Tommy Thompson on Crime
Former Secretary of H.H.S.; former Republican Governor (WI)
Mark Neumann: Yes
Tommy Thompson: Yes
While no one likes to build prisons, there is an unmistakable correlation between rising prison populations and the lowest crime rates in 30 years. When the bad guys are behind bars, they’re not committing crimes.
1999 crime statistics indicate state residents are enjoying the lowest total of index crimes in 26 years (index crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault).
The program is as straightforward as it sounds: a criminal will serve 100 percent of his or her sentence. No exceptions. No excuses. From now on, when a judge hands down a 20-year sentence, the criminal will serve 20 years behind bars. “We are weighting the scales of justice back in favor of the law-abiding citizens of Wisconsin,” Gov. Thompson said. Judges will now hand down two sentences: a prison sentence and an extended supervision sentence. The extended supervision sentence must be at least 25 percent of the prison sentence. Therefore, on a 20-year prison sentence, the criminal must spend at least five years under extended supervision after serving his sentence.
The governor created a “life means life” law that allows judges to sentence murderers to prison without the possibility of parole.
In the 1960s and 1970s, elected officials refocused the political discussion of criminal justice issues on social causes. To prevent crime, one had to identify those injustices and overcome them. Social programs, they said, not prisons, were the answers to controlling crime.
I entered public service with the belief that one of government's most fundamental roles was to protect law-abiding citizens from crime. It was this commonsense understanding of government's role that drove my zero-tolerance approach to crime and my determination to change our out-of-balance criminal justice system. I promised to refocus state sentencing policies from treatment and parole to longer, "determinative" prison terms for violent offenders.
Several studies have demonstrated the link between expanded prison capacity, longer sentences, and reduced crime in Wisconsin. It's not particularly difficult to figure out that keeping criminals in prison reduces crime. Punishment is effective crime prevention.
There are dangers, too, though, in taking the get-tough approach too far. Treatment programs can help people get their lives in order, and they do play a role in crime deterrence, but in conjunction with, not as a substitute for, law enforcement.
|Other candidates on Crime:||Tommy Thompson on other issues:|
Incoming 2021 Biden Administration:
Attorney General:Xavier Becerra
Domestic Policy:Susan Rice
Public Liaison:Cedric Richmond
Former Trump Administration:
Former Obama Administration:
Former Bush Administration:
Pres.:George W. Bush
Former Clinton Administration: