December 2007 -- Editor’s note: Last month, Part I of the “Inside the Excuse-Making Industry” explained how, in the 1960s and 1970s, social scientists and activists, supported by taxpayers and major philanthropies, institutionalized the idea of “alternatives to incarceration.” A surge in crime rates followed.

Public outrage then forced policymakers and the judicial system to impose tougher prison terms on felons, and during the past two decades there’s been a dramatic plunge in crime rates. Still, an entrenched anti-incarceration movement continues to lobby for a return to the failed “rehabilitation” model of earlier decades—a reversion to leniency that is now underway, and leading to a new rise in crime rates. Part 2 of this series examines the major players in the anti-incarceration lobby. 

[O]ur drastically increased use of imprisonment has not made society safer. Even worse, there is increasing evidence that it is making society more dangerous. . . . We must turn away from the excessive use of prisons. . . . We will severely damage some of our more cherished humanitarian values, which are corroded by our excessive focus on vindictiveness.
So wrote two leading scholars of the criminal lobby, James Austin and John Irwin, in It’s About Time: Solving America’s Prison Crowding Crisis, published “through a generous grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.” Their 1987 monograph addressed what they considered a major social “crisis”: not crime, but “the prison-crowding crisis.” Its cause: “[T]he United States has embarked on an unprecedented incarceration binge.” Its cure: “[O]nly by shortening prison terms will the prison crowding crisis be solved.”

