CPAC Features Criminal Justice Reform Agenda

While President Trump was the feature attraction as usual on the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday afternoon plan in Dallas, the Saturday session included extensive treatment of the conservative movement and prison reform issues.

CPAC emphasizes criminal justice reform as a critical part of its program. CPAC promotes the Center for Criminal Justice Reform, stating that it “promotes policies that improve public safety, reduce government cost, and protect human dignity in our justice system. Criminal Justice Reform has been highlighted at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for several years.

Prison reform for conservative voters and politicians typically focuses on decreasing recidivism and reintegrating released prisoners into a normal productive society. President Trump has emphasized prison reform as a policy initiative to succeed throughout his presidential term and 2021.

Two deep-red conservative states officials discussed the efforts taken by state governments to transform the jail reform into a traditional topic that might address electors who give public protection and security high priorities. Matt Schlapp spoke with the President of CPAC.

Governor Bill Lee from Tennessee used some hard statistics to point out the need for heightened attention for recidivism reduction. Gov. Lee pointed out that almost half of the released prisoners go on to re-enter the criminal justice system by either violating parole terms or re-offending.

Since 95% of currently incarcerated persons will be released at some point, many people are likely to have prison experiences that tend not to help them avoid recidivism. Lee stated that finding ways to assist that population while the state has custody and control is a solid conservative policy issue.

Governor Kevin Stitt from Oklahoma shared a phrase he said he has applied during his term: “Let’s lock up people we are afraid of, not people we’re mad at.”

Stitt said that he had authorized many commutations, addressing what he called the most significant percentage of incarcerated people in any state when he was elected. He stated that crime rates have not gone up in Oklahoma but have gone down across the board, as has the recidivism rate.

Both governors stressed the importance of religious programs inside their states’ prisons. Lee has worked as a mentor for released prisoners in Tennessee for 20 years before becoming governor, and Stitt stated that a seminary program he created for prisoners “makes a difference.” They also addressed the lowered costs that result from lower prison populations and recidivism rates.