Rep. Paul Ryan is awaiting his “coronation” as Speaker of the House, but his critics are spotlighting unwillingness to defend Americans from criminals.
In the summer of 2014, Ryan released a budget proposal laying out the Republicans’ plan to tackle poverty in the U.S., which called for the release of many criminals from prison.
The rationale: Cutting loose “non-violent, low-risk offenders” would save taxpayers millions in incarceration costs and allow criminals back into law-abiding society to earn better wages.
Those soothing words – “non-violent, low-risk offenders” – make his proposals sound reasonable and moral. But Ryan’s plan sugarcoats the reality in a drizzle of sweet euphemisms.
“It would be a mistake to assume that non-violent offenses do not harm communities. But not all non-violent offenses are alike, and a certain level of judicial discretion is necessary to ensure that the punishment fits the crime,” says his budget plan.
When people hear “non-violent offenses” they think “jailed for smoking a joint.” But supposedly “non-violent” crimes are often violent crimes.
The list of “non-violent” crimes includes arson, larceny, bribery, tax fraud, prostitution, dealing drugs, drunk driving, embezzlement, and sitting while strung-out on heroin in front of a neighborhood Starbucks while menacing customers for change, for starters.
Moreover, according to federal data, 99.8 percent of people in federal prison on a drug sentence are actually drug traffickers, not occasional tokers. Amateur druggies rarely go to federal jail – The risk of being arrested for each joint smoked is one in 12,000. As for states, a mere 0.07 percent of inmates are in jail for marijuana possession alone.
And the drug-traffickers have likely committed many violent crimes in the course of their business, which are usually sidelined because traffic offenses are simple to process and convict because the evidence comes in neatly-wrapped packages of cocaine, meth and heroin.
“About 2.2 million people are currently behind bars,” claims Ryan’s report. “As a result, we spend about $80 billion on corrections at all levels of government… This growing cost burden on society is a cause for concern,” the report says.
But who suffers the greatest burden from so-called “non-violent” crimes? The poor neighbors of those criminals, not distant taxpayers and conerned legislators.
Unlike Ryan, who grew up in an ordered, polite and prosperous German-American village of Janeville, Wisc., life can be difficult for the unlucky neighbors who must work their way out of poverty while diverse drug-addicts keep breaking into their home and stealing their possessions and peace-of-mind, or while rioters are given “space” to “non-violently” burn down the neighborhood with a vibrant variety of low-risk, non-violent crimes.
Ryan’s record as an open-borders ideologue is well-documented, so it’s strange he never mentions immigration in his long report. Ryan doesn’t explain where nearly unemployable ex-cons will find jobs they can be proud of, amid his politically-engineered tsunamis of immigration.
What is clear: The Obama White House would be delighted if he became Speaker, calling his possible ascension “one more win.”
Email Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org.