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency

The Austin-Irwin paper was published by the San Francisco-based National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), which boasts that it is “the oldest criminal justice research organization in America.” Established in 1907, NCCD is proud that it promoted juvenile courts to keep children out of the adult legal system. It also developed model laws and standards for the first probation and parole systems and “programs to rehabilitate offenders without resorting to incarceration.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Ford Foundation, the Mary Babcock Reynolds Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund supported NCCD’s work. With backing from President Lyndon Johnson, NCCD sponsored conferences to rally corporations to its cause. Later, in the 1980s and 1990s, NCCD stood against the rising tide of “get-tough” legal reforms. Sociologist Austin, then NCCD research director, and Irwin, a former convict-turned-criminology-professor, penned many of its anti-incarceration papers.
"Our cherished humanitarian values are corroded by our excessive focus on vindictiveness." --James Austin and John Irwin
Their outlook was decidedly leftist. For example, in a book chapter titled “The Imprisonment Binge,” Irwin quoted and agreed with a writer’s claim “that rulers have used imprisonment. . . to promote a self-serving political economy, to control the surplus population or the ‘dangerous classes,’ and to introduce a form of discipline consistent with the new capitalist mode of production—the factory.” Among the “‘unofficial’ purposes” used by those “shaping society’s penal strategies,” Irwin added, “The first is class control.”
This tacitly Marxist framework has colored NCCD’s research. For example, the U.S. Justice Department hired NCCD to study what happened to 21,000 Illinois inmates granted early release from prison from 1980 to1983. Austin summarized the findings in the journal Crime & Delinquency (1986). Note how he minimizes the uncomfortable fact that serious crimes increased under the early release program:
[E]arly release substantially accelerated the amount of crime suffered by the public, but contributed to less than 1% of all crimes reported in Illinois. The state crime rate actually declined while early release was operating. Considerable prison costs were averted by the program, although a substantial portion of these savings were eliminated after the volume and amount of economic losses experienced by the victims of early release crimes were accounted for. However, overall early release proved to be cost-effective” [emphasis added].
“Cost-effective”? Buried in Table 31 of his article we learn that the premature inmate release in Illinois led directly to 23 homicides, 32 rapes, 681 robberies, 2,571 assaults, 262 arsons, and 2,472 burglaries. But Austin dismissed the “cost” of this carnage, concluding “that early release had minimal impact on the more severe crimes reported by the public to police.” Evading the bloodshed caused by turn-’em-loose policies, the following year, in It’s About Time, he and Irwin brazenly claimed, “The majority of people sentenced to prison are not career or ‘dangerous’ criminals but are offenders who can have their prison terms reduced without endangering public safety.”
In their battle to empty prison cells, Excuse-Makers like Austin and Irwin regard 6,041 criminal victims as acceptable losses.
NCCD “research” always reinforces ideologically preordained conclusions. Consider its highly influential 1991 paper Unlocking Juvenile Corrections: Evaluating the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. Once again “supported by a generous grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation,” this NCCD report touted the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) and its “alternative strategy for dealing with serious juvenile offenders.” Then-DYS director Dr. Jerome G. Miller, a psychiatric social worker, initiated the strategy in the 1970s. Under his guidance, Massachusetts closed down reform schools and diverted most young criminals into “a wide range of community-based alternatives, including group homes, forestry programs, day treatment” and the like.
NCCD’s glowing, idealized portrait of Miller’s liberal strategy clashed with earlier conclusions reached by Harvard researchers. The latter compared youths released from DYS programs in 1974 with another group that, in 1968, had left the older reform schools. As NCCD admitted, the Harvard researchers found that recidivism rates (relapse into crime) for those released from Miller’s “‘progressive community-based programs’ were higherthan for the youth who had been ‘warehoused’ in the training school sample (74 percent vs. 66 percent).” But once again, NCCD simply dismissed this embarrassing finding, rationalizing that Miller’s community-based programs simply were not “properly implemented.”
To make Miller’s rehabilitation scheme appear superior, NCCD cooked the books. One example: It declared that DYS reforms didn’t create “an excessive crime problem” because “in 1985 Massachusetts ranked 46th in juvenile crime rate among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.” Impressive—unless you bother to check the footnote, which few readers would. There, you would discover that NCCD wasn’t really comparing state juvenile crime rates, but juvenile arrest rates. Now, a state can have a soaring crime rate but a very low arrest rate: All it has to do is fail to apprehend very many juvenile thugs. So, the low arrest statistics in Massachusetts cited by NCCD prove nothing about the actual level of juvenile crime there, and thus the supposedly salutary impact of the DYS “reforms.”
But these kinds of bait-and-switch figures can be used to impress state governors, legislators, and policy planners—which, of course, is NCCD’s goal. With additional McConnell Clark funding, NCCD later produced and circulated a half-hour documentary promoting the DYS “model” of community-based alternatives, “an educational tool for prospective employers, the legislature, the judiciary, the press and the public.”
As noted previously, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation no longer funds criminal justice initiatives. But the likes of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund picked up the slack. In addition, a whole lot of NCCD’s money has come from taxpayers. In the fiscal year ending June 2006, for example, over $4.5 million of its $8 million in total revenues came from government grants. One program summary states: “NCCD has emphasized working with state and county agencies to link research results to policy development and to translate policy into actual practice.” Among its many efforts, “The Council has also promulgated model legislation for juvenile and family courts, criminal sentencing and probation and parole. These model acts were partially adopted by virtually every state.”
Under its long-time president, sociologist Dr. Barry Krisberg, NCCD does a great deal of contract work for criminal justice agencies. This typically involves providing technical assistance and research—caseload tracking, statistical projections, offender classification, and “risk assessment” systems. All this may seem innocuous enough; but NCCD’s research is premised on—and invariably promotes—leftist notions of criminal justice “reform.”
“The majority of people sentenced to prison are not career or ‘dangerous’ criminals.”
Bias pervades even NCCD’s technical “risk assessment” models. NCCD gives prison officials systems to classify inmates by the security risks they pose. Reporting to the U. S. Attorney General about problems at an Ohio prison, reviewers of NCCD’s classification system complained that it placed “too much emphasis on an inmate’s very recent adjustment behind the walls, and not enough on his history in the community.” They found that the NCCD model systematically minimized a prisoner’s actual criminal behavior, ignored all outstanding charges pending against him and considered only crimes he had committed during the previous ten years. The reviewers concluded that NCCD’s classification system was “more lenient” than that of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which “holds inmates more accountable for their actions” because it “measures the inmate’s actual offense behavior” [emphasis in the original].
None of this disqualified NCCD from conducting national studies for federal agencies. NCCD held research contracts with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the National Institute of Corrections, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
For example, in a report titled Reforming Juvenile Justice Through Comprehensive Community Planning, NCCD explained how the federal OJJDP, with support from Bill Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno, hired the group to create a “comprehensive strategy for serious, violent and chronic juvenile offenders.” In the report, NCCD boasted that it helped to spread “the principles of the Comprehensive Strategy”—which lean heavily on alternatives to incarceration—to community agencies all over the nation “despite the fact that ‘get tough’ policies were sweeping legislative forums.”
Those “get tough” policies reflected the will of taxpayers and voters. Ironically, however, taxpayers and voters have unknowingly paid NCCD to thwart their preferences.
 

