A few days ago, the West Virginia State Senate passed criminal justice reform bill SB371 by an overwhelming vote of 33-0. It’s unusual for any legislative body to pass a bill with zero “No” votes, but that’s exactly what happened on Thursday. The legislation, which would help West Virginia achieve the goals of ensuring public safety while reducing costs, now heads over to the West Virginia House of Delegates.
The Charleston Gazette has the story on its website here.
Conservative criminal justice reform is making its way around the country, with states finding out that as prison costs rise, they need to find cost effective ways to reverse this trend. Other states, including Oregon, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania and South Dakota have either passed or are considering passing legislation that would reduce costs, enhance public safety and prioritize victims in the criminal justice system.
This is an issue that conservatives should monitor closely. As some commentators have noted recently, conservatives can benefit by offering urban policy solutions that make a big impact on people’s lives. Criminal justice reform, along with education, transportation and other urban issues, are key problems that conservatives must address if we are to expand our camp and bring in new people. This is why what happened in West Virginia on Thursday is so important.