Congress’ new bills show how conservatives are still tough on crime

From the Washington Examiner. By Grover Norquist & Adam Brandon 5/18/16 12:04 AM

Recently, a few notable organizations have added their voices in support of criminal justice reform efforts in the Senate. The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, Concerned Veterans of America and the National District Attorneys Association — none of which are soft on crime — agree: The Senate’s Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act isn’t either.

In the Senate, conservatives have been negotiating the details of SRCA since last year. The bill tackles reforms to the criminal justice system in two parts: First, it adjusts some punishments by allowing judges to deviate from certain mandatory-minimum sentences. The idea behind this is to ensure that low-level offenders are not tying up precious law-enforcement resources and to refocus on going after the worst criminals.

Second, SRCA would start to change our prison system into a real correctional system. Sadly, the recidivism rate in this country is unacceptably high. Our prisons have utterly failed to deter the people who go through the system from reoffending. No government agency should get a free pass when it comes to judging their use of taxpayer dollars and the outcomes it produces — and the prison system should be no exception.

That’s why the Senate’s bill would implement recidivism-reduction programming similar to that established in numerous red states to make sure the people leaving prison stay out of prison. Prisoners are encouraged to participate by allowing them to earn time credits that they can use to spend a specific portion of their sentence in either home confinement or community supervision.

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