Aug 17, 2016    |    Blog Post

ICYMI: Conservatives Continue to Lead on Criminal Justice Reform

Even while Congress is in recess, conservative leaders continue to speak out in support of common-sense criminal justice reform efforts that will save taxpayers money while making communities safer.

Click Here to watch Koch Industries General Counsel Mark Holden on MSNBC’s Morning Joe yesterday morning discussing why they are helping to lead the fight for criminal justice reform.  And note his recent op-ed in the Washington Post as well:

  • “Stoking False Fear About Crime Will Not Bring Or Preserve Law And Order.”  “As two strong conservatives let us set the record straight… [S]toking false fear about crime will not bring or preserve ‘law and order.’  That’s why the nation’s most prominent police and prosecutor groups, representing 30,000 law enforcement officials, wrote to Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the eve of the conventions to urge them to take a data-driven, modern approach to crime – one that targets violent crime while reducing the unnecessary incarceration of low-level offenders.  States that have employed these practices have seen crime and incarceration fall together, which preserves resources for law enforcement.”  (Mark Holden & Ronal Serpas Op-Ed, “Don’t Buy the Hype: The U.S. is not Experiencing a Terrible New Crime Wave,Washington Post, 8/11/2016)
  • “We Need To Rely On Facts Not Fear.” “Law enforcement isn’t the only entity that’s changed its stance on crime policy after decades of seeing what has and hasn’t worked.  Many conservative leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich agree.  The Republican Party platform has also adopted a similar approach…. If we care about law and order and changing the dire conditions in cities where violent crime is a perpetuating cycle, we need to rely on facts, not fear.”  (Mark Holden & Ronal Serpas Op-Ed, “Don’t Buy the Hype: The U.S. is not Experiencing a Terrible New Crime Wave,Washington Post, 8/11/2016)

Meanwhile, Politico Playbook reports this morning that the conservative group Freedom Partners is also pushing for broad action on criminal justice reform.  Read their full letter here

  • “Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce urged its members [Monday] to adopt a hiring policy known as ‘banning the box,’ a move that would ‘delay the question of whether applicants have a criminal record to later in the recruitment and interview process.’ The effort is part of a broader Freedom Partners initiative to encourage comprehensive criminal justice reforms at the state and federal levels, and comes amidst reports that the House of Representatives may take up criminal justice reform legislation this fall.”  (Jake Sherman & Anna Palmer, Politico Playbook, Politico, 8/15/2016)

Lastly, in the wake of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s overwhelming primary victory in Wisconsin last week, take note of this op-ed by the U.S. Justice Action Network:

  • Criminal Justice Reform Attacks Backfired Badly On Ryan’s Primary Opponent.  “House Speaker Paul Ryan’s primary opponent, Paul Nehlen frequently attacks Ryan’s support for criminal justice reform.  Nehlen accused Ryan of pushing Obama’s agenda on jailbreak criminal justice reform policies. Not only was Nehlen’s narrative wrong, his political calculus was flawed.  Ryan clobbered him on Election Day, winning the primary with more than 80 percent of the vote. This isn’t the first time justice reform opponents, clinging to the old school thought that “tough on crime” rhetoric still sells with voters, have attempted to use their opposition to these reforms for political benefit.  What they got was the opposite, and here’s why.”  (Holly Harris & Andrew Howard Op-Ed, “Ryan’s Victory Trumps Justice Reform Opponents,The Hill, 8/15/2016)
  • It Is Conservatives In Big Red States Who Have Led The Way On Criminal Justice Reform.  “First and foremost, it is conservatives in big red states like Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina who have led the way on justice reform issues for a decade. These efforts yielded great success in safely reducing the prison population, saving significant taxpayer resources, and most importantly lowering crime and recidivism rates. Texas Governor Rick Perry, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin are just a few of the conservative leaders who are the most ardent champions of, and effective spokespersons for, criminal justice reform.  Given all the state successes, President Obama’s support is actually a bit late to the party.”  (Holly Harris & Andrew Howard Op-Ed, “Ryan’s Victory Trumps Justice Reform Opponents,The Hill, 8/15/2016)

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