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Monday, March 30, 2015

Moneyballing Justice: "Evidence-Based" Criminal Reforms Ignore Real Evidence

(Image: Prison hall via Shutterstock)
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Sunday, 29 March 2015 00:00By Kay Whitlock and Nancy A. Heitzeg, Truthout | News Analysis
Proponents of the new wave of "criminal justice reform" claim that their efforts are nonpartisan, non-ideological and "evidence-based."
This "evidence-based" frame asserts that mass incarceration and "overcriminalization" will be remedied by a handful of sentencing reforms affecting "low-level" offenders. An essential element of such reform is the widespread use of "evidence-based risk-assessment" instruments to purportedly help authorities objectively determine who is "dangerous" - and therefore must remain in prison - and who is not.

Today, "alternatives to incarceration" represent a widening, not a shrinking, of the corrections net.

This isn't a miracle cure; it is a lavishly funded public relations campaign advancing unfettered free-market "solutions" to criminal justice dilemmas and the politics of austerity."Bipartisanship" is driven by a right-wing agenda and support from a constellation of libertarian and neoliberal economic interests. It is funded by Koch Industries and a handful of foundations and deep-pocketed donors. Yes, some high-profile people and groups considered liberal have signed on - but to messaging and strategic direction already established by the right.

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