US national conservatives unveil Right On Crime initiative
Dec 24, 2010
One of the most interesting, albeit quiet, developments in the Texas policy world has been the bipartisan consensus that has developed on criminal justice since about 2005. Basically, the idea is that putting non-violent offenders in prison for technical violations wastes public funds and that rehabilitation and restitution should play larger roles in the criminal justice system. This approach places more emphasis on controlling costs in criminal justice by focusing incarceration for the most dangerous and violent offenders.
....A group of national conservatives led by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Russell Keene of the American Conservative Union, and former Attorney General Ed Meese unveiled the “Right On Crime” initiative and website. The group held a conference call this morning to unveil the website.
Texas Public Policy Foundation President Brooke L. Rollins told reporters that Texas saved billions while its crime rate declined 9 percent. Rollins said the project will help cash-strapped state save money while continuing to crack down on violent crime.
Levin added that the Texas crime rate is the lowest since 1993. He also noted that probationers pay dramatically more in restitution to victims than prisoners.
....A group of serious conservative heavy-hitters signed a statement of principles. These principles are as follows:
1. As with any government program, the criminal justice system must be transparent and include performance measures that hold it accountable for its results in protecting the public, lowering crime rates, reducing re-offending, collecting victim restitution and conserving taxpayers’ money.
2. Crime victims, along with the public and taxpayers, are among the key “consumers” of the criminal justice system; the victim’s conception of justice, public safety, and the offender’s risk for future criminal conduct should be prioritized when determining an appropriate punishment.
3. The corrections system should emphasize public safety, personal responsibility, work, restitution, community service, and treatment—both in probation and parole, which supervise most offenders, and in prisons.
4. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through harnessing the power of families, charities, faith-based groups, and communities.
5. Because incentives affect human behavior, policies for both offenders and the corrections system must align incentives with our goals of public safety, victim restitution and satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness, thereby moving from a system that grows when it fails to one that rewards results.
6. Criminal law should be reserved for conduct that is either blameworthy or threatens public safety, not wielded to grow government and undermine economic freedom.