The Case For Parole
The conservative argument against parole -- that it somehow cheats the public by permitting offenders to escape the full weight of a sentence -- underappreciates the leveling force that a parole authority exerts against disparate sentences. Conservative politicians say they value uniformity in sentencing, but they prefer to limit sentencing discretion by narrowing the range of sentences that judges may impose or by requiring minimum sentences. That philosophy has prevailed in Congress and in most state legislatures for a quarter century, but it has ratcheted up the time that offenders serve while doing little to eliminate disparate sentencing.
The sentencing philosophy of conservative politicians holds that rehabilitation is inachievable, that good conduct in prison deserves no reward, and that punishment and public protection are the only legitimate goals of incarceration. That policy leads to draconian sentences and increasingly fills prisons with elderly, nonthreating individuals who will die behind bars.
As today's must read article demonstrates, the elimination of parole for life sentences -- the proliferation of "life means life" laws -- has turned prisons into nursing homes and elder care centers.
|< I want to know why....? | A Crucial Time Period in PlameGate >|