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Blog

Justice Reform Package Passes through Oklahoma Legislature, Soon to be Signed into Law

In recent years, several conservative states have been at the forefront in tackling justice reform. As documented in the report Federalism in Action: How Conservative States Got Smart on Crime, states like Texas and Georgia have been able to cut back on total prison expenditures while also reducing rates of incarceration and recidivism. Now, Oklahoma is looking to emulate these great success stories, as a series of justice reform bills recently passed through the House and Senate. All that is left is the signature of Governor Mary Fallin, and Oklahoma will become the next state to implement a “smart-on-crime” approach to criminal justice.

04/22/2016
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Op-ed Placement

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Could Learn from Texas on Justice Issues

The Republican presidential candidates have debated nine times since August. Nine long debates, in which moderators spent much of their time focusing on personalities and pitting candidates against each other, rather than asking substantive policy questions.

02/29/2016
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Economically Free States Are the Most Successful

The benefit of America’s federalist system, in which the states are largely free to set their own laws and regulations, is that these “laboratories of democracy” allow us to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of economic success. While there are numerous pitfalls in examining economic statistics, due to the wide variety of variables involved, you can learn a lot by seeing where people choose to live. People generally flock to locations where they can get a good job, raise their children as they please, and afford a decent standard of living, all things that directly relate to economic freedom.

02/09/2016
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Blog

Fair Chances: How Lawmakers Can Disrupt the Cycle of Crime and Poverty

Much of the efforts to reform the justice system have been concentrated on front-end sentencing and back-end reentry reform. When it comes to sentencing reform, the idea is that a punishment should fit the crime. Rather than lengthy sentences mandated by big government politicians that ostensibly warehouse low-level, nonviolent offenders, judges should have the option to more appropriate sentences, including diversion programs. For offenders already in the prison system, rehabilitative programming -- such as work training and education -- would provide them with the means to learn skills so they can live productive, honest lives after they return to society.

09/22/2015
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Federalism in Action: How Conservative States Got Smart on Crime

Justice reform has become a hot topic on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress from both parties are pushing for substantive reforms that would bring rehabilitative programs to the federal corrections system, modify out-of-date sentencing laws, make communities safer, and reduce burdens on taxpayers. But reform would not be possible if conservative states had not previously paved the road.

08/24/2015
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Justice reform can happen this year, and grassroots conservatives should lead the charge

Over the past several weeks, President Barack Obama has increasingly spoke of the need to reform the United States' justice system. In mid-July, for example, he spoke at the NAACP's annual convention in Philadelphia and called for reform of costly and unjust mandatory minimum sentences and, later, appeared at a federal prison in Oklahoma to further emphasize the need to overhaul the justice system to lower repeat offender rates.

07/30/2015
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Conservative states focused on reducing repeat offender rates to disrupt the cycle of crime and save taxpayers money

It is easy to look at the decline in violent crime rates and believe that lengthy prison sentences mandated by Congress were the catalyst. Unfortunately, Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley recently made this utterly misleading argument. But as the Brennan Center for Justice explained in a February 2015 study, crime rates fell because of "various social, economic, and environmental factors, such as growth in income and an aging population." Lengthy sentences that contributed to the sharp rise of prison populations had very little to do with it.

07/27/2015
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Conservatives have proven that justice reform lowers crime rates and keeps communities safe

Last week, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave his support to the SAFE Justice Act, a comprehensive bill that would make a number of significant and substantive changes to federal sentencing and prison policies that have contributed the boom in federal corrections spending. Boehner's support is the most recent and, perhaps, most notable example of the growing consensus on Capitol Hill for justice reform.

07/23/2015
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Blog

Savings from prison reforms in Texas top $3 billion, crimes rates hit lowest point since 1968

"By being more intelligent about who you send to prison, being more selective in that, and putting resources into drug treatment, mental health treatment, and things that keep people out of prison, you can lower your costs and make the streets safer," Pat Nolan, Director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform, told FreedomWorks of the groundbreaking justice reforms implemented in Texas in a recent video. The reforms, dubbed the "Texas model," have become a blueprint for other, mostly Republican, states to cut prison costs and reprioritize spending or reduce the burden of taxpayers.

07/06/2015
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Op-ed Placement

Rick Perry’s Record of Success in Texas Could Aid Justice Reform Efforts in Washington

Rick Perry’s entrance into the race for the Republican presidential nomination could continue to push the justice-reform debate further into national politics as candidates from both parties try to stake their claims on these vital issues.

06/22/2015

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