The conservative approach to criminal justice:
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A Rising Chorus of Texas Leaders Calling for Reform of Excessive Court-Imposed Fines and Fees

| March 20, 2017

This blog post was written by Right on Crime research associate Jace Waechter. In Texas, revenue from fines such as parking or traffic violations generated over $1 billion dollars for the state. Some individuals were able to afford the fines and court costs. However, failure to pay excessive court-ordered fines and fees has resulted in 640,000 d...

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Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force Recommendations for Criminal Justice Reform Released Today

| March 16, 2017

After 10 months of digging into the drivers of Louisiana’s worst ranked prison population by rate, the bi-partisan Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force rolled out its recommendations at a well-attended press conference today.   Louisiana joins the ranks of 34 other states in the U.S. to undertake comprehensive criminal justice reform throu...

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A Cost Analysis for Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility in Texas

| March 14, 2017

Texas' House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues recently heard testimony from stakeholders and the public on House Bill 122, a bill which would "raise the age" of criminal responsibility in Texas—from 17 to 18 years old. In attempting to model potential costs borne by state and local governments in implementing such policies, it ...

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At the Heart of Conservatism: Criminal Justice Reform in Florida

| March 13, 2017

This post, written by J. Robert McClure—President and CEO of the James Madison Institute in Florida, and a Right on Crime signatory—originally appeared in the Spring edition of "The Journal."  No doubt, over the past 20 years, the definition of what it means to be a conservative has evolved significantly with respect to the issue of crimina...

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Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force: Resolve Prison Overpopulation by Adopting Cost-Effective, Evidence-Based Reforms

| March 3, 2017

This blog post was written by Right on Crime research associate Brian Bensimon. Facing a prison bed crisis amid an ever-growing prison population, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin created a task force aiming to improve public safety by reducing recidivism, and incorporating evidence-based recommendations. The Task Force’s recommendations, if implemen...

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President Trump Keeps Safety, Law Enforcement, and Victims at Top of Mind

| March 3, 2017

In his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump covered a wide range of issues facing the US, including crime rates. Though many in the media have greatly exaggerated the death of criminal justice reform, mere imprecise messaging by the President does not spell the end of the good reform work that makes Americans safer. With his most recen...

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Right on Crime Celebrates Ten Years of Criminal Justice Reform in Texas

| March 1, 2017

This year, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Right on Crime celebrate ten years of criminal justice reform efforts in Texas. In 2007, facing the prospect of having to build an additional 17,000 prison beds during a tight budget year to handle expected population growth, the Texas Legislature instead made smaller investments into alternatives t...

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In Arizona, One Man Faces Criminal Penalties for Cutting the Homeless’ Hair Without a License

| February 10, 2017

As the saying goes, good deeds never go unpunished. A Tucson man is finding this out the hard way as he’s currently under investigation by Arizona’s State Board of Cosmetology for “giving free haircuts to homeless in the community” without a license to do so, according to Tucson News Now: "Juan Carlos Montesdeoca has given dozens of fre...

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New Poll: Overwhelming Majority of Texas Voters Oppose Asset Forfeiture Without A Criminal Conviction

| February 10, 2017

In a statewide poll done for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Baselice & Associates asked 922 registered Texas voters (+/- 3.2% margin of error) from Jan. 22 to 29, 2017, the following question: “Civil asset forfeiture is when the state or federal government takes and keeps a person's property without necessarily charging them with any cri...

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Texas Committee Recommends Reducing Costs by Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration

| February 2, 2017

This blog post was written by Right on Crime research associate Brian Bensimon. A new report by Texas’s House Committee on Corrections urges the state to continue funding programs that provide alternatives to incarceration. Despite a perceived reputation as a “tough on crime” state, Texas has led the criminal justice reform movement by...

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New Illinois Bill Providing Greater Sentencing Flexibility, Trauma Recovery Services Heads to Governor’s Desk

| January 20, 2017

This post was written by Right on Crime research associate Jace Waechter. On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate passed a bill giving judges more sentencing alternatives for non-violent offenders and began the process of providing more funding for trauma recovery services for victims of violent crimes. This bipartisan bill previously passed the Hou...

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Randy Petersen on ‘The Lars Larson Show’: Policing Is A “Uniquely Local” Idea

| January 18, 2017

Randy Petersen, our senior researcher of policing, recently appeared on "The Lars Larson Show" to discuss his latest commentary in The Hill, which pushes back against suggestions that have surfaced over the past several months that federal authorities ought to have a role in community policing. Petersen criticized this idea, saying that while there...

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Ohio Gov. Kasich Signs Bill Bringing Major Civil Forfeiture Reform to Buckeye State

| January 6, 2017

With Ohio Governor John Kasich’s signature of House Bill 347, the Buckeye State has become the latest, and the first of the new year, to significantly restrain the ability of law enforcement to take and keep private property without a criminal conviction via civil asset forfeiture. Utilized in the modern era primarily as a way to divest crimin...

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Oklahoma’s High Court Affirms Limitations on Sentencing Juvenile Offenders to Life in Prison

| December 16, 2016

This blog post was written by Christopher Gambini, a Right on Crime research associate. Recently, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court affirmed limitations on sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison. The court applied Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana to discretionary juvenile life without parole. In Miller, the U.S. Supreme Court rul...

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On Criminal Justice Reform, It’s Been State and Local Leaders Carrying the Torch

| December 12, 2016

Recently, my colleague Haley Holik penned a timely piece concerning the knee-jerk fatalism among many justice reform advocates on the left that has attended the result of the presidential election, with most headlines heralding the end of criminal justice reform. I recommend her article, and I’d like to expand at length on several of her points. ...

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Andrew Speno on Oklahoma’s State of Play: “Being A Better Steward of Our Resources” Is Needed

| December 7, 2016

In a recent interview, our Oklahoma state director Andrew Speno joined News Radio 1000 KTOK to discuss the state of play surrounding conservative criminal justice reform efforts in the state, particularly with regard to two ballot questions passed by voters in early November which reclassified various low-level felony drug possession and property o...

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Marc Levin

November 30, 2016

Pretrial-Justice Reform: An Old Idea Gains New Momentum

| November 30, 2016

This commentary originally appeared at Real Clear Policy on November 30, 2016. History has proven that it is much easier to diagnose a problem than to solve it. The pretrial-justice system is no exception. In 1964, Attorney General Robert Kennedy said: “Every year in this country, thousands of persons are kept in jail for weeks and even m...

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Louisiana Association of Business and Industry: State’s Inadequate Workforce ‘May Be Fulfilled’ By Ex-Offenders

| November 30, 2016

This blog post was written by Jace Waechter, a Right on Crime research associate. On November 18, the Louisiana Association Business and Industry (LABI) held a summit to address the state's growing prison population.  Currently, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, which has ballooned to twice the national average—with...

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New Report Shows Ninety-One Percent of New Criminal Laws in Oklahoma Fall Outside Penal Code

| November 22, 2016

This blog post was written by Christopher Gambini, a Right on Crime research associate. The Manhattan Institute recently released a report on Oklahoma overcriminalization reform, which spotlights Oklahoma’s problematic penal code that is in need of major reworking. Since 2010, 26 new criminal laws on average have been added annually, with ...

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The Advocate: Growing Coalition of Louisiana Leaders Push for Reform Through Justice Reinvestment Initiative

| November 21, 2016

This blog post was written by Jace Waechter, a Right on Crime research assistant. Last Thursday, a task force designed to look at ways to improve public safety and save taxpayer’s money held a hearing at the Louisiana Capitol. The Justice Reinvestment Task Force—a body made up of members from both political parties, together with business an...

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