Commentary

AOC Says We Can Solve Violent Crime if We Just 'Stop Building' Jails

If you don’t build it, they’ll still come.

This fact about jails is apparently lost on Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who gave a speech Thursday in which she posited the answer to crime was to “stop building” jails. Not only did she refuse to backtrack from this absurdity, she quote-tweeted the video of her saying it.

According to Fox News, AOC and other fellow New York Democrats — notably Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Jamaal Bowman — called upon Congress to appropriate $400,000 for a program called “Stand Up To Violence.”

This isn’t unusually stupid, if probably misguided; according to WCBS-TV, the program is run out of the Bronx’s Jacobi Medical Center and uses a combination of community outreach and medical intervention to try to curb gun violence. The idea is that addressing public health factors is the way to curb New York City’s skyrocketing violent crime rate, not imprisonment. It just so happens the hospital happens to be in AOC’s district, which I’m sure has nothing to do with this.

That’s all great, but it’s worth noting the program existed as the violent crime rate skyrocketed, which makes the logic a bit of a hard sell. The pitch didn’t get much better with AOC’s argument that not only was it “not acceptable” to use jails and prisons as “garbage bins,” but maybe we ought to quit building them in the first place.

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“If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“The answer is to make sure that we actually build more hospitals, we pay organizers, we get people mental health care and overall health care, employment, etc. It’s to support communities, not throw them away.”

Well, there’s a clip I’d want to hide. Instead, here was Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter amplifying those remarks, just in case you missed them.

“Right here in the Bronx, our community developed a successful approach to reducing violence,” she tweeted Thursday.

“It starts at the hospital after an incident. We bring in psych Drs & folks who turned their *own* lives around to work w/ youth.

“It’s reduced reoccurrence of violence by more than 50%.”

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“It’s called Stand Up to Violence (SUV), a cutting edge program run out of [Jacobi Medical Center] (a PUBLIC hospital!), and it is hands down one of the most effective treatments we‘ve seen to reduce incidents of violence like shootings and stabbings,” she continued. “I’m asking for fed resources to grow it.”

That’s all fantastic, but what’s the one thing you hear? A: “If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them.”

This is incoherent and contrafactual.

Does NYC need to crack down on crime?

Fox News reported that in May, New York City saw an 86 percent increase in shooting incidents. This wasn’t because either the city or state of New York had too much prison room. In fact, given that both have opened the carcereal doors due to COVID-19 and bail reform legislation that severely limits the ability of jurisdictions to hold individuals for anything other than violent felonies — this includes hate crimes — supply far outstrips demand in New York’s penal real-estate market.

It hasn’t been a good week for the Notorious AOC.

On Wednesday, she tweeted pictures of the squalid conditions her grandmother was living in down in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria — all because, she claimed, former President Donald Trump and his allies blocked aid in the aftermath of the 2017 storm.

After it was pointed out that, in the interim, she had been elected to Congress and had a six-figure job which allowed her to fix her abuela’s roof (and then some), she accused those who pointed this out of cultural insensitivity and then seemed to admit that fixing these conditions would eliminate the argument she was trying to make, you colonizer.

Well, I’m convinced. Matt Walsh would go on to start a GoFundMe for AOC’s abuela, something her nieta could have done four years ago — or anytime in the interim, for that matter.

Stand Up to Violence may indeed work, although without further evidence I’ll fall back on the genetic fallacy and assume that, given the source, it’s just as effective as showing offenders a YouTube clip of “Gee, Officer Krupke” from the film adaptation of “West Side Story.”

As for not building prisons to stop crime, that doesn’t work — something we know from the fact that New York opened its prison doors and crime went up. This may be the dumbest idea AOC has ever had, and that’s saying something.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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