criminal justice reform

The latest chapter in the unfolding scandal of the American criminal justice system

Michael Gerson, Washington Post

There are several good reasons to care what happens in U.S. jails and prisons. First, this is a social stress test of sorts, measuring our commitment to human dignity. Second, because most prisoners — numbering more than 700,000 each year — will come back to communities. Third,  there are more lives and futures at stake than that of any one prisoner. There are about 2.7 million children with an incarcerated mother or father. Those seeking a more just society should also care about the quality of Christmas morning for an inmate’s child.

Getting to Yes on FIRST STEP

The Editors, National Review

We are far more skeptical of “justice reform” than are many on the left, and even many on the right. Our sympathies lie first and foremost with the victims of crime, not with those who commit it. But FIRST STEP, with Cruz’s amendment as he has described it, focuses specifically on the aspects of the federal system that that are overly punitive, sometimes horrifyingly so. Congress should comb through the final text looking for any outstanding issues, fix them as needed, and pass it.

The conservative case for criminal justice reform

L. Brent Bozell III, Washington Times

The First Step Act would allow more prisoners to improve their lives sooner, with the potential for thousands to become productive citizens after the end of their sentences. Not surprisingly, more ex-convicts not returning to criminal activity after release has resulted in falling crime rates in a number of states. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that a vote on this bill might not be possible this year. Why not? Some predict this bill could get 65 or more votes and could prove to be one of the most popular pieces of successful legislation in recent memory.

Trump is right to embrace criminal justice reform

Editors, Washington Examiner

On Wednesday, Trump signaled his full-throated support for a bipartisan bill called the First Step Act, which would reform federal prison and re-entry procedures while also modestly scaling back mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug felons. There is a congressional majority in favor of criminal justice reform. Trump should step forward, work with Democrats of good will, and sign into law a bipartisan bill to reform prisons and sentencing. It’s great politics. And all politics aside, it’s also the right thing to do.

Conservative Leader Brent Bozell Joins Right on Crime Movement

Bozell signed-on with more than 60 conservative leaders in endorsing Right on Crime, a national campaign of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in partnership with the American Conservative Union Foundation and Justice Fellowship that supports fighting crime, prioritizing victims, and protecting taxpayers.

On Criminal Justice Reform, Ted Cruz Is Smarter Than Hillary Clinton

Jacob Sullum, Reason

Yesterday the Brennan Center for Justice published an essay collection that highlights both the emerging bipartisan consensus in favor of criminal justice reform and the vacuousness of some politicians who claim to support that cause. The book, titled Solutions: American Leaders Speak Out on Criminal Justice, features worthy and substantive contributions from, among others, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and then there are former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who either support policies that contribute to overincarceration and excessive punishment, fail to acknowledge their past support for such policies, or have nothing specific to say about how to correct those policies.

Charles Koch's Crusade For Prison Reform

Roy Wenzlthe, Wichita Eagle

Charles Koch’s views on criminal justice system just may surprise you. After studying the U.S. criminal justice system, Charles Koch concluded that there are too many laws and too many prosecutions of nonviolent offenders.

Conservative Opposition to Panetti Death Penalty Intensifies

As the hours tick away towards the scheduled execution of severely mentally ill murderer Scott Panetti conservatives continue to work to stop the execution.

Conservative Leaders Ask Gov. Perry to Spare Life of Severely Mentally Ill Man

UPDATE: A federal appeals court has postponed Scott Panetti's Dec. 3 execution to consider arguments by his lawyers that he's too mentally ill to be put to death, ccording to a 5:15 p.m. report by the Wall Street Journal.

“It is clear that [Panetti] has been suffering from severe mental illness since long before he committed the offense that landed him on death row. As conservatives, we must be on guard that such an extraordinary government sanction not be used against a person who is mentally incapable of rational thought. It would be immoral for the government to take this man’s life."

O Uses Ferguson To Demand Changes In Criminal Law

Neil Munro, Daily Caller

“There are good people on all sides of this debate… who are interested in working with this administration and local and state officials to start tackling much-needed criminal justice reform,” Obama said.

Rand Paul Slams GOP on Minorities, Voting

Katie Gluek, Politico

Sen. Rand Paul blasted his own party for making it tougher for minorities to vote. Paul has long argued that drug laws disproportionately affect minorities and has also championed restoring voting rights for some non-violent felons. 

An Opening for Bipartisanship on Prison Reform

Newt Gingrich and Pat Nolan, Wall Street Journal

Most federal inmates are not violent offenders, and prison costs are projected to reach $6.9 billion in fiscal 2014.

Conservatives Increasingly, Properly Concerned About Death Penalty

Deacon Keith A Fournier, Catholic Online

It is time for a National discussion of the death penalty for many reasons. Richard Viguerie is right.

Conservatives Lead by Reducing Crime, Saving Money

More state leaders are beginning to realize that criminal justice reform is a viable remedy for crime-ridden communities and bloated state budgets. Conservatives gathered recently in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to effectively spread the message that reforms are consistent with conservative principles of reducing crime, saving taxpayer money, and protecting family values.

Obama Aims to Give Clemency to More Drug Offenders

Sandy Fitzgerald, Newsmax

Nonviolent drug convicts who have served long sentences could leave prison sooner, as President Barack Obama plans to consider additional clemency applications, Attorney General Eric Holder said.

Eric Holder Pushes Reduced Drug Sentences

Brian Hughes, Washington Examiner

A.G. Eric Holder endorsed shorter prison sentences for most drug offenders, saying the U.S. was wasting money on overcrowded jails and that the stiffest penalties should be reserved for violent crimes.

Progress on Prison Reform

Quin Hillyer, National Review Online

Conservatives would do well to provide opportunity and means for marginalized citizens to improve their lots in life with prison reform. The new task force on federal corrections might help make important strides in one front of this battle.

End Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

George Will, Newsmax

The policy of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses has empowered the government to effectively nullify the constitutional right to a trial.

Conservatives vs. The Death Penalty

Dallas Morning News Opinion Staff

“Conservatives have every reason to believe the death penalty system is no different from any politicized, costly, inefficient, bureaucratic, government-run operation, which we conservatives know are rife with injustice. But here the end result is the end of someone’s life,” stated CHQ chairman Richard Viguerie.

Paul: Harsh Sentencing Hurts Blacks

Sen. Rand Paul, Washington Times

Nearly 1 million blacks can't vote due to harsh prison sentences for non-violent crimes. Rand Paul is doing everything in his power to change that.