Monday, December 29, 2008

Southside Political Round-up

Reader Doug on my post, Goode Reflects:
I just went back and read the Goode interview. Thanks for pointing it out- I'd missed it somehow. Other than the things you pointed out, the other thing that was very interesting to me was the "laundry list" of things he'd do different in the campaign if he could go back. I'm sure I know what some of them are. I'd love to hear what Virgil thinks they are, though. I would hope that his #1 would be to tone down the negativity and false ad hominem attacks. It made the incumbent, who was up 34 points, look desperate and frantic.
Well said. I guess I somehow overlooked that part, because I was stunned by some of Goode's comments.

The biggest factor in this upcoming gubernatorial contest: Terry McAuliffe's fundraising prowess. He believes he can raise $80 million. Freakin' amazing. Unfortunately, money does matter in politics, but the Democratic base is skeptical of McAuliffe; can that money translate into activist enthusiasm?

Sen. Jim Webb is planning on introducing legislation to help create prison reform:
... Webb describes a U.S. prison system that is deeply flawed in how it targets, punishes and releases those identified as criminals.

With 2.3 million people behind bars, the United States has imprisoned a higher percentage of its population than any other nation, according to the Pew Center on the States and other groups. Although the United States has only 5 percent of the world's population, it has 25 percent of its prison population, Webb says.


Darren Staley said...

As you know Drew, so long as I pass MTH 101 this spring, I will have a B.S. in Criminal Justice from St. John's University. I have already applied for the M.S. program in Criminal Justice at Michigan State.

Normally I do not preface a post with my resume, but I want it to be known that what I am about to say is a very educated opinion.

The Criminal Justice system in this country is in horrible shape. We need to get out of the more bars/more guards mentality. We need drug treatment programs, we need educational and basic skills programs. We need better transition programs. We need a better system for dealing with juvenile offenders.

All of this is well known and backed up by solid data too much to cover here. There is only one reason the data is never acted upon: politics.

Being labeled as soft on crime is the local equivelent of being pro-terrorism. If so-called entitlements are the third rail of politics, criminology is the fourth.

Putting Webb on this issue has the potential to be huge. Nobody has ever accused Webb of being soft on anything. Let's just hope that he doesn't value that tough persona more than results. I don't think he does.

One more thing. When the economy tanks, crime goes up. You don't have to be a Criminologist to know that. It's simple supply and demand Economics.

This makes Webb's task doubly hard. He will be implementing programs at a time when crime would naturally be on the rise regardless. It would be easy for the other side to blame the programs.

But in the long run, it is cheaper to treat and employ people than it is to incarcerate them. Period.

Drew said...

excellent comment. And when Webb puts his mind to something, shit gets done. Webb did more in 18 months for veterans than Congress did in 20 years (GI Bill). He's the kind of guy I want spearheading something like this.

Anonymous said...

The untold story here is the degree to which the "tough on crime" prison building orgy of the 1980s and 90s has come back to bite us in the ass. What the politicians either neglected to plan for or purposely ignored is that, once built, prisons become fixed costs in perpetuity. That was fine when state treasuries were flush with cash in the 90s, but in hard times, the prison-industrial complex is a serious drain on state resources. So, we end up cutting education, transportation, and infrastructural spending to pay for the prisoners' three hots and a cot.