National Center on Institutions and Alternatives

Meanwhile, Dr. Jerome Miller—lionized by NCCD and McConnell Clark for his “reforms” at the Massachusetts DYS—left that agency in 1977 to start his own anti-incarceration group: the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA).
NCIA has an even larger appetite than NCCD for taxpayers’ money. For example, in its fiscal year ending June 2004, NCIA took in $19.6 million, with a whopping $17.5 million coming from government grants. That cash flow (including occasional funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Soros’s Open Society Institute) supports a staff somewhere north of 500 employees, operating from headquarters in Baltimore, with a host of offices and facilities in Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
Psychiatric social worker Miller co-founded NCIA with Herb J. Hoelter, who also has a master’s degree in social work. The 501(c)(3) charitable organization reflects their commitment to a therapeutic approach to criminals. Its mission “is to help create a society in which all persons who come into contact with human service or correctional systems are provided are provided with the care necessary to live their lives to the best of their abilities.” NCIA claims “a national reputation as an opponent of institutionalization and as an advocate of community programming in adult and juvenile corrections.” Its “model of client service has been characterized as ‘unconditional care,’ meaning that we provide the client with needed supports and services—regardless of his/her diagnosis and history.”
NCIA’s focus is on the national reform of criminal sentences. Its website reports it “has provided criminal justice services to defense attorneys, defendants, inmates, and court systems throughout the country.” Led by Hoelter, a sentencing expert, the group helps defendants prepare pre-sentencing reports that push for “creative public service” rather than incarceration—“substance abuse counseling, work-release, home confinement, and community confinement.” If incarceration can’t be avoided, NCIA helps “with designation to and placement in the least restrictive facility available.” According to the Washington Post, Hoelter himself specializes in winning “downward departures” in sentences for rich white-collar criminals, such as Wall Street figure Ivan Boesky and former Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Berry.
NCIA’s services don’t stop at the prison wall: It helps inmates by “developing strategies that will increase their likelihood of obtaining parole release.” It prepares an impressive-looking post-release plan for each criminal “client,” and frequently “NCIA staff attend the parole board hearing in further support of the release report.” Predictably, the group opposes capital punishment: “In cases in which defendants face a potential death sentence, NCIA’s death penalty mitigation staff works with their defense attorneys to present arguments for mitigation.”
NCIA has maintained dozens of residences for its “clients”; residential treatment and outpatient centers for mental patients, drug addicts, and sex offenders; a school and a vocational center; a jail suicide prevention program; and the Augustus Institute—“a nationally recognized clinical program for the assessment and treatment of sexual disorders, compulsions and traumas,” with Miller as its clinical director. For its sex offender clientele, the Institute “can provide evaluation reports and alternative sentencing recommendations, as well as expert testimony in state and federal courts.” NCIA boasts it has given such “unconditional care” to “more than 10,000 clients in all 50 states.”
Beyond that, NCIA spreads its gospel through publications and the media. It networks with other groups on behalf of “sentencing reforms,” has developed sentencing programs in fifteen states, “and trained thousands of public defenders, probation officers, and other court staff.” It opposes community notification of the presence of convicted sex offenders. It has even published proposals urging city leaders to “demand a racial impact statement of every change in justice policy.”
‘Do the crime, do the time’ is the ideology of the militant ignoramus.” --Jerome Miller
Jerome Miller’s personal style of advocacy matches his political objective: to take no prisoners. (I can attest to this first-hand, having once debated him on a national cable program.) Miller wrote a piece for Medicine and Law titled “On Mitigating Professional Arrogance in the Treatment of Sex Offenders,” a scathing attack on supporters of punishing sex criminals. “The malady of contemporary society,” he wrote, is that we are “fast becoming a culture of ‘moralists and busybodies.’” Miller denounced “the false premises of the criminal justice system—that there must always be a villain to be identified and punished, and upon whom we can heap contempt and opprobrium, thereby redeeming ourselves and saving the victim.” He also decried mandatory minimum sentences: “The approach is that of the meat axe. ‘Do the crime, do the time.’ It’s a great slogan for a politician on the make, but sadly, it is the ideology of the militant ignoramus.”
Miller devoted three paragraphs to my October 1999 Reader’s Digest report, “Freed to Rape Again,” and attacking the experts I cited. In his view, the objectives of law enforcement and of sex offender therapy are at odds. Therapists, he warns, are in danger of becoming “ersatz agents of law enforcement”—to him, a “Faustian bargain.” Miller warned fellow therapists that “those who would help offenders should not trust too easy alliances with the criminal justice system.”
To say that Excuse-Makers like Miller prefer criminals to those hired to fight them is no unfair exaggeration.

