Analyst: Preckwinkle's 'thinking on crime is wrongheaded in every important respect'
Rafael A. Mangual says he wonders if Chicago would be in good hands with Toni Preckwinkle as its next mayor.
The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research fellow and deputy director says his fears came crashing to the fore during a recent chance occurrence with the current Cook County Board president at the center.
“In terms of stats, Chicago just jumps out for its level of danger and need for criminal reforms,” Mangual told the Chicago City Wire. “Then I recently saw coverage of her criminal justice plan and walked away thinking it was all wrong for the city and would make it even less safe."
Mangual shared his thoughts in a Feb. 8 City Journal op-ed in which he reasoned Preckwinkle’s position on crime “is wrongheaded in every important respect, reflecting a fundamental misunderstanding of what’s driving crime and what to do about it.”
Mangual added that the 15 points in Preckwinkle’s “Building a Safer Chicago” criminal justice plan misses the mark by miscasting the root of most of the city’s issues and deriving from the premise that most of the city’s crime rate is driven by overincarceration of individuals for nonviolent offenses and a lack of viable opportunities.
“A big part of the problem is the way city and state officials fail to hold repeat offenders accountable,” he said. “For too long, the system has been much too lenient on this sector, yet all the rhetoric is buying into this narrative that the system is too harsh. The cost of being too lenient reflects what we’re seeing with all the repeat offenders.”
Mangual also laments what he says is the way Preckwinkle blames everyone for the city’s crime rate except the criminals that commit the offenses. He takes even greater offense to what he sees as her growing habit of castigating the Chicago Police Department as largely ineffective.
“If you look at the long records of many of the repeat offenders, you can tell police are actually doing a pretty good job of arresting people for serious crimes,” he said. “The cops I talked to are really frustrated by all the instances where they take criminals off the street and a few weeks later they’re right back in the neighborhoods. One way to combat that is to get tighter on who we grant bail to. As it is, you’re constantly seeing people appear in court while they still have other charges pending.”
Finally, Mangual said, reform in sentencing has to be part of the reform equation.
“We have to make sure that people who are sentenced are serving a greater portion of them (their sentences),” he said. “The cost for anything short of that is now being felt by all the people on the south and west sides of the city.”