In a special dispatch from the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference – held Feb. 9 to 11 in Washington D.C. – this week’s episode of the FIRE Podcast features Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Director Eli Lehrer on a CPAC panel on the dangers of over-criminalization.
Other panelists included Mary Schmid Mergler, senior counsel to the Constitution Project’s criminal justice program; David Keene, former chairman of the American Conservative Union; and moderator Pat Nolan, vice president of the Prison Fellowship.
The panelists also discuss the Right on Crime Statement of Principles (Lehrer, Keene and Nolan all are signatories) and broader efforts to convince conservatives that criminal justice reform is a worthy goal. “We shouldn’t be afraid to get rid of bad laws,” Lehrer noted, adding that states could begin this process by striking any criminal statutes more than ten years old that have never been used.
The proliferation of laws is invitation for prosecutors to run amok. American states, localities and the federal government define far too many crimes. The proliferation of criminal law threatens our liberty and undermines our core institutions. We can turn back the clock on this, and as conservatives, we must.