Slate: Ron Paul answered a question about his old newsletters by saying he was the most anti-racist candidate: He wanted fair criminal justice reform. Did you buy it?I find this extremely encouraging.
Jealous: We've found common cause with libertarians across the South, for years. In Texas, Ron Paul's state, we've passed a dozen progressive criminal justice reforms last year, working with the Tea Party. In South Carolina we got one-to-one on crack versus powder, which we couldn't get Congress to do when Democrats controlled it. In Georgia, we just pushed through the biggest review of criminal justice policy in the entire country, again, working with a Tea Party governor and Tea Party supporters. Criminal justice reform is, if you will, the big silent agreement in this country. It's ideas like treatment instead of incarceration appeal from libertarians to liberals alike, to progressives and conservatives alike.
If you divide the Tea Party, it divides into three groups: The libertarians, the fiscal conservatives, and the social conservatives. And when you go them and say rehab is seven times more effective than prison, they pay more attention. The pot-smoking wing pays attention. The Christian conservatives, who are very involved in prison ministry, already know it. So Ron Paul has a point that policies he is promoting, on criminal justice reform, are policies that need to be discussed and would have a positive impact on the black community.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
The Tea Party and Criminal Justice Reform
I noted here before the support some American conservatives are giving to criminal justice reform, moving away from a "nothing but punishment and plenty of it" approach to crime. After the State of the Union Speech, Dave Weigel got a chance to ask NAACP president Benjamin Jealous about it: