Libertarian Party on Crime

Party Platform


Support restitution; and maintain constitutional safeguards

Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. We favor the repeal of all laws creating "crimes" without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, since only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. Individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law
Source: 2014 Libertarian Party Platform , Nov 1, 2014

Three Strikes approach is illusory & dangerous

Provisions such as “three strikes and you’re out” are unlikely to significantly reduce crime. A relatively small proportion of all offenders commit most of the crime. Removing these “career criminals” from society makes sense. But, the “three strikes” approach is illusory.

Nearly every study of criminal behavior shows that men between the ages of 16 and 35 commit most of the crime. Those leaving prison after the age of 40 have an amazingly low recidivism rate.

Yet, “three strikes” would keep three time losers in prison into their 60’s, 70’s and beyond. With prison costs running at more than $60,000 per bed (plus $23,500 per inmate per year to incarcerate an individual), there is a significant danger that “three strikes” could lead to the early release of truly violent criminals serving their first or second sentence, in order to warehouse elderly criminals who pose little or no threat to society.

Source: Libertarian Party Program On Crime , Nov 7, 2000

Omnibus Crime Bill, including death penalty, has failed

The Omnibus Crime Bill would impose the death penalty for 51 new crimes, including, specifically, the murder of federal chicken inspectors. There is also the simply silly, such as a federal program to establish “drug-free truck stops.” In every election year, Congress rushes to pass a new crime bill. But, until Congress chooses to learn from past mistakes, we are unlikely to see Congressional action leading to safer streets.
Source: Libertarian Party Program On Crime , Nov 7, 2000

Encourage private efforts to fight crime

The appropriate way to suppress crime is through consistent enforcement of laws that protect individual rights. We call for an end to “hate crime” laws that foster resentment by giving some individuals special status under the law. We applaud the trend toward private protection services and voluntary community crime control groups.
Source: National Platform of the Libertarian Party , Jul 2, 2000

Allow drugs, alcohol, prostitution, gambling, and suicide

We advocate the repeal of laws prohibiting the production, sale, or use of drugs; the repeal of laws restricting the use of alcohol; the repeal of laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution, and the cessation of state harassment of homosexuals; the repeal of laws prohibiting the distribution of sexually explicit material; the repeal of laws regulating gambling; the repeal of anti-racketeering statutes, the repeal of laws interfering with the right to commit suicide.
Source: National Platform of the Libertarian Party , Jul 2, 2000

Strengthen, not reduce, the rights of the accused

We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the accused. We oppose pretrial seizure of property for criminal offenses. We oppose police using excessive force on the accused. We support full restitution for loss suffered by persons injured in the course of criminal proceedings that do not result in their conviction. We call for allowing parties to a court action a reasonable number of peremptory challenges to proposed judges, similar to their right to challenge a proposed juror.
Source: National Platform of the Libertarian Party , Jul 2, 2000

Hate crimes are used to punish blacks

A grisly murder in Texas has confirmed what Libertarians suspected all along: Hate crime laws are being used to punish African-Americans at a dramatically higher rate than racist white criminals.

“If black Americans thought that hate crime legislation would protect them against racist whites, they were sadly mistaken,” said Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party national director. “Instead, hate crime laws are apparently being used as another legal weapon to prosecute African-Americans.”

Source: Libertarian Party Press Releases , Feb 21, 2000

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Page last updated: Jan 01, 2016