The Sentencing Project

In fiscal year 2005, the Washington, D. C.-based Sentencing Project reported only $537,723 in income. But few members of the Excuse-Making Industry can claim greater “bang for the buck.”
Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project sprouted from pilot programs developed in the early 1980s by Malcolm C. Young (later its executive director) for the NCCD and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. The 501(c)(3) has a clear mission about which it is unapologetic: “To support the development of alternatives to incarceration and criminal justice reform through technical assistance, training and public education.”
The Project’s leaders, including executive director Marc Mauer, have been media fixtures, ever promoting studies “highlighting inequities in the criminal justice system.” The titles of their works reveal their perspective: Disenfranchising Felons Hurts Entire Communities; Racial Disparity in Sentencing; New Incarceration Figures: Rising Population Despite Falling Crime Rates;and Mauer’s book Race to Incarcerate.
Many of the clichés parroted by the press about America’s “excessive punitivity” can be traced back to The Sentencing Project. For instance, there is the “fact” that U. S. incarceration rates exceed those of almost any other nation, including Russia, Cuba, and Belarus. Journalists who recycle stories criticizing “over-incarceration” almost always use Sentencing Project reports as their primary sources.
The aim of their activity is clear: to empty prison cells.
Like its competitors for federal and foundation grant dollars, the Project provides “technical assistance” to government agencies, especially “strategies and programs to alleviate jail and prison overcrowding.” It claims to have helped set up alternative sentencing programs in over twenty-two states and consulted with them on juvenile detention, racial disparity and the trial of juveniles in adult court.
The Project also has incubated a spin-off group called the National Association of Sentencing Advocates (NASA). What are “sentencing advocates”? Apparently, they are legal professionals united “for defense-based sentencing advocacy.” NASA credits NCIA’s Jerome Miller as a pioneer in “Client Specific Planning”—a concept whose aim is “an increase in the use of alternatives, reducing the reliance on jail and prison.” According to NASA, during the 1980s “sentencing advocacy grew as a profession with support from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation through grants to NCIA and predecessor offices of The Sentencing Project, under the direction of Malcolm Young.” The states of Connecticut, New Mexico, and North Carolina have funded such programs under Sentencing Project guidance.
The group’s money comes from the usual suspects. In 2002, the Open Society Institute gave $237,768 for general support; in 2003 OSI donated $100,000 more; and in 2004 it added a three-year $600,000 grant. In recent years, cash from the MacArthur Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, and individual donors also provided general support and funded the NASA spin-off. The Annie E. Casey Foundation gave grants for “juvenile detention alternatives,” while the Ford Foundation and the Tides Foundation ponied up six-figure amounts “for work in felony disenfranchisement”—i. e., restoring voting rights to convicted felons. The Public Welfare Foundation and the Norman Foundation chipped in for local “bail and sentencing advocacy” programs in Georgia, to serve “as national models.”
Unwary taxpayers also have been tapped for support. The Sentencing Project reported receiving $128,085 in government grants in 2000 and $175,000 in 2001. The group’s 2002 Form 990 reports that the Bureau of Justice Assistance had previously provided $13,733 to study “juveniles prosecuted as adults” and $68,704 “to reduce racial disparity throughout the system and to improve sentencing advocacy through training and education, conducted by the National Association of Sentencing Advocates.”
The aim of this activity is clear: to empty prison cells. “While the positive effects of increased incarceration are limited, the harms are clear,” Mauer and a colleague wrote in 2000. “After nearly a decade of declining crime rates and a healthy economy, there is no more appropriate time to reconsider such a change of direction.” Their top three recommendations: “Moratorium on Prison Construction. . . Repeal Mandatory Sentencing. . . Diversion of Non-Violent Offenders.”

