U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a new policy ordering federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges against crime suspects in all cases.
Who can argue with that? Shouldn't we pursue the biggest possible punishments against criminals?
Well, not really. And here's why.
When prosecutors are forced to make their charges as serious as possible, convictions become harder to win since the burden of proof is set that much higher. That means more bad guys receiving "not guilty" verdicts when, in fact, they may be guilty as sin.
And since such a policy also mandates more and longer prison sentences when convictions are won, our already-critical problem of prison overcrowding just gets worse.
And one other thing: Notwithstanding Gilbert Corsey's recent story on juvenile recidivism, studies have shown that first-time adult offenders who are put into prison are more likely to break the law again in the future than those who were kept out of the prison system the first time around.
I'm not saying we should go easier on crime, but to get smarter about crime. We should train our big judicial guns on the cases that require such heavy ammunition, but still leave room for prosecutors to exercise their judgment.
That seems like a sensible approach to me, but call and tell us what you think.
I'm Bill Lamb and that's my Point of View.
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