Last month, that effort became official with the formation of the Coalition for Public Safety, a partnership between Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress that also features the American Civil Liberties Union, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, and Tea Party group Freedom Works.
Some have called this an "unlikely alliance," but that's less true by the day: Criminal justice reform, especially prison reform, has become a rare point of bipartisan activism.
But the arguments generally led them to the same place.
It is not unusual for divisive issues to, gradually, become subjects of agreement.
But the activism in recent years has been broadly bipartisan.“Obviously it’s good that it’s a lively subject in the presidential campaign,” said Marc Levin, vice president for criminal justice policy at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, who contributed to the 2015 report.
But “when you have 21 voices on one side, we don’t want people to draw the wrong conclusion and think that the only energy for reform is coming from the left.”Mr.
Proposals that stood out in 2015, like restricting employers from asking about criminal records on job applications, have become baselines. Senator Kamala Harris of California — who has emphasized her career as a self-described “progressive prosecutor” but has also faced some criticism for her record — suggested financial incentives for prosecutors’ offices to reduce incarceration and recidivism, instead of the current incentives for convicting more people and imprisoning them longer.
No one in the 2015 report suggested decriminalizing marijuana, but Mr. She also focused on funding for overworked public defender offices; more than 90 percent of felony convictions come from plea bargains, she wrote, which “must lead us to wonder whether a guilty plea is truly a result of evidence of guilt or the lack of resources to mount a meaningful defense.”Mr.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has long touted the benefits of reducing sentences, increasing probation-style penalties, and shutting down prisons.
Senator Rand Paul has also built up a strong record on prison reform, teaming up with Democrat New Jersey Senator Cory Booker to push mandatory minimum sentencing reform.