The JFA Institute

So lucrative has the anti-incarceration business become that some NCCD staff jumped ship to become competitors. In 2003, NCCD’s James Austin founded his own 501(c)(3) nonprofit research group, The JFA Institute (his initials) in Washington, D.C. It claims “key support” from the JEHT Foundation and George Soros’s Open Society Institute, as well as from government agencies. Austin’s old NCCD colleague, John Irwin—former prisoner, professor, and prolific author of neo-Marxist anti-prison books—is chairman of the board.
Austin and his staff now soft-pedal their rabid anti-incarceration views in order to gain influence in the corridors of power. They’ve written a host of reports published by the National Institute of Corrections on inmate risk assessments and classifications. More ominously, JFA now manages the Corrections Options Technical Assistance (COTA) program funded by the U. S. Justice Department. According to JFA’s web site, COTA provides “long-term technical assistance to help [states] analyze their current sentencing and release practices, their methods of supervising prisoners in the community under parole or probation supervision, and evaluate the long-term effects of alternatives to traditional incarceration in terms of costs and public safety.”
Through the COTA program, JFA has worked with Florida, Kansas, Nevada, Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Alaska, Michigan, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Many of these state projects were “to design and implement cost-effective methods for reducing the number of parole and probation violators being returned to prison for non-criminal behavior.” In other words: Convicted criminals who violate the terms of their releases should still be left out on the streets.
According to its website, much of JFA’s work centers on classifying inmates according to “risk assessments” of their likelihood of re-offending: “The JFA Institute has developed the parole guideline systems in Texas, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, and Louisiana with similar systems being developed in Vermont, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. Additionally, the Institute has implemented classification systems for juvenile and adult custody in over 30 local and state correctional systems.”
Austin also appears to be making an effort to market his anti-prison views to fiscal conservatives. A 2004 report he coauthored is titled The Diminishing Returns of Increased Incarceration: A Blueprint to Improve Public Safety and Reduce Costs.
 

Vera Institute of Justice

One anti-prison nonprofit has thrived by cultivating a less overtly ideological, more technocratic image. The low-key, non-confrontational approach of the Vera Institute of Justice generated revenues of $15 million in 2004-2005. Government grants provided $3 million of the total.
The group took root four decades ago when philanthropist Louis Schweitzer and magazine editor Herb Sturz launched a demonstration bail reform project in New York City. Vera was born with a jumpstart grant from the Ford Foundation in 1966.
According to published statements, Vera specializes in “developing unexpected yet practical and affordable solutions” for local criminal justice agencies, “making justice systems more fair, humane, and efficient for everyone.” It runs or has spun off over two dozen separate projects, and also supplies research and technical assistance.
Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections sends teams of “associates” to help state officials and legislators “assess their needs and develop strategies for advancing reform.” “Reform” invariably incorporates incarceration alternatives.
“Crime rates are inching up again in many parts of the United States after falling for many years,” its website notes. “In Reconsidering Incarceration, a new publication from the Center on Sentencing and Corrections, Don Stemen examines the current research on the effectiveness of incarceration in reducing crime rates and suggests that policymakers consider investing in areas such as policing or education, which show equal or better correlation with lower rates of crime.” Elsewhere, Vera has claimed its research shows that participants in its programs “are no more likely to be convicted of new crimes than a comparison group, despite the greater time they spend free in the community. Serious offenders, then, can be sent to rigorous community programs rather than jail without an increased risk to the public” [emphasis added].
Taxpayers will be interested to learn that Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections has been supported over the years by funding from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance as well as state government agencies in Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah. One federal grant to Vera ($37,942 in 2002, $68,567 in 2003), from the National Institute for Justice (NIJ), bore the intriguing title “Shaping Community Opinions.”
Vera is thoroughly plugged into the Excuse-Making Industry. Vera promotes the sort of “sentencing guidelines” pioneered by Kenneth Schoen (see Part I), which generate “reduced overall rates of incarceration as well as new admissions to prison.” One NIJ grant allowed the group to survey state sentencing and prison policies and how they impact “escalating system costs and prison crowding.” A researcher on this project, Andres Rengifo, has been an assistant to veteran anti-incarceration scholar Todd Clear (see Part I). Over the years, Vera’s website has linked to the ACLU, the NCIA, the Sentencing Project’s NASA offshoot, and the inmate-published Prison Legal News.
Vera also runs programs to reintegrate inmates back into society; major seed funding came from the Soros-funded Open Society Institute. Other large private backers have included the familiar names: the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation ($3.8 million), the Ford Foundation ($5.7 million), and the Annie E. Casey Foundation ($359,000).

