Fancypants Law Professor: Let’s Spring Murderers, Rapists And Other Felons From Prison
A professor at an Ivy League law school has called for the release of murderers, rapists and other serious felons from the U.S. prison system to reduce overcrowding and to save money.
The professor, Joe Margulies of Cornell Law School, provided his policy suggestions in an interview with Business Insider on Wednesday.
Some of America’s 2.2 million prisoners have spent many, many years in the slammer and their sentences are just too long, Margulies declared. They no longer pose a criminal threat to society and should be released, he said.
“The kind of person they were when they went into prison often just doesn’t exist anymore,” Margulies told Business Insider. “Keeping them in prison offers no chance for redemption, and no one is a monster.”
The fancypants law professor argued that violent murderers and rapists who grow really old in prison and then leave have very low rates of recidivism. Thus, he said, despite the horrendous fates their victims suffered, the older, wiser criminals should be set free because they no longer threaten society.
Margulies said he also believes criminals who commit lesser offenses shouldn’t be jailed at all. At the same time, he said, keeping low-level offenders out of jail won’t sufficiently unclog America’s prisons.
“Emptying the prisons of nonviolent drug offenders will not, by itself, fix the many issues that plague our criminal justice system,” Margulies told the website.
According to The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform group, America’s total of 2.2 million prisoners is a 500 percent increase from the total 40 years ago.
One in three black males can expect to go to prison during their lifetimes. Just one in 111 white women will likely spend any time up the river.
On his Cornell Law School biography, Margulies calls himself a professor of law and government — except he capitalizes all those words for himself. He says he is fascinated by “the way Americans construct and deploy magic words like liberty,’ ‘equality’ and, especially, ‘the rule of law’ to defend different social arrangements.”
A year of tuition and fees at Cornell Law School is $61,400. This amount does not include rent, food or any living expenses.