Both parties have left the criminal justice issue out of their presidential debates in main part. But since conservatives have realized the key values they share that are involved, it is likely that they at least will bring the issue up in 2016. Criminal justice reform involves conservative issues such as fiscal responsibility, second chances or redemption, and families. These topics should bring the discussion to the forefront come 2016.

Shortly after Mitt Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, he traveled to Colorado, where a reporter in Denver asked for his thoughts on medical marijuana. The conversation did not go well.

Romney scowled and cut reporter Shaun Boyd off midsentence.

“Aren’t there significant issues that you’d like to talk about?” he protested, looking uncomfortable as Boyd continued her questioning.

“This is significant in Colorado,” she replied. Indeed, it was. Six months later, on the same night that Romney lost his bid for the White House against President Barack Obama, Colorado voters would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Washington state did the same, making them the first states in the nation to take such action.


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