“Prison Reform is Bigger in Texas”

ROC signatories Jerry Madden, Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich sit down with The Daily Beast to discuss the origins of the criminal justice reform movement in Texas.

“Traditionally, the politics [of prison reform] were that conservatives said ‘tough on crime’ and ‘the longer you put people in prison, the better,’” Norquist told me. “Over time, the cost of prisons, the cost of the judicial system, the length of some of the mandatory minimums that were being thrown out, got to be such that conservatives started saying ‘Wait a minute, if we’re trying to reduce crime, are we doing this in the most cost-effective way? Are there better ways to approach this?’” Click here to read more.

This article also appeared in Yahoo! News.

Marc Levin: Remember and empower victims of crime

While crime has been declining for two decades, 1 in 14 Americans experienced a property crime and 1 in 40 a violent crime during 2012. To pay tribute to victims and survivors, the federal government has designated April 6 to 12, 2014 as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

This is a time to turn our attention to the true consumers of the corrections system – those who have been personally wronged by an offender. Too often, rather than focusing on empowering victims and ensuring they receive restitution, the process emphasizes an offender’s “debt to society,” often in the form of fines and fees that go into the government’s coffers. This fixation on the prerogatives of the government has too often marginalized the rights and voices of victims.

Click here to read more.

The Washington Post: “Study looks at kids who do time for offenses that aren’t crimes”

The Washington Post discusses Texas Public Policy Foundation’s newly released report “Kids Doing Time for What’s Not a Crime: The Over-Incarceration of Status Offenders,” saying “we need resist the impulse to address every societal problem with the criminal justice system. It’s a blunt instrument, and especially with kids, applying it inappropriately causes a lot more harm than good.”

Click here to read more.

“Reagan had it right: We must not forget America’s crime victims”

In celebration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, ROC signatory and Director of the American Conservative Union’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform Pat Nolan, along with national crime victim advocate Anne Seymour, authored “Reagan had it right: We must not forget America’s crime victims” for Fox News.

“At Right on Crime, we strongly believe that crime victims and those who serve them are important partners in any efforts to improve our nation’s systems of justice – federal, criminal, juvenile, tribal and civil justice – and the fair treatment of victims of crime.”

Click here to read more.

Marc Levin: Why Are We Jailing Youth For Non-Violent Offenses?

ROC policy director Marc Levin writes in Talking Points Memo:

If you miss one too many days of work or stay out for the night when you said you’d be home, you might find yourself in hot water, but chances are you won’t wind up in trouble with the law, or worse, in jail.

While this is true for adults, it’s a different reality for kids who break curfew, show up to school late one too many times, or commit other non-violent status offenses – actions that wouldn’t be a crime if they were carried out by an adult.

Click here to read more.

National Review: “Conservative State Think Tanks”

From Stephen Moore in National Review: “If you’ve ever wondered why conservative policy ideas triumph more often at the state level than they do in Washington, here’s one explanation: the rising influence of free-market-oriented think tanks in the states.

…the Texas Public Policy Foundation has inspired the booming Right on Crime movement, which cuts incarceration costs by strengthening alternatives to jail time, such as probation and treatment, for non-violent drug users.”

Mississippi HB 585: Recommendations of the Corrections and Criminal Justice Task Force

Why does Mississippi need HB585? Mississippi’s prison population has grown by 17 percent in the last decade, topping 22,600 inmates last year. The state now has the second-highest imprisonment rate in the country, trailing only Louisiana. Without action, these trends will continue and Mississippi prisons will need to house 1,990 more inmates by 2024 – costing taxpayers an additional $266 million.

What will HB 585 do for Mississippi’s criminal justice system? HB 585 will enact “true minimums” to guarantee that nonviolent and violent offenders are never released prior to serving 25 and 50 percent of their sentences, respectively.

Click here to read the full version of “HB 585: Recommendations of the Corrections and Criminal Justice Task Force.”

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

April 6-12 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Crime victims and survivors have an integral role in America’s criminal justice system and efforts to promote individual and public safety.  The overall effectiveness of the criminal justice system relies significantly on victims’ willingness and ability to participate in justice processes. Right on Crime created the below infographic to illustrate how and why our criminal justice system should prioritize victims.

Click here to enlarge the infographic.

ROC signatory Pat Nolan on prison reform

From Rare: “Only a nation that’s rich and stupid would continue to pour billions into a system that leaves prisoners unreformed, victims ignored and communities still living in fear of crime.”

Click here to read more.

Governor Phil Bryant: Mississippi Legislature Votes to Adopt “Right on Crime” Criminal Justice Reform Measures

The following statement was released by Governor Phil Bryant regarding Mississippi’s package of criminal justice reforms.

JACKSON—House Bill 585, Mississippi’s package of criminal justice reform measures, has passed the Mississippi House and Mississippi Senate and should soon come to Gov. Phil Bryant for review. The reforms were developed over several months as the result of a bipartisan task force effort that included consultation with the Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

“We pledged to Mississippians that we would make this the ‘public safety session’, and we have worked hard to develop a research-based plan that is tough on crime while using tax dollars wisely where they make the most impact,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “This bill ensures that violent criminals are held accountable for their crimes, and it provides a second chance to veterans and other Mississippians who have made mistakes want to take steps to get their lives back on track.

“I appreciate the hard work of Rep. Andy Gibson, Sen. Brice Wiggins, the leadership in the House and Senate, the members of the criminal justice task force and the PEW Charitable Trusts in researching this issue and helping move these reforms through the legislative process. I look forward to receiving the bill and reviewing it closely.”

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