The Clemmons clemency | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Clemmons clemency

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 6:41 AM

From the beginning of the Maurice Clemmons clemency discussion, liberals have urged compassion for Mike Huckabee's role in freeing the man who's believed to have killed four law officers. But conservatives, too, have raised questions about a no-mercy prison system. Today it's the New York Times' Ross Douthat talking about the ills of mass incarceration with no emphasis on rehabilitation.

Mass incarceration was a successful public-policy tourniquet. But now that we’ve stopped the bleeding, it can’t be a permanent solution.

This doesn’t require a return to the liberal excuse-making of the ’60s and ’70s. Nor does it require every governor to issue frequent pardons. (A capricious mercy doesn’t further the cause of justice.)

Instead, it requires a more sophisticated crime-fighting approach — an emphasis, for instance, on making sentences swifter and more certain, even as we make them shorter; a system of performance metrics for prisons and their administrators; a more stringent approach to probation and parole.

One liberal commentator over the weekend even called for "clemency for Mike Huckabee" in criticism of his role in the Clemmons case. Indeed, Huckabee's willingness to consider clemency was one of the attractive features of his governance. But here's his continuing political problem. He exercised the power poorly. He was influenced by friends, relatives, campaign contributions and other unsound factors. His decisions were arbitrary. He made more than one spectacularly bad decision, including the Clemmons case. And more, I believe, is yet to be revealed about why Huckabee singled out a multiple violent offender with a terrible prison disciplinary record for clemency. And why his parole board extended him another try at freedom when Clemmons robbed again.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation