Webb and prison reform

Glenn Greenwald has a very good piece on the obstacles Jim Webb will face in trying to reform the present (lucrative) prison system.  The internal links here are well worth viewing.

It’s hard to overstate how politically thankless, and risky, is Webb’s pursuit of this issue — both in general and particularly for Webb.  Though there has been some evolution of public opinion on some drug policy issues, there is virtually no meaningful organized constituency for prison reform.  To the contrary, leaving oneself vulnerable to accusations of being “soft on crime” has, for decades, been one of the most toxic vulnerabilities a politician can suffer (ask Michael Dukakis).  Moreover, the privatized Prison State is abooming and highly profitable industry, with an army of lobbyists, donations, and other well-funded weapons for targeting candidates who threaten its interests.

More here/


2 responses to “Webb and prison reform

  1. I don’t believe Jim Webb is soft on crime, we just let the wrong kind of people walk our streets. ie; child molestors, murders, “cop killers” and we lock up men& women for first time non-violent drug charges. I believe he can fix this problem.

    • Hi Nikki
      No, I don’t think Webb will be soft on crime either. Personal-use drug charges are, I agree, a particularly egregious mis-use of our legal and prison systems. The history of drug legislation is commonly tied to race and anti-immigrant issues and in our recent period, to a reactionary social conservatism. And even more recently, the privatization of the prison industry (making it a for profit enterprise) has led to powerful lobbying which pushes against decriminalization and non-incarceration penalties for drug use because that will hurt the Prison Inc(so to speak) bottom line.
      Thanks for your comment.

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