Former Republican AR Governor; possible draft candidate
Drug courts reduce both cost & recidivism
Drug courts provide one example of tried & true reform. With drug courts, a nonviolent drug offender can be directed to enroll in drug treatment program with comprehensive and intensive supervision, particularly as they reenter the community. Naturally,
any violation of good behavior during this period results in prison. However, if the individual successfully completes drug rehabilitation and demonstrates responsible behavior over a period of time, the court would expunge that person's record.
When we instituted these reforms in Arkansas, we witnessed a significant drop in our recidivism rate. As an added benefit, drug court rehabilitation models, such as community based corrections, cost the state significantly less than incarceration--
less than $5 a day as compared to about $45 a day. Over time, these reforms saved taxpayers millions, while also allowing and empowering offenders with the opportunity to regain, restore, and rebuild their lives
Q: Has Mitt Romney said anything that’s untrue about you?
A: How long do we have on the program today? He’s said many things that are untrue. He said that I reduced methamphetamine sentences in Arkansas. Truth is I signed a bill in 1999 that doubled
those sentences. We did not reduce them. Our sentences were four times harsher than they were in Massachusetts. He said that I supported special breaks for illegal aliens. That’s not true. We supported simply giving children who had earned a scholarship
the same--it never happened, it didn’t make the legislature. He made allegations that our increased spending by ridiculous amounts, and The New York Times came back and defended that, and said that’s just simply not true.
And they took him apart and showed that the increases in spending were, frankly, the same if not a little better than his if you took into consideration the accounting methods we changed in Arkansas, very modest gains in spending.
More drug courts & rehab, instead of incarceration
We really don’t have so much a crime problem in this country. We have a drug and alcohol problem. 80% of the people who are in our prisons and jails are there for a drug or alcohol crime. They either were high or drunk when they committed the crime, or
they committed the crime to get high or drunk. And what has made a huge mistake is that we’ve incarcerated so many of the people who really need drug rehab more than they need long-term incarceration.
In our state, we established over
20 drug courts, that gave people an alternative course, rather than just putting them in prison, giving them the opportunity to get what they really needed, which is off the addiction. We’ve got to quit locking up all the people that we’re mad at
and lock up the people that we’re really afraid of, the people who are sexual predators and violent offenders. I would go for more drug courts and for a lot less incarceration of drug-addicted people.
A clash of worldviews is going to occur between those who think man is basically good and those who say man is basically self-centered.
How can we change a drug-addicted culture? Do we say, “If these people weren’t poor, or if they only knew what drugs
did, then they wouldn’t be doing this”? If so, you’d prepare a bunch of informational videos and explain the danger. And in fact, that is just what much of government has been doing. And has it worked? No. Will it ever work? No. Why not?
Because taking drugs appeals to the self-centered, pleasure-seeking people we are by nature.
If we’re convinced of that selfish nature, we take a different tack: “If you use drugs, we’re going to put you in jail and confiscate your car.”
We must come to see that our core problem is not a lack of education but a lack of righteousness. We don’t need more information as much as we need new hearts.
Supports drug courts for non-violent drug offendors
80% of all those incarcerated were there because of drugs or alcohol; and were drunk or high when they committed their crime, or committed the crime in order to get drunk or high. We don’t have a crime problem; we have a drug and alcohol problem.
While those who deal drugs and entice others into enslaving addictions deserve prison sentences, we end up locking away many non-violent drug users, some of whom spend longer periods in prison than they would if they committed a violent crime.
A major reform in dealing with drug offenders in Arkansas was the establishment of drug courts, where a non-violent drug offender could be directed to enroll in drug treatment programs or heavily supervised community service.
The recidivism rate dropped to 31%. More significantly, the cost per day was lower than that of prison, while at the same time allowing the offender to regain his or her life.
Indicate which principles you support to address crime.
Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
Support the .08 blood-alcohol-content limit defining drunk driving.
Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Source: 2002 AR Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test
, Nov 1, 2002
Treatment for drug use instead of incarceration
We’ll ask for drug courts to be expanded because it makes more sense to treat people with a drug problem rather than simply incarcerating them and putting them in a place where their problems are not dealt with. That’s one of our initiatives.
Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Arkansas legislature
, Jan 9, 2001
Informational videos don't work and never will
How can we change a drug-addicted culture? Do we say, "If these people weren't poor, or if they only knew what drugs did, then they wouldn't be doing this"? If so, you'd prepare a bunch of informational videos and explain the danger.
And in fact, that is just what much of government has been doing. And has it worked? No. Will it ever work? No. Why not? Because talking drugs appeals to the self-centered, pleasure-seeking people we are by nature.
If we're convinced of that selfish nature, we take a different tack: "If you use drugs, we're going to put you in jail for so long you won't even remember where you live. We are going to confiscate drugs. We're going to take your car, and if we
catch you dealing, we're going to try you and convict you and take your liberty away."
We must come to see that our core problem is not lack of education but lack of righteousness. We don't need more information as much as we need new hearts.
Curb supply by eradication; change attitudes to curb demand
In order to curb the flow of illegal drugs, we must work to [eradicate] the supply and at the same time diminish the demand by changing the public’s attitude toward drugs.
Source: Responses to Associated Press Questionnaire for AR Senate
, Nov 1, 1992
More federal funding for all aspects of Drug War.
Huckabee adopted the National Governors Association policy:
To reduce the presence of illegal drugs, drug-related organized crime, and the adverse effects of drug and alcohol abuse in society requires a comprehensive strategy involving federal, state, and local governments. The Governors believe that one of the most severe public health threats is the recent rise in substance abuse among children.
The Federal Role The profits from illicit drug trafficking can be effectively used to help state efforts to dry up the demand for these drugs. The nation’s Governors urge the President and Congress to fully fund drug and alcohol abuse education, drug courts, treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts, including the initiative to combat and clean up methamphetamine production laboratories, at the state and local levels of government.
Intensified Eradication and Interdiction Federal funding for use of the National Guard in drug and border enforcement deserves continued support. The Governors urge
the President and Congress to utilize the role of U.S. military forces in interdiction efforts.
High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program. The HIDTA program provides additional federal funds to those areas to help federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations invest in infrastructure and joint initiatives to dismantle drug trafficking organizations. Governors support the HIDTA initiative and urge Congress to continue supporting the program.
The Federal Role in Reducing International Drug Trafficking. The nation’s Governors urge the Administration and Congress to significantly tighten procedures for certifying foreign countries for eligibility to receive U.S. aid based on their cooperation with U.S. surveillance, interdiction, and eradication efforts.
Drug Legalization The nation’s Governors believe illicit drug legalization is not a viable alternative, either as a philosophy or as a practical reality.
Source: NGA policy HR-13: Combating and Controlling Substance Abuse 00-NGA2 on Aug 15, 2000