“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.

Right on Crime congratulates Governor Rick Perry

Right on Crime congratulates Governor Rick Perry
Perry receives Governor of the Year Award for his support of drug-court programs

Austin, TX — Governor Rick Perry was today presented the National Association of Drug Court Professionals’ Governor of the Year Award. This year marks the 25th anniversary of drug courts — treatment programs that help rehabilitate non-violent drug offenders as an alternative to incarceration — and Governor Perry is the first recipient of this prestigious award. Under Governor Perry’s leadership, Texas has saved an estimated $3 billion in prison spending, and is now home to 136 drug courts.

“We heartily congratulate Governor Perry for his well-deserved award as Governor of the Year from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals,” said Marc Levin, Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice and Right on Crime. “We have been privileged to work with the Governor and other Texas policymakers over the last several years to expand drug courts in Texas. It is clear that these drug courts are working to combat substance abuse and crime.”

“The diversion of appropriate offenders to drug courts has contributed to savings of $3 billion dollars, as Texas has closed three prisons instead of building the 17,000 new beds that in 2007 were projected to be needed by 2012,” added Levin. “Most important, Texas has its lowest crime rate since 1968. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Perry and other Texas policymakers to build on this success, and we are confident this award will only add to the momentum for taking the next steps to improve Texas’ criminal justice system.”

More information about Governor Perry receiving the National Award for Criminal Justice Reform can be found here: http://t.co/NBkKBoNZFm


Austin American-Statesman: “Keep 17-year-olds in juvenile system”

Marc Levin: “Certainly, hold [juvenile offenders] accountable. But in the right place and under the right circumstances — and that is not adult prison.”

Click here to read more.

ROC signatory Jerry Madden led the way in developing TX justice reinvestment strategy

Right on Crime signatory Jerry Madden is credited by the Houston Chronicle as being a pioneer for early Texas criminal justice reforms.

Conservative prison reform makes sense

In this Houston Chronicle article, ROC policy analyst Derek Cohen explains why it makes sense for conservatives to support smart criminal justice reform.

SF Gate: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry hearts California”

The SFGate on Governor Perry getting more “California-ized” as he discusses ‘right on crime’ policies.

Marc Levin, Right on Crime, featured in Texas Monthly

Courtesy of Texas Monthly

Texas Monthly’s Nate Blakeslee highlights Marc Levin and Right on Crime in his article “Why Fewer Prisons Are Good for Texas’s Economy.”

“Levin’s chief message, that incarcerating too many people for too long for nonviolent crimes isn’t a good use of taxpayer funds, has resonated with conservative voters and legislators. He advocates more effective and less costly measures, such as drug courts, which divert low-level drug offenders to treatment programs instead of prison, and more effective use of probation.”

Click here to read the whole interview.

Washington Post: “States are justly reviewing their use of solitary confinement”

In Texas, inmates sent to solitary spend an average of four years there, reported Marc Levin of the conservative criminal justice reform group Right on Crime. Texas, though, is at least reviewing its practices. That might be because isolating prisoners is expensive — costing something like twice as much as keeping them in the general prison population. Or it might be because releasing psychologically damaged people from prison can produce disastrous results.

Click here to read more.

Mother Jones: “How Conservatives Learned to Love Prison Reform”

Courtesy of MotherJones.com

In this article, Shane Bauer tells the story of how Marc Levin and Right on Crime have changed, and continue to change, the way America thinks about criminal justice.

“How is it ‘conservative’ to spend vast amounts of taxpayer money on a strategy without asking whether it is providing taxpayers with the best public safety return on their investment?” Levin asks. Rather than spend a fortune keeping low-risk offenders in prison, Levin proposed that the same money could be used for cheaper programs that would still keep violent criminals locked away and the public safe.

Click here to read the full article.

SFGate: “Texas an unlikely model for prison reform”

Democratic California Senator Loni Hancock praises Texas for its conservative criminal justice reforms.

“Texas is investing in alternatives to incarceration that are proving to be cheaper and more effective at keeping people out of prison. It is also doing a better job of rehabilitating people to keep them from reoffending and ending up back in prison.

Texas and California are two great states that often see the world differently. In this case, perhaps we have something to learn from Texas.”

Click here to read more.