Right on Crime hosted an evening centered around conservatives for criminal justice reform in Tallahassee, Florida, Wednesday, October 25th. Former and current Florida lawmakers, business leaders, and advocates came together to discuss the current state of the criminal justice system in Florida and how the success of other conservative states can guide the Sunshine State to a safer, more effective system.

Former Georgia Representative and current Executive Director of Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Jay Neal, set the stage for the evening with his keynote remarks.  He explained to the audience that he wasn’t there to discuss the successes Georgia has had, but rather how championing criminal justice reform, while to some was a “politically risky” move, was one of the best career choices he has ever made.

After dinner guests heard from a panel of policy and legislative experts on why it is the RIGHT time for Florida to be addressing the crucial need for criminal justice reform. We were honored to have Florida’s current Chairman of Appropriations on Criminal Justice, Senator Jeff Brandes, join Right on Crime Signatories–former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former House Speakers Dean Cannon and Steve Crisafulli, and advocate Donna Arduin—share their experience and knowledge with the crowd. The major takeaway from this panel was that Florida cannot continue to ignore the issues our corrections system face. It is imperative we address the need for reentry programs, as these inmates will eventually return to society. Corrections should be about rehabilitation, and prison should be a place for people we are afraid of, not people we are mad at.

Attendees walked away with the understanding that our criminal justice system faces some serious challenges, and now is the RIGHT time to be addressing them. By applying conservative principles, Floridians will see a better return on taxpayers’ investments in public safety.

Christian Minor (Executive Director for the FL Juvenile Justice Association), Wansley Walters (Right on Crime Signatory and Partner at Ballard Partners), Jay Neal (Executive Director for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council ), Chelsea Murphy (Right on Crime State Director for Florida)