The conservative approach to criminal justice:
fighting crime, supporting victims, and protecting taxpayers.

Marc Levin: Being ‘Right on Crime’ Means ‘Right-Sizing the Prison System’

| December 3, 2015

Last month, Avni Majithia-Sejpal, senior writer for the Center for Court Innovation, interviewed Right on Crime Policy Director Marc Levin at the ‘Reinvesting in Justice’ conference in Dallas about various topics within the sphere of criminal justice reform.

Asked about the dynamics of justice reinvestment in Texas, Levin explained that it’s important to make sure that “we’re getting a good return on our investment” with tax dollars:

“When we talk about reinvesting in justice, I think that we have to make sure that the financial incentives are right, that we’re not actually incentivizing the most expensive and often times least effective option [regarding meting out punishments].”

In regards to what it means to be “right on crime,” Levin stated that “we [conservatives] believe in limited government, and prisons are the epitome of big government,” yet also recognized that there are indeed people who need to be incarcerated. For those lower-level offenders that we’re simply “mad at,” Levin stresses the effectiveness of actuarial risk-needs assessments to identify possible alternatives to incarceration–e.g. specialty courts, drug treatment programs, community supervision, etc–that can yield better outcomes in terms of crime reduction, at a lower cost.

The entirety of Levin’s interview with Avni Majithia-Sejpal of the Center for Court Innovation can be found below:


MICHAEL HAUGEN is a policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and its Right on Crime initiative.

His work for the Foundation has focused primarily on criminal justice reform topics, particularly civil forfeiture, prison reform and justice reinvestment, mens rea reform, occupational licensing, and various law enforcement and privacy issues. He’s also written about federal corporate subsidies, school choice, and gun rights.

Haugen is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with Pre-Medicine Option, and a minor in Chemistry. He also holds an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from North Idaho College. At EWU, he participated in academic research in a molecular microbiology laboratory for two years, investigating genetic virulence factors and pathophysiology in microbes.

His writing has appeared in National Review, The Hill, Townhall, Washington Examiner, Dallas Morning News, El Paso Times, Trib Talk, RedState, Ricochet, and Breitbart Texas.