Friday, April 28, 2017

Bryant Jackson-Green — Criminal Justice Reform For The Skeptics

Bryant Jackson-Green is the criminal justice reform policy analyst with the Illinois Policy Institute, a free market think tank based in Chicago.

(The Daily Caller) Though criminal justice reform is having a moment of increasing bipartisan support, not all conservatives are convinced. Those who lived through the high-crime eras of the ’70s and ’80s are unsure whether reducing sentences, even for low-level drug offenses, would be the wisest way to protect the largely declining crime rates the U.S. has enjoyed over the last 25 years.

But one critical fact about the criminal justice system should give even skeptics reason to support some reforms: 95 percent of inmates in our nation’s prisons eventually will be released. That’s more than 650,000 people each year who, if they can’t get jobs and become productive citizens, are far more likely to recidivate. Each one who commits a new crime represents not only a new public-safety threat, but also a steep cost to taxpayers as another corrections-system round kicks into gear. Even those who oppose sentencing reforms should see the financial and moral good in re-entry policies that enable former offenders to support themselves.

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