A broadly bipartisan group of people agree that we cannot continue on the path we are on with our criminal justice system.
We are throwing too many people into prison for non-violent crimes, tearing up families, spending billions in the process and, to top it off, prisoners continue to go back to prison because they are not provided the tools they need while behind bars.
Simply put, criminal justice reform is a conservative issue because the monetary and human costs of our prison system are way too high. Conservatives should be behind the recidivism reduction programs and the sentencing reforms in the First Step Act wholeheartedly.
As Demri Scott, of Americans for Tax Reform and Digital Liberty wrote in the Daily Caller:
“In a time of partisan politics, it’s hard to imagine that any issue could unite Democrats and Republicans.
Yet people such as Kim Kardashian and Michelle Malkin, and groups including the Fraternal Order of Police, the Baltimore Ravens and the Faith and Freedom Coalition all agree on one thing: The need for criminal justice reform and the First Step Act, a key bill working its way through the Senate….
There’s a reason the [First Step Act] is so bipartisan. It’s because it’s objectively the right thing to do.”
Scott goes on to explain that,
“On average, it costs $80 a day and around $30,000 a year to incarcerate someone. The federal prison population alone costs taxpayers more than $7 billion annually, up from less than $1 billion in 1980. Since taxpayer dollars are limited, we should not be wasting money on keeping individuals who do not pose a threat to society behind bars.”
The bill is sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in the Senate and has more than 30 co-sponsors from both parties. The House version of the bill is sponsored by Congressman Doug Collins (R- Ga.) in the House (H.R.5682) and has a bipartisan array of cosponsors. The House overwhelmingly passed the FIRST STEP Act in May under a 360-59 favorable vote. On December 13, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on the bill but it awaits further action on the Senate floor.
To read more of Scott’s op-ed click here.