A Conservative's View of What Is Wrong with the Criminal Justice System Today
Date:  12-04-2017

Republican Senator Mike Lee pushes to reform "out of date, counterproductive and unfair" system
From The Pew Charitable Trust:

This ongoing, occasional series features interviews with a variety of influential leaders who discuss how they became involved in criminal justice reform, how their views have evolved—sometimes in unexpected ways—and what’s needed to sustain progress.

Mike Lee (R-UT) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. He is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing to reform the federal criminal justice system.

Q: How would you describe your position on prison and criminal justice in the past?

A: Like most lawyers, whether they’re prosecutors or not, I just believed the law was the law. That’s what we were taught, and as prosecutors we were instructed to always follow the law. I didn’t really see faults in our sentencing system until I personally witnessed some applications of the law that were leading to exorbitant sentences. In a just system, the punishment must fit the crime, and there are far too many instances where that isn’t happening in our country. That’s what our sentencing reform efforts in Washington are all about.

Q: What were your early views on the impact of prison on crime?

A: Our country spent a whole generation adopting tough-on-crime policies that helped make communities around the country safer. Incarceration is an important part of punishment within our system, and it will always be necessary. But many of our criminal justice laws are now out of date, counterproductive, and unfair. Laws that once were essential to community safety have become instrumental in community breakdown. Today, we have far too many reformed offenders languishing behind bars, and they and their families and neighborhoods are suffering the consequences. Continue reading >>>