Chicago police are very, very sour. On Monday, the local fraternity government continued to rage over the decision not to charge actor Jussie Smollett to mistakenly report a crime of crime and plan a protest outside the Chicago Prosecutor, Cook County State's lawyer Kim Foxx.
The Police have been merged into their rage by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and cable news hosts on Fox News, who have begun the charges of a large jury not translated into a lawsuit or a prison sentence.
While the controversy is a simple story for Fox News, the police and Emanuel, it is much more complicated for people interested in reforming criminal law. And the decision raises the question of where in practice it is that the public is rolling back in mass contexts and reforming America's draconian approach to criminal law.
It's easier to talk based on principles than it is to act on them. This is especially the case when the public across the political spectrum requires its pound of meat.
Over the years, the reform of criminal reforms has gained momentum by speaking abstractly about the more than 2 million people behind bars linking their situation with injustice to capturing non-violent drug abusers. How to settle it with a bipartisan reform law – the first step law – that will not do any real harm in the prison population. Now that the movement sees success in lawyer races, and the new prosecutors take a new approach, the reality of criminal law in America comes in.
Most of the 2 million people actually committed a crime that the public considers deeply wrong and worthy of punishment. Prisons are overcrowded not only with pot-fighters but with violent criminals who serve wicked mandatory minimum conditions. And these sentences are the result of moral panic from the public, rewarding politicians, prosecutors, and judges who come down hard on people condemned by society for their misdemeanors. People like Jussie Smollett.
Smollett's alleged crime was not necessarily violent, although he apparently had demanded violence on himself. In a publicity stunt, he allegedly paid two colleagues from the TV show "Empire" to beat him up so he would be the victim of a homophobic, racist attack. He was said to have plans to use the resulting media attention to get a boost at work. If that is true, allegations are regrettable, not only in the special, but in the way that they undermine the future, true victims of hate crimes. The public wanted Smollett's blood for it, and in the dominant criminal justice paradigm the path would be clear: Stack these charges, unlock him and throw the key. Place another body on the deck.
Kim Foxx was elected accused of police, Emanuels and rulers of the old paradigm. She ran as a reformer and argued that the current approach is broken and that the prosecutors must seek ways to solve problems without resorting to imprisonment. The office's power, she said, should be re-oriented towards the most dangerous and harmful to crime.
It's the principle she ran on. And she won. But it is easier to speak based on principles – and to hear someone do it – than it is to act on them. This is especially the case when the public across the political spectrum requires their pounding.
The unpopular decision of Foxx & # 39; office, which is consistent with the principles she fought for, stands as a rare example of true political courage – and it is brave because the office knew it would come with great blowback. The easier things to do would have been to unlock Smollet. Prison is always the easiest option.
Smollet's failure is in some ways a useful moment to count on the reform movement. Important lowering of the number of prisoners will mean releasing some people who did things that make us very evil – and not captivating some of them as well.
Foxx, because she had previously communicated with a relative of Smollett, recovered from the decision-making process. But she stands by her substitute's call.
"Yes, false reporting of hate crime makes me angry, and anyone who does it deserves the anger of society. But as I have said before I was elected, we must separate the people we are angry with from the people who We're afraid, "Foxx wrote in an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune. "[O] Your criminal justice system is best when prisons are used to protect us from the people we rightly fear, while alternative results are reserved for the people who make us angry, but must learn their mistakes without seeing their lives Irreversibly destroyed. "
Smollett, Foxx reminded readers, committed a Class 4 crime, the least serious category, and suffered massive personal and career consequences. Should he also be behind bars? "I was chosen on a promise to reassess the judicial system, to keep people out of prison that does not endanger society," she wrote.
Kim Foxx keeps his promise. Can we handle it?