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Mike Lee: ‘There is a high human cost that comes from warehousing people’

December 19, 2018

GOP Sen. Mike Lee urged those concerned about criminal justice reform to look past their fear and the costs and instead focus on the human impact, according to a recent interview he gave on The Washington Times’ “The Capitol Hill Show.”

Mr. Lee of Utah explained during the Friday show that financially, there is a burden on the government when it comes to the criminal justice system.

The money that the government spends on securing a high number of prisoners means there is less to spend on other measures of public safety, he said.

However, Mr. Lee stressed the impact the criminal justice system has on families when they can be separated “for decades at a time” is just as important.

“There is a high human cost that comes from warehousing people,” he said. “It’s not just the financial cost.”

On Tuesday night, the Senate passed a massive comprehensive prison reform bill that would emphasize keeping inmates close with families, cut sentences for thousands and push programs aimed at preventing prisoners from reentering the system.

The bill heads to the House, where it will likely be voted on this week.

Some critics are concerned that the bill allows too many people out of prison, signaling that the U.S. is backing down on law enforcement, but the Utah senator denied that was the case.

“You can’t be smart on crime unless you’re tough on crime,” Mr. Lee said.

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