Skip to main content

Once again, Matt Taibbi reminds us he's one of the few remaining souls in the MSM that still tells it like it is in his latest Rolling Stone feature, “Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws,” just posted online, earlier today, and set for publication in the April 11th edition of the magazine.

Taibbi spends a significant portion of the piece with Stanford Law School Professor and Senior Lecturer David W. Mills, who teaches classes in criminal law and white-collar crime at the university. He’s also the co-chair of the board of directors of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and as his bio tells us, “A lifelong advocate for social justice. ”

Rather than rambling on about Taibbi’s work, I will say that this piece – which walks us through quite a few travesties of so-called “justice” – is a truly powerful reminder that, as the last of one of many Mills’ quotes states in the final sentence of the article, “People get so hung up on the concept of innocence....But it's intellectually uninteresting. What does matter is how we treat the guilty, and that's where we still have work to do."

Here’s a little more of Taibbi’s concluding content…

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws

While Wall Street crooks walk, thousands sit in California prisons for life over crimes as trivial as stealing socks

By Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone (April 11th, 2013 Edition)
March 27, 2013   7:00 AM ET

…The fact that some progress toward scaling back these draconian laws involving the poor and underprivileged is finally being made is coming at a time when there is an emerging controversy over the conspicuous nonpunishment of big bankers, notorious subprime lenders (many of them Californians) and other wealthy offenders is probably not an accident. One of the interesting results of the polling Mills commissioned last summer was that California voters were surprisingly unmoved by the issue of the cost of incarcerating Three Strikes inmates. "But they were intensely interested in the issue of fairness," says Mills. "That's one of the things we found out: People will pay for justice, no matter how much it costs. But it has to be fair."

Obviously, people who commit crimes should be punished. Even people who steal socks and Snow White videos should probably do time if they have priors, especially serious priors. But the punishment has to fit the crime, and the standard has to be the same for everyone. If a homeless crack addict like Norman Williams is going to get time for stealing road flares, they should leave the top bunk in his cell open for the guy who laundered money for the Sinaloa drug cartel at HSBC…

Attorney General Holder, are you listening?
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site