Once again, Matt Taibbi reminds us he's one of the few remaining souls in the MSM that still tells it like it is in his latest Rolling Stone feature, “Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws,” just posted online, earlier today, and set for publication in the April 11th edition of the magazine.
Taibbi spends a significant portion of the piece with Stanford Law School Professor and Senior Lecturer David W. Mills, who teaches classes in criminal law and white-collar crime at the university. He’s also the co-chair of the board of directors of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and as his bio tells us, “A lifelong advocate for social justice. ”
Rather than rambling on about Taibbi’s work, I will say that this piece – which walks us through quite a few travesties of so-called “justice” – is a truly powerful reminder that, as the last of one of many Mills’ quotes states in the final sentence of the article, “People get so hung up on the concept of innocence....But it's intellectually uninteresting. What does matter is how we treat the guilty, and that's where we still have work to do."
Here’s a little more of Taibbi’s concluding content…
Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes LawsAttorney General Holder, are you listening?
While Wall Street crooks walk, thousands sit in California prisons for life over crimes as trivial as stealing socks
By Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone (April 11th, 2013 Edition)
March 27, 2013 7:00 AM ET
…The fact that some progress toward scaling back these draconian laws involving the poor and underprivileged is finally being made is coming at a time when there is an emerging controversy over the conspicuous nonpunishment of big bankers, notorious subprime lenders (many of them Californians) and other wealthy offenders is probably not an accident. One of the interesting results of the polling Mills commissioned last summer was that California voters were surprisingly unmoved by the issue of the cost of incarcerating Three Strikes inmates. "But they were intensely interested in the issue of fairness," says Mills. "That's one of the things we found out: People will pay for justice, no matter how much it costs. But it has to be fair."
Obviously, people who commit crimes should be punished. Even people who steal socks and Snow White videos should probably do time if they have priors, especially serious priors. But the punishment has to fit the crime, and the standard has to be the same for everyone. If a homeless crack addict like Norman Williams is going to get time for stealing road flares, they should leave the top bunk in his cell open for the guy who laundered money for the Sinaloa drug cartel at HSBC…