Some of the nation’s most prominent conservatives are meeting in DC today to chart a “tough and smart” criminal justice agenda.
Reduced spending. Limited government. Accountability. Conservatives campaigned on these fundamentals during the 2010 election, and voters rewarded them with control of at least one chamber in 19 state legislatures and a 63-seat gain in the U.S. House of Representatives.
What it will this mean for criminal justice policy?
In the past, these conservative principles have too often been forgotten here, with “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” the default mindset.
However, prominent conservatives are charting a new course. Leaders like former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist have signed the statement of principles for the Right on Crime campaign. Led by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation , the project was launched this month to offer an improved approach to criminal justice that is both tough and smart.
One reason Right on Crime is needed is that taxpayers have not been getting a good return on their investment when it comes to criminal justice spending, and historically few have held the system accountable for that – not even conservatives. In most cases, funding for prison facilities is allocated according to volume, rather than outcomes. In other words, more prisoners mean more money.
As a result, we have created a system that grows when it fails rather than one with incentives to deliver the best public safety return for every taxpayer dollar spent.This is an incredibly encouraging development for which Marc Levin and the good folks at TPPF deserve loads of credit. Read the rest of the column here. The Right on Crime campaign has launched a new blog that readers will want to add to their RSS feeds.