In a press call with the US Justice Action Network Thursday, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist addressed the concerns some Senators have with criminal justice reform.
The US Justice Action Network brings together both conservative and progressive organizations to promote a “smarter, fairer, and cost effective” criminal justice system on all levels of government. Among the members are Americans for Tax Reform, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Freedomworks, and Right on Crime.
While a small number of politicians want to put the brakes on Senate reform packages, the bulk of the center-right movement has come out in strong support of sensible reforms. ATR president Grover Norquist stated that
“As we have learned from a decade of success, sentencing reform works. The package being considered by the Senate is meant to implement the lessons of states like Georgia and Texas, who have seen historic crime rate reductions. The senators who wish to look more closely at the provisions in the Sentencing and Corrections Act are right to be engaged on the issue, but they should also look to the red states which have pioneered these reforms. The package in question is right for the states, and it is right for the nation. We look forward to improving the bill and getting good policy passed.”
Crime rates in the United States has been dropping steadily for over two decades. As America learns more about the interplay between long sentences and lock-em-up policies, the country has found out that there are better ways to handle crime and justice.
Daniel Allott recently covered the call in the Washington Examiner. Allott noted that “For those concerned about ever-encroaching government, the federal criminal code has risen from 3,000 to 5,000 crimes in a generation,” an issue especially salient for those worried about criminal intent reform. He also made the argument by recognizing that “America's 2.3 million inmates cost taxpayers $80 billion a year,” ostensibly making justice reform a taxpayer issue.
The large American prison population has reached—and surpassed—the point of diminishing return. Research and experience have shown that to continue reducing crime, the US needs to look at cost-cutting investments and better laws. Conservative leaders and Republican legislatures have shown the way forward, the judiciary committee chairs in both chambers have taken up the calls, now it is time for the center-right to unite behind its own reforms.