A Conservative Seeking a Better Federal Prison System

Politics, State & National

A conservative seeking a better federal prison system

WASHINGTON—This op ed about Rep. Doug Collins’s (R-Ga.) Prison Reform and Redemption Act appeared in the Washington Examiner on October 11, 2017.

Only a government program can fail a third of the time and still be allowed to operate without accountability or change.

Sound preposterous? It shouldn’t. This kind of monumental failure has plagued taxpayers for years in the form of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons.

The federal prison system is responsible for 187,186 inmates. Of those currently incarcerated, 95 percent will ultimately be released back into our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons does little to help offenders prepare to be better neighbors. The latest statistics show that nearly one-third of all ex-offenders will be convicted of another crime within eight years of release. Ultimately, the Bureau of Prisons fails in its mission to successfully rehabilitate those who run afoul of the law.

Recidivism creates new crimes and new victims, underlining the dire need for prison reform. When people re-offend, taxpayers are yet again saddled with the costs to try, convict and house these offenders. Victims suffer financial and/or personal losses. When you take into consideration the whopping $32,000 annual cost to incarcerate a prisoner, it’s clear that recidivism needs addressing.

For some, it’s easy to misdiagnose our criminal justice system as too lenient and assume we need to lock people up even longer. Facts, however, can be pesky things, and they happen to disprove this theory.

America boasts 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Out of all industrialized nations, we are the number one jailer of our own people. In 1988, the average sentence was 18 months. By 2012, that rate had doubled to almost 36 months. It’s clear that doling out more prison time is not the answer.

Study after study points to three key factors involved in keeping people from returning to prison: mental health and drug counseling; education and job training; and employment opportunities. Providing this type of programming is far less expensive than the financial ramifications of recidivism.

A number of states, including Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Louisiana, have implemented anti-recidivism programming for inmates and enacted other “smart on crime” reforms. Texas was the first state to do so a decade ago and the results were unassailable. In 2007, the Lone Star State reformed its criminal justice system to reduce sentences for nonviolent crimes and rely more heavily on probation and parole. A portion of the costs saved were invested in anti-recidivism programming, victim assistance, drug treatment and increased funding focused on taking violent criminals off the streets.

The results were impressive: Texas soon cut its prison population by 19 percent. With fewer prisoners in the system, the state closed eight prisons, saving more than $2 billion. Crime rates dropped by 29 percent and the prisoner return rate dropped by 14 percent. By taking similar steps, the federal government could see some of the same benefits.

Unfortunately, not many members of Congress are willing to stand up against the status quo. Even fewer Republicans are willing to take on the prison-industrial complex in order to seek out real changes that cut costs, improve public safety and keep families together. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., however, rightly decided this is a battle worth fighting.

Earlier in the year, Collins introduced the Prison Reform and Redemption Act to create a system of risk assessments to determine what types of programming will work best to keep offenders from returning, including addiction treatment, education, and parenting classes. Individualized determinations can make a monumental difference when it comes to effective corrections programming — especially programming that saves money and keeps nonviolent criminals out of the prison system. If enacted, Collins’ bill will cut spending and make our communities safer. Simply put, it’s a common-sense solution to a costly problem that continues to plague state institutions and American taxpayers.

The Prison Reform and Redemption Act is opening eyes in Washington. Conservatives across Capitol Hill are applauding the initiative and joining Collins to push the legislation to the president’s desk.

Collins’ 90 percent lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union shows that he is a strong conservative in Congress. His introduction of the Prison Reform and Redemption Act makes clear that he intends to get results. And that is something everyone can support.

Changing the Toxic Environment of Fox News


All the major media outlets are abuzz over Fox’s recent release of Bill O’Reilly and what is being called the toxic environment of the network. You would think the toxicity would be sexual harassment considering the accusations towards Roger Ailes and recently Bill O’Reilly. Not that we don’t think that the accusations about O’Reilly and Ailes could be true, and yes Fox has had to pay out millions of dollars to settle several lawsuits. However that is not the toxic environment that James and Lachlan Murdoch are genuinely trying to change at Fox News. Fox News has been known over the last 20 years as the conservative media alternative to CNN and MSNBC.

Before turning the power over to his two sons, Rupert Murdoch sided with anything Roger Ailes wanted to do. Why not, when the network is the number one and is bringing in a billion dollars? The two sons have much more liberal views. In fact James and his progressive minded wife Katherine, have long been embarrassed of certain elements of Fox News. They trash Donald Trump on their Twitter feed quite often. It is very clear that the goal is to move Fox News to the left. The remaining talent at Fox makes a pretty good paycheck and it’s best to seem they are satisfied with the new direction the company is going.

The coveted 8 o’clock times slot now belongs to the Fox News, up and coming superstar, Tucker Carlson. What better way to say you are going in the total opposite direction, no pun intended, than Bill O’Reilly is to have your first guest be (Bruce) Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner not only identifies not only as a female now but also as a Republican. Really? That’s who Tucker picked for his first debut guest or is this a clear signal for Carlson’s conservative viewers to see transgender, Republican tolerance. Now that’s what I call changing the direction of the network.





Andrew Breitbart and exposing ACORN


Andrew Breitbart was a Conservative activist, journalist, author, editor, radio personality and the list goes on. He understood the Left so much so that he knew exactly how to intimidate the Left. Breitbart even referred to John Podesta as his mortal enemy. He also supported the exposure of corruption of ACORN that catalyzed the downfall of its reputation and ensuing bankruptcy. You can watch the documentary, Hating Breitbart, to better understand who he was and what his legacy stands for today. It was reported that he died from natural causes on 1 March 2012, and the peculiar timing of his death has sparked much speculation.

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