Crime cannot go unpunished: If people are shielded from the consequences of their actions, there is no incentive to improve. Conservatives understand that accountability is vital to a criminal justice system focused on public safety: Crime decreases when law enforcement is visible in the community and people know there will be consequences for their actions. Judges need the flexibility and tools to provide meaningful consequences to those who run afoul of the law and, where appropriate, incentives to inspire future good behavior.
More than a hefty sentence, the greatest crime deterrent is a person’s perception of the probability they’ll get caught. When prosecutors categorically decline to prosecute certain crimes, law enforcement are discouraged from making arrests for those crimes and it emboldens criminals. Conservatives understand that for the system to work, that people thinking about committing crimes and our police need to know there will be accountability for those who break the law.