Arianna Huffington on Crime

2004 former Independent Challenger for CA Governor


We can choose books or bars; we've built bigger prisons

It will take more than just a massive infusion of dollars to fix our schools. It's a question of priorities. Just look at the explosion of spending on America's jails over the past 20 years: the number of people living behind bars has tripled, to more than two million. America has more people living behind bars than any other country.

Sadly, in that prison population are 150,000 children. Too many of America's schools have become preparatory facilities not for college but for jail. When the choice has come down to books versus bars, our political leaders have chosen to build bigger prisons rather than figure out how to send fewer kids to them. How is it that we are willing to spend so much more on kids AFTER they are found guilty of crimes than we are when they could really use the help?

In the end, the blame for the chronic inability to fix our educational system has to be laid at the feet of our leaders in Washington. Every candidate promises to transform our schools--and fail to do so.

Source: Third World America, by Arianna Huffington, p.119-120 , Sep 2, 2010

Philosophically opposed to the death penalty

Q: You’ve called for a moratorium on capital punishment because of a racial disparity in the process and factually innocent people sentenced to death. Are you philosophically opposed to the death penalty or its application?

HUFFINGTON: I’m philosophically opposed to the death penalty and very opposed to the way it has been applied in California and across the country. At a time when new DNA testing has known that innocent people are being put to death by government, I absolutely would want a moratorium. The only reason we do not have more elected officials asking for a moratorium is because they only follow the polling results and they are spineless to speak their own minds and hearts.

You would commute death penalties out there?

HUFFINGTON: I would have to change the law. As a governor, I have to ensure that the laws are being imposed properly. But I would actually go out there and use the bully pulpit to convince the people of California of what is right.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek , Sep 3, 2003

Roll back $1B prison guard pay raise: books, not bars

Arianna has also said that she would cut the state’s bloated prison budget, which has grown a whopping 650% over the past twenty years. She would start by rolling back the $1 billion pay raise for prison guards signed into law by Gray Davis in 2002. We need to invest in schools, not jails - books, not bars.
Source: 2003 Gubernatorial campaign website, AriannaForGov.com , Aug 15, 2003

Moratorium on capital punishment based on racial disparity

On the Death Penalty: Arianna supports a moratorium on capital punishment. She believes that the shocking level of racial disparity in the sentencing process, along with the large number of factually innocent people who have been sentenced to death, demand that the state implement a moratorium on all executions.
Source: 2003 Gubernatorial campaign website, AriannaForGov.com , Aug 15, 2003

Mandatory minimum sentencing is cowardly

Overall, our state and federal jails are currently holding two million inmates, despite a violent crime rate that has fallen to a 32-year low. By the end of 1998, our federal prisons were filled to 27% overcapacity.

Millions of underprivileged minors are crowding our prisons, all the result of crowd-pleasing but cowardly mandatory minimum sentencing law. This is modern politics at its worst. Such bad policy can only serve to erode the public’s already shaky trust in democracy.

Source: How to Overthrow the Government, p.139-41 , Jul 2, 2000

Investigate anti-depressants’ role in school shootings

Buried in the saturation coverage of the Littleton massacre was the finding that traces of Luvox were found in [one of the shooters] Eric Harris’s bloodstream. Did the presence of Luvox change the cause and manner of Eric’s life?

“Mania” pretty much describes Harris’s web site, on which he wrote: “My belief is that if I say something, it goes. I am the law. If you don’t like it, you die.” This should have troubled any doctor who was following Harris after he was put on Luvox. Or was Harris one of the tens of thousands of children cavalierly prescribed anti-depressants without either a proper psychiatric evaluation or any ongoing monitoring of side effects?

In the aftermath of the Littleton massacre, President Clinton proposed new laws to restrict the marketing of guns to children, and hosted a conference to examine the entertainment industry’s marketing of violence to children. But no one [considered] the third problem-the marketing of mood-altering prescription drugs for children.

Source: How to Overthrow the Government, p.151-53 , Jul 2, 2000

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Other pundits on Crime: Arianna Huffington on other issues:

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Page last updated: Apr 29, 2021