Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Politics Of Criminal Law: How Greed and Avrice Threaten Freedom

There is a sad story in yesterdays New York Sun (see here.) Earlier in his last term in office NY's Lame Duck Governor, George Pataki proposed a "civil confinement" for sex offenders bill to the Legislature. Civil confinement is a nice way of saying, after you have paid your debt to society, you have to pay more. In other words it's our way of putting you in jail for life while not having to call it that.
Libertarians like myself are truly troubled by the proposal because the opportunity to use "Hospitals" in place of Jails is fraught with the opportunities for abuse and hopelessness.
I do not want to debate the merits and detriments of the concept of "Civil Confinement" other than to say that most criminal lawyers and civil libertarians as well as most Medical Doctors in the psych field do not like the idea. That the experts don't like it has never stopped a politician in search of votes however. '

What I do want to point out is that this is a serious issue that ought to be debated and hearings ought to be held and maybe we should even see if it warrants a change in our state constitution.

Well it doesn't. It seems Pataki has found a way to get what he wants by trading something the legislators want. Pataki will give the legislature a payraise (after 8 years) if they will sign off on a civil commitment bill that will make him look tough on crime in his pursuit of the Presidency.
Money for Freedom... it is unreal the level of sleaze this conjures up.

Look, whether you like the civil confinement idea or you find it to be Orwellian in concept, it shouldn't be decided because one guy needs it to run for president and the other guys need a raise.

Now lest you go around thinking this type of stuff only happens in Albany NY, Think again kiddies. Washington DC has its share of jerks too.

Case in Point:

There was a bill introduced in the House and the Senate to help people not to commit more crime after they are released from prison. The Second Chance bill works by making sure that once their debt to society is paid, Convicts obtain the skills and oppportunities to succeed in the community they are being released into. The feds will encourage that the states participate thru giving entitlements back to the states that work on it.

It was going pretty well in the lame duck congress until one guy in the Senate, Sen. Tom Coburn a Republican from Oklahoma put a senatorial "hold" on the bill effectively killing the legislation for this session.

Coburn was the only Senator to object to the bill. Nevertheless, it went no where and now a lot of people who were hoping they could get the help they need to live productive lives are (often times literarily) left out in the cold. Coburn says that the feds are jumping into a place the states should be. He maybe right, but the majority should rule on this too. They will not get the opportunity however thanks to Coburn.

It is getting late and I am tired, I will retun tomorrow to add some links. Till then good night.

PS for those of you in the Washington DC area there is a new Radio talk show on WMET on you AM Dial: Political Firestorm with Rob Arnold. I don't always agree with him but I can say the show (on Sunday's from 10-11am) is a lot of fun and worth the Listen. As for those tht can't tune in, you can hear the audio streaming, to you by entering

Ok I will fix this up in the morning, till then have a good night
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