Vice President, Criminal Justice Policy
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Marc Levin | August 12, 2013
Texas and Other States have Reduced Crime AND Criminal Justice Spending
Austin, TX—In response to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement on corrections reform, the conservative criminal justice reform movement Right on Crime, led by the nation’s leading conservatives, highlighted several examples where reform has been underway for years in the states producing results that have improved public safety, reduced criminal justice spending, and empowered victims.
“It’s good to see the Administration following the lead of conservative states such as Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia that have proven it’s possible to reduce crime while also reducing criminal justice spending,” said Marc Levin, director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) on behalf of Right on Crime. A project of TPPF, Right on Crime is supported by leading conservatives such as Newt Gingrich, Richard Viguerie, David Keene, Grover Norquist, J.C. Watts, Tony Perkins, among many others.
“What’s most important in the proposal is that it puts more control in the hands of local and state officials to determine sentencing. One size does not fit all crimes and a mandate from the federal government is not applicable to every case or situation. As conservatives who believe in limited government, we know that the federal government has too often overreached on criminal justice and that most criminal activity is best handled at the state and local level
“Over the years, political leaders have failed to hold the criminal justice system accountable for its alarming increase in spending and lack of results. The prison system now costs states more than $50 billion per year, up from $11 billion in the mid-1980s. Over the last thirty years, corrections has been the second-fastest growing area of state budgets, trailing only Medicaid.”
Texas took the lead on this effort in 2007, saving a projected $2 billion of taxpayer money by implementing conservative criminal justice reforms. Since then, the Texas Legislature has been able to authorize the closure of three prisons, and the state crime rate is at its lowest point since 1968. Conservative governors in other states such as Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and South Dakota have followed Texas’s lead by signing new laws that right-size corrections spending and break the cycle of crime.
Right On Crime is a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation in partnership with Prison Fellowship Ministries. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is research institute in Austin, TX committed to limited government, free markets, private property rights, individual liberty and personal responsibility.