Thursday, February 19, 2015

A New Bipartisan Agenda: Justice Reform

Great news from Washington:
Usually bitter adversaries, Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress have found at least one thing they can agree on: The nation’s criminal justice system is broken.

Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by the conservative Koch brothers, and the center, a Washington-based liberal issues group, are coming together to back a new organization called the Coalition for Public Safety. The coalition plans a multimillion-dollar campaign on behalf of emerging proposals to reduce prison populations, overhaul sentencing, reduce recidivism and take on similar initiatives. Other groups from both the left and right — the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Tea Party-oriented FreedomWorks — are also part of the coalition, reflecting its unusually bipartisan approach. . . .

With the huge costs to the public of an expanding 2.2 million-person prison population drawing interest from the right and the conviction that the system is unfair and incarcerating too many drug and nonviolent offenders driving those on the left, the new coalition is the most recent example of ideological opposites joining together.
This is of course made possible by the falling crime rate, which has reduced the anxiety around the issue and now allows us to think more rationally about the whole business. I have been hoping for a while that this movement would gather national momentum, and now that finally seems to be happening.

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