Presidential candidates’ positions on incarceration and criminal justice not clearly articulated

The crumbling economy, taxes, and the Iraq War have soaked up the limelight when it comes to the 2008 Presidential Election.  With less than one week left before voters’ caste their ballots, questions about Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama’s positions on incarceration and criminal justice remain unanswered.

According to the Sentencing Project, a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, little specifics are known about the candidates’ viewpoints to reform the federal prison system.

Based on information from the candidates’ past records, Obama once against the death penalty, currently supports it for monstrous crimes.  As an Illinois State Senator, Obama also lead the charge in passing legislation that requires confessions and interrogations to be videotaped to prevent death sentencing errors in capitol cases.

Ryan King, Sentencing Project analyst, on :

Obama’s Position

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(Link to mp3)

McCain’s Position

[audio:|titles=McCain’s position on incarceration]
(Link to mp3)

Keeping incarceration on the agenda
[audio:|titles=Keeping focus]
(Link to mp3)

Obama has connected issues of unemployment and poverty within certain communities to the disproportionally high rate of crime and incarceration of those who live there.

Senator John McCain who has been labeled as “tough-on-crime” is a firm supporter of the death penalty. In his past votes, during the mid-nineties, McCain showed support for restricting appeals to the death penalty and was against using the defense of racial discrimination within appeals. McCain has favored violent offenders to serve their complete sentences, with no opportunity for parole.

McCain has also offered the alternative of rehabilitation programs for first time drug offenders and has voted for more community police to prevent hate crimes.

Both candidates have vocalized support for re-entry programs once a prisoner has been released, but a clear and concise picture as to what the programs actually look like and involve is unknown.

On November 4th, regardless of who is elected into the oval office, Ryan King, a policy analyst for the Sentencing Project, says incarceration issues should must become a priority for the next President.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Are you considering the candidates’ views on incarceration and criminal justice in your voting decision? Which way are you leaning and why?

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Lindsay A. Lazarski attends CUNY Graduate School of Journalism with a concentration in Urban Studies and Interactive Media.

About Lindsay Lazarski

Contact Lindsay Lazarski at [email protected]