Former South Carolina Senator and Right on Crime Signatory, Jim DeMint, kicked off this week’s Advancing Justice Summit alongside US Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) in Washington, DC. The day was packed with many sessions featuring criminal justice reform advocates and policymakers, all who shared their stories and recommendations for furthering reform.

The opening discussion between Senator Mike Lee and former Senator Jim DeMint was moderated by Vikrant Reddy of the Charles Koch Institute (CKI). The conversation was anything but limited as it covered a wide-range of criminal justice issues. DeMint made it clear that “one-size-fits-all” criminal justice does not work and that the federal government should not have such unbalanced power. Rather, government should do what it can to help administer justice at the most local level possible. Rather than falling prey to the “perverse incentive” of civil asset forfeiture, government ought to be protecting property rights. And on the opioid crisis, DeMint was clear: “The value of every human life here is in jeopardy.”

Other plenary sessions including a discussion on policing, an address by Senator Chuck Grassley, and an overview of a new academic report produced by the Institute.

Right on Crime was well represented in the breakout sessions throughout the day. Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Vice President for Criminal Justice, Marc Levin, spoke on the progress of federal criminal justice reform, and Right on Crime’s State Director for Kentucky and Tennessee, Julie Warren, provided a progress report on her work there.

The themes and issues of CKI’s Advancing Justice campaign were ever-present. “A Matter of Intent: Reining in Overcriminalization in America” was a mid-afternoon panel that captured the importance of mens rea, a cause championed by Right on Crime and Senator Orrin Hatch. The day concluded with a heartfelt  dinner address by David Brown, former Dallas Police Chief.

Right on Crime looks forward to the many new ideas and newfound energy that will surely be inspired by the 2017 Advancing Justice Summit.