I’m not soft on crime which became popular with the McGovern wing of the Democratic Party. When they came of age in the 1960s and early 70s. Actions have consequences and so forth and when we hurt innocent people intentionally and otherwise. There are consequences that must be paid so people know not to do that even if the offender never learns their lesson. This might sound Conservative or old-fashioned but it’s not it’s just plain commonsense. The question is what consequences should come with what crimes. And you can be dumb on crime by being too soft but you also can be dumb on crime by being too tough. So what you should so instead is have the sanctions fit the crimes so they are justified. So you wouldn’t give a known rapist who enjoys raping women and girls community service. With no time served in jail or prison. You would give them a real prison sentence and get them the help that they need. So they do not rape women again if they are released from prison. But you also do not send a shoplifter away for life in prison or long prison sentences who are petty thieves to maximum security prison. Again the sanction should fit the crime.
To use kids as an example, your kid spills his milk. You do not slap them in the head for that. What you do is tell them to be more careful next time and to cleanup their mess. Your kid beats up their little brother and just attacks them for no good reason. You don’t tell them to stop and not do it again and leave it that. You ground them or take away some of their privileges or something. Anger-management that sorta thing so they do not attack their brother again in the future. If these same principles were applied to our criminal justice system. We wouldn’t have two million or more people in the criminal justice system in the United States. Because drug-offenders and other nonviolent-offenders who aren’t real threats to society if threats at all. Perhaps just petty thieves wouldn’t be in prison or they would be in minimum-security learning a trade so they can make a good living. Legitimately and not have to steal to survive.
The whole tough on crime approach from the 1980s and 1990s would’ve been a good idea. If it was just applied to real criminals especially violent-criminals. Organize-criminals, mobsters, gang-bangers to use as examples. But it became a dumb on crime approach when it was applied to everyone especially in the War on Drugs and how we treat other nonviolent-offenders. And we’ve been paying a heavy price for it as tax-payers ever since.