The Corner

Clemency under Fire

David Muhlhausen from the Heritage Foundation comments on the shooting Sunday in Washington State:

My immediate thoughts are the following. First, part of the fault falls on state politicians who want to be perceived as tough on crime. They pass lengthy criminal sentences to send a message that they are tough on crime. However, many of the offenders will serve only a fraction of their sentences. Parole and good time credits can drastically reduce the time served in prison to a fraction of the original sentence. According to the Seattle Times, Clemmons received two sentences for 48 and 60 years of incarceration. Based on the 60-year sentence, Clemmons served only 11 years (18 percent) before Governor Huckabee granted clemency. Second, Clemmons’s criminal record should have sent alarm bells ringing that this man should not be released on bail in Washington state. Without these breakdowns, the murder of the four police officers could have been prevented.

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