Friday, July 29, 2005

TPPF: Counties must act to prevent overincarceration

Now that Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed HB 2193 strengthening Texas' probation system, Marc Levin of the Center for Effective Justice at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) thinks counties should enact many of the reforms on their own. Go read what he has to say.

Some of my liberal friends express discomfort with Levin and Company, not to mention religious groups like the Restorative Justice Ministries Network and the Christian Life Commission, adopting similar common-sense positions to those advocated by ACLU, LULAC, and NAACP. TPPF's chief financier is Governor Perry's (and Carole Strayhorn's)
most important financial backer -- Jim Leininger, a wealthy religious-right activist based in San Antonio.

But as the GOP gubernatorial primary battle between Leininger's two beneficiaries attests, the Republican party isn't a monolith. Putting aside momentarily matters related to redistricting and the culture wars, a wide range of opinion exists within the Texas GOP on many of the most important issues facing the state, particularly about improving the criminal justice system. Certainly, some politicians still pander to special interests like prosecutors and the police unions. Once you understand the problems Texas faces on that score, though, the best solutions pretty much become obvious, even to Republicans. After all, the GOP runs the state now, and at the end of the day, the public expects them to make everything work. That's what Levin's trying to help them do with articles like this one.

Conservatives' agreement is nothing to fear in the criminal justice arena, folks. There, the party labels don't actually mean that much, and we need all the help we can get.

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