A recent column in D.C. based paper The National Journal titled Criminal-Justice Reform, Brought to You by CPAC describes in detail how prison reform became a key theme among conservatives at their yearly gathering in Washington last week. The Heritage Foundation, an ultra conservative think tank funded heavily by the liberal archenemy Koch brothers, is now aligned with a cause Democrats and minority grassroots organizations have long championed. Libertarian Senator Rand Paul is now a supporter of pending legislation in the United States Senate that amends mandatory minimum sentencing laws to give judges more flexibility and several Republican leaders have joined him to support similar reforms.
I have consistently said that reforming our nation’s prison system is the right thing to do morally. In addition, research shows that investing in comprehensive prison reforms will save taxpayer dollars and improve outcomes for ex-offenders. Traditionally, Democrats have made up the majority of policy-makers calling for legislation to reduce incarceration and re-arrest rates among inner-city and low-income youth. However, now—faced with increasingly strained state and federal budgets—Republicans are starting to realize that we must change the way our nation’s prison systems are run.