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Discussing Pepper v. United States with Mike McConnell

| March 22, 2011

Last week, I discussed Right On Crime’s perspective on the recent Supreme Court decision in Pepper v. United States with Chicago radio show host Mike McConnell. I emphasized that Supreme Court decisions are frequently “lagging indicators” because they reflect the direction in which legal and public opinion moved in preceding years. Pepper, for example, is an encouraging sign that legal and public opinion is increasingly acknowledging the value of treatment — rather than incarceration — as the appropriate response for certain non-violent crimes. Even Justice Clarence Thomas, who dissented in Pepper based on a technical point, wrote the following: “Like the majority, I believe that postsentencing rehabilitation can be highly relevant to meaningful resentencing. In light of Pepper’s success in escaping drug addiction and becoming a productive member of society, I do not see what purpose further incarceration would serve.”

In addition to listening to the interview below, take a look at this post from The Economist and this post from The Washington Post for more on the Pepper opinion.


RIGHT ON CRIME is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy—reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government, and save taxpayers money. By sharing research and policy ideas and mobilizing strong conservative voices, we work to raise awareness of the growing support for effective reforms within the conservative movement. We are transforming the debate on criminal justice in America.