How Menthol Bans Illustrate the Dangers of ‘Overcriminalization’

Proposals to ban sales of menthol cigarettes are the latest examples of a misplaced focus on creating criminal penalties that waste police time, harm minority communities, and detract law enforcement attention from crimes that actually put people’s safety at risk, say R Street researchers.


A Call For A New ‘Public Agenda’ on Criminal Justice

Marking the 50th anniversary of a wide-ranging report of a commission named by President Lyndon B. Johnson, some experts call for a 21st-century repeat, focusing on police, prosecutors, and mass incarceration. But some speakers at a Washington symposium worried the new administration’s “tough on crime” approach could limit its impact.


Campaign 2016 and Criminal Justice

Next year's presidential contest is now well underway. With Hillary Clinton, the acknowledged frontrunner for the Democrats, officially in the race, and a slew of contenders vying (or likely to vie) for the Republican nomination, across a spectrum ranging from Jeb Bush to Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, it's a good time to begin asking where each of them stand on the criminal justice challenges facing the country. In our system, most of the gritty justice […]


GOP Backs Mandatory Terms, Inmate Rehab; Blasts Overcriminalization

The Republican Party platform adopted this week at the party’s convention in Tampa backs mandatory prison terms for gang crimes, violent or sexual offenses against children, repeat drug dealers, rapists, robbers, and murderers, declaring that, “liberals do not understand this simple axiom: criminals behind bars cannot harm the general public.” The GOP backs the death penalty in capital murder cases, supports a national registry for convicted child murderers, and opposes parole for dangerous or repeat felons. At the same time, […]