On Tuesday night during the Vice Presidential Debate, Republican VP Candidate Mike Pence expressed his support for federal criminal justice reform.

“I would say that we need to adopt criminal justice reform nationally. I had signed criminal justice reform in the state of Indiana senate, and very proud about it,” Pence said. “I worked in Congress on the Second Chance Act. We have got to do a better job recognizing and correcting the errors in the system that do reflect institutional bias in criminal justice.”

Pence highlighted his own commitment to the initiatives, recognizing his own reforms passed in Indiana. Passed in 2013, the bill reduced sentences for some drug crimes, provided opportunities for drug rehabilitation, kept low-level, nonviolent offenders out of the state’s department of corrections, and provided mental health treatment for those who needed it.

This clear support for initiatives in Congress from Pence reassured criminal justice reform advocates that the reforms proposed have a future in the next administration. Specifically, Executive Director of the US Justice Action Network (US JAN) Holly Harris called Pence’s comments a “bombshell.” She said that Pence’s statement, “Breathes new life into criminal justice reform.”

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist expressed his support for conservative initiatives in justice reform, stating that “You can be both tough on crime and smart on crime.” He emphasizes the need for these federal reforms, asserting that without them, “You’re wasting money, and you’re hurting neighborhoods and people’s lives for no purpose.”

This past Tuesday, Pence emulated a true conservative leader by reiterating the necessity of conservative criminal justice reforms at the federal level. Americans for Tax Reform is glad to have his support on this necessary issue facing the next leader of the United States.