Will violent crime stall the momentum behind criminal justice reform?

“Whether you’re blue, purple, or red, we are all Americans and we all want safe communities.” said Right On Crime Executive Director Brett Tolman. “To achieve this, Americans must stop the political rhetoric and emotional reactions. Together, we can and will create safer communities.”

Several years ago, justice reformers from both left and right found common ground in reforming the criminal justice system to save money and obtain better outcomes for victims and communities. Numerous reforms of varying types were enacted in states across the nation, while at the federal level the effort culminated in the First Step Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in 2018.

More recently, cities across the nation have experienced an increase in violent crime. Is this yet another confusion between correlation and causality? Or it is possible that some criminal justice reform efforts have led to an increase in crime? Is there such a thing as “good” criminal justice reform and “bad” reform? Can’t we have both a more just criminal justice system AND lower crime rates?

Right On Crime Executive Director Brett Tolman and Right On Crime Senior Fellow Ja’Ron Smith discuss these compelling topics and more with Institute for Policy Innovation President Tom Giovanetti.