Jul 8, 2016    |    Blog Post

Conservatives Are Leading On Criminal Justice Reform

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Conservatives Are Leading On Criminal Justice Reform

From The Halls Of Congress To State Capitols, Conservatives Are Leading On Criminal Justice Reform

Click Here To Watch A Briefing On Capitol Hill This Week By Conservative Leaders On The Importance Of Passing Federal Reform Of The Criminal Justice System. “Panelists used examples of methods used by conservative state governments in efforts to lower costs to taxpayers, preserve families, and prioritize victims while enhancing public safety. This briefing, ‘The Success of Conservative Criminal Justice Reform,’ was held in the Rayburn House Office Building by Right On Crime, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation in cooperation with the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Prison Fellowship.”

Norquist: Criminal Justice Reform Has Grown From Republican And Conservative States. “Conservative activist Grover Norquist argued Tuesday that nobody would have taken criminal justice reform seriously if it had only been advanced by the Left, without help from conservatives….’It grows out from the red states, from the Republican and conservative states,’ said Norquist. He noted that Texas was the first to tackle civil asset forfeiture, over-criminalization, mens rea and licensing issues that prevent felons from obtaining legitimate employment.” (Mariana Barillas, “Norquist: Criminal Justice Reform Dies Without Conservatives, Washington Examiner, 7/6/16)

  • Criminal Justice Reform “A Wonderful Opportunity For Conservatives To Message.” “After red states were able to successfully implement these ‘very good conservative positions’ without politicians losing elections over the issue, other states began to follow suit. ‘It’s been a wonderful opportunity for conservatives to message, ‘I care and to mean it,” said Norquist, adding that the right should consider it as the model for future public policy reform efforts.” (Mariana Barillas, “Norquist: Criminal Justice Reform Dies Without Conservatives, Washington Examiner, 7/6/16)

Conservative-Leaning States Continue To Lead The Way On Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

Kentucky Republican Governor Matt Bevin: “Kentucky Needs Criminal Justice Reform.” “We can no longer afford to cling to the outdated idea that prison is the only way to effectively hold people accountable for their crimes. Instead, we need to take a smarter, more measured approach to criminal justice…. Our penal code has become a patchwork of disproportionate laws, resulting in a costly expansion of government with diminishing returns in public safety. The penal code must be revised with an eye toward clarity and simplification – returning to provisions that are rational and consistent.’ (Gov. Matt Bevin Op-Ed, “Kentucky Needs Criminal Justice Reform,” Courier-Journal, 7/1/16)

  • Bevin: “More Than 30 States” Have Now Passed Criminal Justice Reform. “Across this nation, policymakers are taking a bipartisan approach to criminal justice reform, with more than 30 states passing legislation proven to trim wasteful spending, lower recidivism, cut crime rates and improve public safety.” (Gov. Matt Bevin Op-Ed, “Kentucky Needs Criminal Justice Reform,” Courier-Journal, 7/1/16)

Mississippi State Sen. Brice Wiggins Noted That His State Became A Leader In Criminal Justice Reform After “A Coalition Of Policymakers Throughout The Nation” Came Together To “Draft Comprehensive Reform Legislation That Would Push Mississippi’s Criminal Justice System Into The 21st Century.” “These facts are best described with two words: Broken and inefficient. This inefficiency of the state government led to a coalition of policymakers throughout the nation, including former Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and President Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, coming together through the Texas Public Policy Institute and Right on Crime, to draft comprehensive reform legislation that would push Mississippi’s criminal justice system into the 21st century. The result? Along with Texas, Mississippi has become a leader in criminal justice reform.” (Brice Wiggins, “Mississippi’s ‘Laboratory Of Democracy’ Deserves Notice,” Sun Herald, 6/28/16)

  • After The Passage Of The Legislation, Mississippi Jumped From “The Second Highest Imprisonment Rate To Fifth In The Nation… A Testament To The Efficiency Of The Policy Package That Improved The Overall Public Safety Of Mississippi.” “Six months after the passage, Mississippi had fallen to the fifth highest imprisonment rate in the country and continues to drop. This significant jump from the second highest imprisonment rate to fifth in the nation is a testament to the efficiency of the policy package that improved the overall public safety of Mississippi. By refocusing the state’s supervision resources on high-risk re-offenders, implementing evidence-based corrections practices and providing adequate preparation for offenders to re-enter society as law-abiding citizens, the state was able to accomplish the following things in regards to improving public safety.” (Brice Wiggins, “Mississippi’s ‘Laboratory Of Democracy’ Deserves Notice,” Sun Herald, 6/28/16)
  • Wiggins: “The Bottom Line Is That This Pioneering Criminal Justice System Has Proven To Work In Mississippi, Texas And Other Conservative Red States.” “The bottom line is that this pioneering criminal justice system has proven to work in Mississippi, Texas and other conservative red states. As conservatives, we pride ourselves on valuing the states as ‘laboratories of democracy.’ Take a bottom-up approach to governing and borrow from proven programs in the states. Is that not what we ask of our conservative leaders in Congress? Implementing criminal justice reform pioneered in Mississippi, Texas and other states is the right thing to do for the public safety and well-being of all Americans.” (Brice Wiggins, “Mississippi’s ‘Laboratory Of Democracy’ Deserves Notice,” Sun Herald, 6/28/16)

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