Justice Policy Institute

A small, relative newcomer to the anti-incarceration scene, the Justice Policy Institute is of interest because it is a product of cross-pollination by virtually the entire Excuse-Making Industry.
Founded in 1996 as a project of the left-wing Tides Center, JPI has benefited from generous funding by the Open Society Institute as well as the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Its founder, Vincent Schiraldi, was a veteran of Jerome Miller’s NCIA. Its current executive director and co-founder, Jason Ziedenberg, won two “media advocacy awards” from the NCCD. Eric Lotke, once JPI’s director of policy and research, is a former Soros Senior Justice Fellow and senior policy analyst at the Open Society Institute. Another staffer who was “partnering” with JPI was Samuel A. Epps IV, a “community fellow” of the Open Society Institute (Baltimore). The group received editorial guidance for one of its books from James Austin of The JFA Institute.
Where the Vera Institute hides its ideology, JPI flaunts it. The nonprofit has openly declared that it is a “progressive voice” that is “dedicated to ending society’s reliance on incarceration.” It generates the usual spate of policy studies, such as Racial Divide: California’s 3 Strikes Law, America’s One Million Nonviolent Prisoners, Too Much Spent on Jails Instead of Schools,and Cellblocks or Classrooms? Like The Sentencing Project, it is widely cited in the major media, works at “organizing natural constituencies into power voices for reform,” and provides “technical assistance and program development for jurisdictions and communities seeking to reduce the overuse of incarceration.”

Confronting the Excuse-Makers

This survey has just skimmed the surface of the criminal lobby. I’ve focused on lesser-known, more ideological groups, but many more high-profile organizations could be cited—from the ACLU to the American Bar Association and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
Thanks to heavy funding by liberal philanthropies and unwary taxpayers, this ideologically motivated network maintains an iron grip on the criminal justice system, governing its philosophy, determining its agenda, directing its policies and programs. Freeing the legal system from its grip will require a fundamental revolution in criminal justice thinking.
To defeat the Excuse-Makers will require a revolution in philosophical thinking about personal responsibility and the meaning of justice.
Ultimately, to defeat the Excuse-Makers will require a revolution in philosophical thinking about personal responsibility and the meaning of justice. The deterministic premises upon which the Excuse-Making Industry stands repudiate the view that individuals are free to choose their actions and thus to shape the circumstances of their lives. Rather, Excuse-Makers view criminals as prisoners—prisoners of circumstances beyond their control.
This determinism leads inevitably to a warped conception of justice. Rather than hold the felon accountable for his bloody deeds, we must instead focus on changing the cruel circumstances and “forces” that “drove” him, like an automaton, to commit them. And meanwhile, we must treat this hapless “victim” of those with love and kindness, with mercy and therapy, with training and social-service programs.
That is the thinking, you may recall, that delivered little Polly Klaas to sadistic killer Richard Allen Davis—and that has delivered countless thousands of other crime victims to countless thousands of other social predators.
The philosophical battle to reclaim the idea of personal responsibility and the ideal of justice will be long and hard, and it must be fought in intellectual arenas. But a first, practical step is necessary—and it can be accomplished in the political arena.
It is to free the taxpaying victims of crime from the burden of supporting the advocacy groups trying to keep monsters like Richard Allen Davis on the streets.
Cutting off all governmental support for the Excuse-Making Industry is the least that a crime-weary public can expect. And it is a good place to begin the fight to restore to our criminal justice system the real meaning of justice
 

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