Newt Gringrich Switch: Now Supports Reducing Prison Population
Newt Gingrich, who in 1994 gave us his Contract on America, which included a draconian ten point crime bill called the Taking Back Our Streets Act is now switching horses, joining the newly founded conservative group Right on Crime, that advocates for prison reform and reducing our reliance on incarceration as a cost-savings measure.
Right on Crime has a spiffy new website. It's a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a research institute in Austin, TX "committed to limited government, free markets, private property rights, individual liberty and personal responsibility."
The Libertarians have often been our allies in the fight to be smart about crime instead of tough on crime. When criminal defense lawyers fought Newt's 1994 Contract, where did we find help lobbying against the provisions that would have applied the good faith exception to warrantless searches and restricted habeas petitions? From the Second Amendment groups. [More...]
In addition to decimating the exclusionary rule by allowing "good faith" to save warrantless searches, Newt Gingrich's 1994 Taking Back Our Streets Act included provisions imposing severe restrictions on habeas corpus petitions; eliminating all drug prevention funding and the establishment of drug courts included the previous year's Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994); mandating restitution for direct and indirect victims of crime, regardless of the offender's ability to pay; restricting prisoner lawsuits; and authorizing $ 10 billion dollars for building more prisons to house violent offenders, while disallowing funds to build alternative correctional facilities.
It seems, like Bob Barr on civil liberties, Newt has left the dark side. Do we welcome him now? Or just hope he can make James Sensenbrenner, the newly appointed Chair of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, see the light?
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