Conservatives rethinking mass imprisonment and the War on Drugs
Conservative policy analyst Reihan Salam has an interesting column on on conservatives who are reconsidering their movement’s traditional support for mass incarceration and the War on Drugs…
…As Salam notes, Christie’s speech could be motivated at least in part by a desire to divert attention away from the recent scandals plaguing his administration. But the very fact that a likely GOP presidential contender might think that denouncing the War on Drugs and mass incarceration is a politically effective diversion is itself an indication of changing attitudes on the right. Moreover, Christie is not the only conservative to shift positions on these issues in recent years. Political scientists David Dagan and Steve Teles give other examples in this 2012 article. As they point out, growing conservative skepticism about mass incarceration and the War on Drugs is driven in part by a realization that prisons have many of the same flaws as other large government bureaucracies that “submit to the temptations of monopoly, inflating costs and providing shoddy service.” In addition, they note that many social conservatives have gradually come to realize that the War on Drugs is bad for family values. Some GOP-controlled state governments are seeking to reduce imprisonment in order to save money in difficult fiscal times.