In what has to be welcoming news to legions of drug dealers, car thieves, white collar criminals, tax cheats, and fraudsters of all kinds, Democratic primary frontrunner Joe Biden said in the last debate that he doesn’t think anyone who committed a nonviolent offense should be in prison. Now, perhaps Biden was really only talking about federal drug crimes – that was the nature of the question – but you really have to wonder sometimes when it comes to this guy. One minute he’s talking about leaving the record player on at home, the next minute he’s talking about setting everyone free from federal prison. Who the hell really knows?
“We should be talking about rehabilitation,” Biden said in Houston. “Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime. As — when we were in the White House, we released 36,000 people from the federal prison system. Nobody should be in jail for a drug problem. They should be going directly to a rehabilitation. We build more rehabilitation centers, not prisons.
“I’m the guy that put in the drug courts to divert people from the criminal justice system. And so we have to change the whole way we look at this,” he continued. “When we put people in prison, we have to equip them that when they get out — nobody who got in prison for marijuana, for example, immediately upon being released — they shouldn’t be in there; that should be a misdemeanor. They should be out and their record should be expunged. Every single right should be returned.
“When you finish your term in prison, you should be able not only to vote but have access to Pell grants, have access to be able to get housing, have access to be able to move along the way,” he concluded.
There is a healthy argument for reducing prison sentences when it comes to nonviolent drug offenders. An argument for shifting our resources to the kinds of rehabilitation that Biden is talking about and away from hard prison time.
The thing is, we just don’t trust Democrats – even a supposed “moderate” like Biden – to get it right.