Joni Ernst slams progressive criminal reform policies: ‘Stop playing politics’
FIRST ON FOX – Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Wednesday will condemn progressive politicians for their criminal reform policies, which she argues have led to spikes in violent crime in major US cities.
“More and more felons are being released across the country as a result of permissive policies being pushed by progressive politicians and lenient district attorneys who view punishment as the real crime,” Ernst will say in her Wednesday remarks alongside Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Roy Blunt of Missouri.
The US murder rate reached a 25-year high in 2021, with more than 19,600 people killed nationwide, according to FBI data examined by data analyst Jeff Asher and shared by the New York Times. It’s the closest the nation has come to the high-crime scourge of the early ’90s.
Murders across 22 major US cities increased 44% in 2021 compared to 2019 and 5% compared to 2020. There were 218 more murders in the 22 cities in 2021 – a 44% increase compared to 2019, representing nearly 1,300 additional lives lost since three years ago, according to updated findings from the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), a nonpartisan criminal justice policy organization.
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The White House has pointed to COVID-19 and Republican votes against the American Rescue Plan as the reason behind crime spikes since 2019, but Republicans like Ernst say the issue lies with progressive criminal reform policies.
“It’s one thing to give first time, nonviolent offenders a second chance, but rewarding career criminals by letting them loose, and paying them an allowance, is itself criminal,” Ernst will say on the floor. “Democrats’ approach to criminal justice can be summed up as’ take no prisoners, ‘literally.”
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She plans to point to several high-profile crimes within the past year in which released criminals attacked innocent civilians, including the Waukesha parade attack suspect. Darrell Brooks made bail twice in 2021 despite having an active search warrant against him before he was charged with killing at least five people and injuring 48 just before Christmas.
“The Democrat district attorney has since admitted the release was ‘a mistake.’ Folks, we cannot afford any more of these ‘mistakes’ by public officials who are putting their personal political agenda ahead of protecting the public, “Ernst said during her speech.
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Ernst’s comments come as the White House and Democratic politicians ranging from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argues that overall crime rates are down because nonviolent crimes such as burglary have decreased in many major cities since 2019. Other commentators and journalists have insisted that spiking crime is a hoax or that there is no crime wave at all but a violence. wave.
But community violence and local violent crime statistics have been a topic of concern for local and national politicians, as well as police departments and national law enforcement organizations.
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Chicago Police reported that 2021 was the deadliest year in a quarter-century, with 797 homicides recorded – up 25 from 2020. Minneapolis Police reported 96 murders, just one killing short of surpassing 1995’s homicide record, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Murders in Los Angeles Last year reached 397, the highest that number has been in 15 years, according to the Los Angeles Times. The NYPD reported the highest number of murders in 10 years, with 488 reported in 2021
More than a dozen major US cities saw record homicide numbers in 2021, and Atlanta saw a 30-year record.
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Democratic politicians have argued that the non-prosecution of certain misdemeanor crimes and bail reform will decrease prison populations and help nonviolent or first-time offenders stay on the right path. Ernst and other Republicans say such policies are hurting communities by allowing future violent criminals to re-enter society.
“Progressive prosecutors need to stop playing politics and start doing their job… which is enforcing the law,” the Iowa senator will say. “Criminal penalties are not just suggestions, they are put in place to protect the public.”
Gadget Clock’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.
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