In a August 1 Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal progressive hedge-fund billionaire George Soros explained why he has been bankrolling the elections of what he calls “reform” prosecutors over the past eight years. Telling us that our criminal justice system is “rife with injustices,” Soros points to the fact that “black people in the U.S. are five times more likely to be sent to jail as white people.” He complains that America sends too many people to jail and that “we need to invest more in preventing crime with strategies that work—deploying mental-health professionals in crisis situations, investing in youth job programs, and creating opportunities for education behind bars.” He credits the “reform-minded prosecutors” he helped elect for implementing an agenda which focuses “the resources of the criminal justice system to protect the people against violent crime….and seeks to end the criminalization of poverty and mental illness.”
Soros tells us that “this agenda, aiming at both safety and justice, is based on common sense and evidence. It’s popular. It’s effective.”
The claim that the criminal justice system is racist is false. Blacks commit homicides at a rate almost eight times higher than whites and over 90% of the victims of black murderers are other blacks. A 2014 report by the National Academies of Sciences found that “racial bias and discrimination are not the primary cause of disparities in sentencing decision or rates of imprisonment,” when commission rates, prior records and personal characteristics are taken into account. For you recent Ivy League graduates this means; the members of racial groups that commit a disproportionate number of crimes are disproportionately arrested, convicted and sentenced, compared to other racial groups which commit fewer crimes. Since the George Floyd riots in 2020, the nightly news now treats us to daily security camera video of random violent assaults, shootings, looting and carjackings in cities across America. What color are the vast majority of offenders? It is often Soros-backed racial justice reforms and District Attorneys that allowed these offenders to be released back to streets shortly after a prior arrest.
This Op-ed could have been lifted from a speech by the Los Angeles head of the ACLU in 1970. The claims of injustice, racism, harsh sentencing and need to substitute programs and treatment for consequences, are the same ones made then by pro-criminal groups to support criminal justice reforms. Nationally those reforms contributed to two decades of dramatically increased crime an violence. California, which enthusiastically embraced these reforms, saw a 120% increase in violent crime and a 72% increase in homicides from 1970-1990. In New York, which also adopted reforms, violent crime rose by 72%. while homicides increased by over 83%. Crime increased almost everywhere in America while the nation experimented with the reform agenda Soros now advocates.
Regarding the popularity of the Soros reform agenda. The recent elections of Virginia’s Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General, all of whom promised to restore law and order, along with the rejection of the BLM measure to disband the police department in Minneapolis and the election of a pro-law enforcement Mayor, City Attorney and a key City Council member in the progressive city of Seattle suggest that the public is turning on the reformers. The 60% of San Francisco voters who threw Soros-backed District Attorney Chesa Boudin out of office in June did not consider his reforms popular or effective. The 717,000 Los Angeles voters who signed petitions to recall Soros-financed DA George Gascon felt the same way.
Through his Open Society Foundations’ (there are three) funding a network of non-profit “527” groups spread across the country, Soros was the largest contributor by far to the campaigns of Chicago States Attorney Kim Fox, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, among others. Soros was the largest contributor to California’s Proposition 47, which decriminalized theft, drug dealing and most other public order offenses. He was also the largest contributor to Jerry Brown’s Proposition 57, which is currently providing the Newsom Administration with cover to release some 76,000 habitual felons after serving from 1/3 to 1/2 their sentences. This includes murderers and sex offenders.
Soros may actually believe that what he’s doing is helping the country. He never goes to the neighborhoods where there are daily shootings, beatings and stabbings. I doubt that he’s spent any time in a big city emergency room to see the carnage caused by the criminals he wants to help. But if someone gave me billions of dollars to destroy the American criminal justice system, I can’t think of anything I’d do differently.