.

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