The decriminalization delusion

Heather Mac Donald has made herself the most valuable player supporting law enforcement in the teeth of the generation-long movement against it originating in the American Civil Liberties Union. The movement has now culminated in Black Lives Matter and embedded itself inside the Obama administration. Celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, City Journal has just published Heather’s powerful new essay on the subject under the title “The decriminalization delusion.” I asked City Journal editor Brian Anderson for a brief introduction that might persuade readers to click on the link. Brian writes:

In “The Decriminalization Delusion,” her deeply researched essay in our brand-new twenty-fifth anniversary issue, Heather Mac Donald shows how the growing movement to reduce incarceration (which has partisans on the right as well as the left) traffics in myths. The biggest myth of all, frequently promoted by President Obama, is that America’s prisons and jails are filled with nonviolent drug users, kids who’ve just had a bad break or two. The reality is that prisons are dominated by thugs and serial thieves, as she noted as well in last week’s Congressional testimony. If they’re returned in large numbers to city streets, crime is sure to rise—and we’re already seeing signs of it happening in California. This is the latest of Mac Donald’s major essays on crime and punishment, which will be anthologized in a book in 2016.

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