Bernard Kerik, the former Rudy Giuliani aide and New York City police commissioner who spent years locking people up, is using his own time in a federal prison as a launch pad to call for a systemwide overhaul, reports Politico. Kerik will speak tomorrow in Arlington, Va., arguing that the criminal justice system is “in dire need of repair,” the former Department of Homeland Security nominee said. “No one with my experience and background has ever been inside the system, so it's given me a real, one-of-a-kind, very unique experience,” Kerik said.
Kerik was nominated by President George W. Bush to lead DHS in 2004 when a New York Daily News probe of his background reported links to an allegedly mob-tied company, and he admitted to having free work done by that firm on his home. He ended up serving three years in prison, a time he says altered his view of the way in which the system shatters lives. Kerik said a number of people he served time with were “first-time offenders who don't need prison to pay their … debt to society.” The punishments, he argued, are disproportionate to the crimes. “You don't think of the collateral damage that's done to … families, children,” Kerik said, adding that there's also a high economic cost. “There has to be an educational system for people to see and understand what this is doing to society.”