John Kasich on Crime
Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 candidate for President
Kasich "appreciates the gravity of this authority and therefore carefully considers these cases to make decisions that further justice," said a spokesman. Ohio resumed executions in 1999 under Gov. Bob Taft after a 36-year gap. Taft said he's now opposed to capital punishment except in the most severe cases.
Sparing inmates is not the political death knell it might have been in decades past, thanks to concerns about innocence raised by DNA testing and the role of severe mental illness on some offenders' behavior. "Kasich's decisions to commute reflect a societal shift away from an unquestioning belief in the value of the death penalty or at least the value in every case," said a University of Dayton law professor.
So when Kasich met with The Post's editorial board, I had one question: When you hear the phrase "Black lives matter," what do you hear? "Well, what I hear is that there are people that are in this country who think the system not only doesn't work for them," he said, "but it works against them."
Kasich then unleashed a torrent of information on everything he had done for the African American community. There was the commission to heal the fractured trust between police and people of color. He talked about efforts to reform the schools and welfare. And he boasted about signing a law to "ban the box" and reducing prison recidivism.
What struck me as a breath of fresh air was really Kasich being consistent. What he told us was in keeping with what he has been saying for months now, [like this excerpt from a] CNN interview last August]: "Black lives matter, especially now, because there's a fear in these communities that, you know, justice isn't working for them. But it's about balance. The community has to understand the challenges of police, and the police have to understand the challenges of the community."
There's something about that "especially now" that reveals a person who heard his constituents and understands their fears and concerns. This is exactly where the Republican Party ought to be in 2016. Working on tough issues and expanding the reach of the GOP while adhering to its conservative principles.
Earlier this month, the Ohio Senate voted overwhelmingly, on a 32-1 vote, to "ban the box" for public-sector jobs. Under the bill, a public employer would still be allowed to do a background check and reject applicants with recent or relevant offenses. But the record check gets done later in the process, usually after an interview. The bill does not apply to people seeking private employment.
Kasich earlier instructed the state's human resources department to "ban the box" in June, by voluntarily adopting the Ohio Justice & Policy Center and Ohio Organizing Collaborative's recommendations.
A: Well, it relates to things like early childhood education, poor kids, people who are in prison, giving them a chance to get their lives back if they want to earn their way there. But let me say that I knew that, number one, we would save money by taking people out of prison and letting them get a job where they could become a taxpayer. To me conservatism is giving everybody a chance to be able to be successful.
A: We came out with a unanimous recommendation to create a statewide policy on the use of deadly force, and examination and recruiting and hiring practices [amongst police forces]. And now it is really critical that the community understands the challenges of police and that police can understand what is going on inside the community.
KASICH: I don't agree with that. Look, we're just looking for the drugs that we need to administer it. And in this debate, sometimes we forget the victims. Listen, I review all these cases. And to some people I've said we will let them stay for life in prison if I wasn't certain of who did what. But I've had these grieving families come to see me. And look, it's about justice. It isn't about revenge, it's about justice. And I support the death penalty and will continue to do that, because a lot of times, families want closure when they see justice done.
Q: What about religious objection to the death penalty?
KASICH: I think it's consistent with my Catholic faith. If I didn't, I'd have to exorcise it. But look, at the end of the day, I'm also a secular official, right? I'm also the governor. Now, it doesn't mean that my faith doesn't influence me. But I have a job to do as administrator of the state of Ohio.
KASICH: Well, regardless of whether the verdict was right or wrong, the people of Cleveland should be proud of themselves for being a model of non-violent protest. When there are large numbers of people who do not think the system works for them, we have to respond to it. That's why I created a task force on integration police into the community. And there were two recommendations up front: a policy regarding the use of deadly force, statewide in Ohio, and secondly research into the recruiting and enrollment of minority police officers. We've got to make sure that people in these communities know that there's an opportunity for them that there is hope, that people and authority are listening, that there will be solid responses.
What strength! What conviction! What courage!
We kept coming back to the ghastly reality that this young woman in Colorado was promptly shot for her conviction. We sat in awe of this young woman.
Yes, true courage only surfaces when you're put to a test, and we were only considering that test in theory. It wasn't real; it was metaphor. To that poor girl at that Colorado high school, though, the heat from the fiery furnace was all too real. And the difference was everything.
And let's not forget that justice doesn't always happen here on earth. When we think in our own minds that somebody is getting away with something he shouldn't or that a certain punishment wasn't severe enough to fit the crime, we get frustrated. Sometimes we see justice on this side of the grave, but I have the faith to believe that the ultimate judge, the highest judge, will bring justice in the long run.
But that's justice--sometimes now but many times later.
In 1990 the city of New York decided to open a number of "Beacon Schools." The idea was to redesign existing schools to become multi-service centers that would be open afternoons and evenings, every day of the year. The Beacon Schools were part of a "Cops & Kids Plan" that would also put more police on the street.
"It was a sound strategy," Geoff says. "This isn't rocket science. You put more police on the street and you give kids more positive options."
[Now, Geoff's] community center offers a variety of services, including job training and karate services. Tough discipline is basic to the program. The violence outside cannot be allowed in. The school is a beacon for all that is good in the community, and naturally they are resented by the drug dealers who used to control the block.
The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.
The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Capital punishment for certain crimes, such as first degree murder & terrorism"
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Taking Back Our Streets Act:
An anti-crime package including stronger truth in sentencing, “good faith” exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer’s crime bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.