Criminal Justice

Everyone wants to feel safe in their homes and walking the streets. Of all of government’s functions, maintaining law and order has as much universal support as anything. However, here too central government management can be plagued by waste, incompetence, and corruption. Furthermore, the police power, being a foundational element of the government’s nature as a coercive entity, prompted the Founding Fathers to worry about potential abuses even in this widely supported role for government. They saw the Bill of Rights as important exactly because the authority held by police and courts was so formidable that the danger to liberty of an overbearing and out-of-control justice system could never be ignored.

Over the years, the federal government has appropriated increasing authority over law, order, and public safety from the states and from free communities. In the course of doing so, it has further criminalized a wide range of activities that used to be handled through local governments, civil society, families, and churches. So-called “victimless crime” laws, gun control measures, and the nationalization and militarization of police and erosion of due process standards that have accompanied the war on drugs and war on terrorism have posed serious threats to American freedom. Tens of billions of dollars could be saved by restoring the federal government to its much more limited constitutional role in law enforcement, and precious liberties could be spared if we took a hard look at the way government management of justice and public safety has often made us less secure and less free.

Learn more about Criminal Justice System problems and solutions:

“The Criminology of Firearms”
Don B. Kates Jr. (The Jurist) February 27, 2013

“The Justice System’s Imprisoned Victims”
Anthony Gregory (The Huffington Post) October 3, 2012

“The Bounty Hunter’s Pursuit of Justice”
Alexander T. Tabarrok (The Wilson Quarterly) January 12, 2011

“On the Nomination of Eric H. Holder, Jr., for Attorney General of the United States”
Stephen P. Halbrook (Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee) January 16, 2009

“The Real Reason for Prison Overcrowding”
Anthony Gregory (Contra Costa Times) July 26, 2006

“Prosecutors Are Rewarded for Convictions, Not Justice”
Edward P. Stringham (The Washington Times) May 22, 2007

“The Benefits of Privatized Crime Control”
Bruce L. Benson; August 20, 1999

See Also:

The Independent Institute’s Archive on Law Enforcement
The Independent Institute’s Archive on Crime
The Independent Institute’s Archive on Gun Control
The Independent Institute’s Archive on Drugs (Illicit)