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Right on Crime | 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.”