Bill Otis: ‘Complacency, Forgetfulness, Short-Sightedness’ Driving Republican Support for Prison Sentence ‘Reform’

On Breitbart News Daily Thursday morning, adjunct Georgetown professor and contributor to Crime and Consequences Bill Otis criticized Republicans supporting the “dangerous” Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, saying it threatens to reverse decades of lower crime rates.

“Sometimes, really smart people do really dumb stuff,” Otis told SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon, listing three specific reasons why Republicans and right-leaning donors like the Koch brothers are siding with Democrats and progressives to spring felons from federal prisons.

“I think the answer is number one, complacency. We’ve come to accept as a given this relatively very low crime rate we have now as a result of the measures we started taking during the Reagan administration,” he said. “Since that time… Crime has fallen by half. There are ten thousand fewer murders per year in the United States now than there was then. That’s the most startling example. And of course, if we lose our nerve, we can go right back in the other direction.”

“The other thing I think is going on with Republicans who should know better is forgetfulness. For example, Mike Lee — Mike Lee is a young man. He doesn’t have the memories that some of us do that how bad crime was. How when you walked down a city street at night after you’d gone to the movies, you had to keep looking over your shoulder to see what was going on,” Otis continued.

“So it’s complacency, forgetfulness, and I think the third thing that’s going on is short-sightedness. That they say, look! If we empty out these prison beds, see how much money we’ll save. But what they’re not seeing is because of that short-sightedness, the money they’ll actually never get saved.”

“First, it will be spent on on different programs. It will be spent on rehabilitation programs. Re-entry programs. On programs that now have the Obama administration saying, well, we’re not going to call people felons anymore. We’re going to call them ‘justice-involved people,’ so no one will be able to tell what they actually did.”

“And the other kind of cost that the Republicans supporting this bill are not seeing and not getting is, the costs that will simply be shifted to the additional criminals we know we’re going to get when these people go back to recidivism, as they do in huge numbers,” he said.

Voters who want to get engaged should call up their representatives, Otis said.

“I would tell them to contact their senator and say: ‘I understand the government doesn’t do many things well, but one of the things it has done well, is it has suppressed crime… and to leave the successful system alone,” he said. “So they should tell their senator and their congressman, vote no. ”

“We all want changes that improve our safety and our security. But this will do the opposite. This will take us back to the bad old days of the Sixties and Seventies. Tell your senator to vote to preserve the system we have now. And to vote against this bill,” he added.

“As we’ve seen just a few days ago, Obama has released another batch of prisoners. Obama’s sentencing commission plans to release 46,000 prisoners. All of that is independently of this bill. So we are well down the road to a dangerous place already. And if we don’t stop this bill, we’re going to get there a lot faster.

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