Rafael Mangual calls for tougher sentencing to combat Chicago's crime rate
Rafael Mangual believes Chicago’s criminal justice system is exacerbating Chicago’s crime rate by letting repeat offenders out too soon.
“Clearly the system is failing to incapacitate those most likely to commit serious violent crimes,” the deputy director for legal policy at the Manhattan Institute told Chicago City Wire. “I think serious consideration needs to be given to measures that would both make it harder for repeat offenders to get back on the street after an arrest, and that would keep convicted felons (particularly violent ones) in prison for longer terms.”
Although officials have recently pointed out that the city has seen fewer shootings and homicides in 2018, Chicago still struggles with gun violence in high-crime areas and approaching the numbers from a city-wide perspective only clouds the issue, Mangual said.
“Focusing on the city-wide murder rate in Chicago essentially masks how bad things are in the high-crime areas by including the very safe areas in the analysis, which skews the numbers,” he said.
Sixty-six people were shot — 12 fatally — in 33 separate incidents in Chicago last weekend. Fourteen of the victims were juveniles, including two 17-year-olds that were killed, CNN reported this week.
Mangual wrote about the recent mass shootings for the Manhattan Institute, where he also pointed out the need for longer sentences and “data-driven, proactive policing tactics” used in other major U.S. cities.
“This includes focusing resources in high-crime areas, which is something I understand the city is already trying to do,” he said. “In Chicago's case, with a department that's only about 12,000-13,000 strong, it's also probably going to take a significant increase in the number of cops on the street.”
While some believe longer sentences won’t deter crime or reduce recidivism, Mangual points to facts and simple logic to bolster his argument.
“A recent study out of the University of Chicago showed that, on average, someone arrested for a homicide or shooting had about 12 prior arrests. Almost 20 percent had more than 20,” he said. “One thing we do know is that someone who's behind bars can't do a drive-by at a barbecue.”