Today the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on proposed legislation to “reform” criminal sentencing by, inter alia, releasing large numbers of felons from federal prisons. The great Heather Mac Donald testified in opposition to the proposed changes. The video below, of her opening statement, is only around six minutes long, but it is an excellent introduction to the topic. Some notable quotes:
Drug enforcement was not the driving factor in the growth of the prison system. Violent crime was and is. Since 1999, violent offenders have accounted for all of the increase in the prison census, and they were the predominant factor before then.
The most dangerous misconception about our criminal justice system is that it is pervaded by racial bias. For decades, criminologists have tried to find evidence for that bias, and they have always come up short. In fact, racial differences in criminal offending account for all of the racial disproportionality of blacks in prison.
Scott and I are very familiar with this issue. Years ago, the Minnesota Supreme Court strained to find racial bias in Minnesota’s criminal system, unsuccessfully. Scott reviewed the raw data on which the court’s dishonest report was based, which demonstrated precisely the opposite proposition, and eviscerated its findings. But the myth, hyped by the establishment–including the ostensibly racist judges themselves!–nevertheless persisted.
It is crime, not incarceration, that squelches freedom and enterprise in urban areas.
Yes, and it was the Black Caucus that demanded harsher penalties for crack cocaine convictions. They were responding to their constituents.
The committee could provide an enormous public service if it could somehow rebut the myth that the criminal justice system is racist.
Amen. Here is Ms. Mac Donald, testifying earlier today:
I suppose the Democrats on the committee must have asked her some questions. That should have provided entertainment value. I haven’t seen video of that examination, but if I do, I will post it here.