Prison Turns Tough on Crime Congressman into Reform Supporter

Former California Congressman Duke Cunningham was known for being tough on crime while serving as a legislator. Now, he’s known for taking bribes – a crime for which he is serving 8 years in prison. In the abstract, being tough on crime (and particularly defendants) seemed easy to Duke. But now that he has personal experience, and has met the people his policies impacted (and the lives he ruined) Duke is singing a different tune.

“I didn’t know jack weenie about what people were going through in here,” Cunningham said in an interview this month with The San Diego Union Tribune.

It’s amazing what a little knowledge can do. The article says it well:

In an ideal world, of course, it wouldn’t take firsthand experience in a prison cell for someone like Cunningham to be able to empathize with those individuals who make up the U.S.’s massive prison population, which weighs in at a record-breaking 2.3 million souls. But having lived a life of privilege, spared even the indignity of having to go through airport security, Cunningham and other members of Congress typically never come in contact with the same criminal justice system as their constituents. Prison is for other people — bad people — not the political and economic elite, which makes it all the easier on one’s conscience to send people there. Not having experienced injustice at the hands of the system themselves, it’s easy to pretend those behind bars are all there because they’re guilty — and because they deserve to be there, damn it.

Here’s to hoping for ideal worlds. But I have a feeling that Duke’s revelation will have little impact on sentencing nationwide. But wars are fought one battle at a time, and you never know which victory will be decisive. So congratulations to Duke Cunningham for opening his eyes and seeing something uncomfortable but important. And here’s to hoping that we don’t need to send our entire congressional delegation to jail to bring about some changes.

Call Now for a Free Case Review and Consultation
(406) 752-6373

or Click Here to Contact me Online