‘Soft on Crime’ Attacks Target Republicans Who Favor Changes

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Democrats bear the brunt for the rise in homicides, and other violent crimes. However, the attacks on fellow Republicans are intensifying the division within the GOP

Republicans are able to portray Democrats as being soft on crime in light of increasing violent crime in the United States. The GOP has attacked liberal policies in ads, campaign appearances, and interviews and blamed Democratic legislators, from the White House to the city councils, for the violence.

Oklahoma Governor. Kevin Stitt, who is being targeted for mass-commutations and a criminal that involved cannibalism is being attacked. But the attacks are different because Stitt’s a Republican.

One ad claims that Stitt commuted a sentence for a man who then “brutally murdered his neighbour, and then tried his best to feed his family his organs.” The ad, paid for by a group called Conservative Voice of America, concludes, “Oklahomans deserve a governor who cracks down on violent criminals, not one who lets them go.”

Democrats bear the brunt for the rise in homicides, and other violent crimes in recent years. Sometimes this has led to Democrats backpiling on major criminal justice reforms or insisting that they don’t want defunding police departments as activists advocate.

The attacks on Republicans on others are intensifying the division in the GOP between hardliners and conservatives who now support alternatives to prisons. This is largely because they want to save money. The attacks on various forms of criminal reform could threaten the meaningful changes that have been made in many heavily Republican states such as Oklahoma and Texas, which have one of the highest rates of incarceration.

Kevin Ring, president and CEO of Families Against Mandatory Minimums said that there had been a growing bipartisan consensus about reforms. However, this has been made more difficult by rising crime and political interference.

“There’s still some of those old holdouts who just are ‘lock them up, throw away the key’ types,” Ring said. “They’ve always been there, and I think that they have used the increase in crime to argue for a return to that posture by the party.”

Brett Tolman, executive director of the conservative criminal justice advocacy group Right on Crime, said “the accusation of being weak on crime gets thrown around very quickly,” causing “a lot of hesitation” in Congress. According to the former U.S. Attorney, he now needs to work with people mostly behind closed doors.

Republicans who support the reforms claim that they will reduce crime and increase taxpayer costs. Stitt said that Oklahoma would be able to save $11.9million if it released more than 450 of its prisoners in 2019 than it would cost to keep them behind bars. The majority of those convicted for drug possession or low-level crimes against property were the beneficiaries of the commutations.

Former Texas Governor. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is a Republican and claims that his state has saved billions by investing in alternative sentencing, closing prisons, and other measures. As he seeks to become Oklahoma’s second governor, he is now standing by Stitt.

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