Foremost Progressive And Conservative Organizations Join Forces To Support Criminal Justice Reform
The United States is home to five percent of the world’s population, but holds 25 percent of the world’s prison population. Putting more offenders in jail doesn’t make people any safer — and may even be counterproductive. We spend $80 billion per year on a system that we increasingly know to be devastating communities and ineffective in fighting crime.
Clearly, there is an urgent need to reform our nation’s criminal justice system. And there are some unlikely bedfellows coming together to do it.
Today launches The Coalition for Public Safety, a non-profit that will work to reform our criminal justice system to make it more just, more fair, and more effective. The Center for American Progress is proud to be part of the Coalition, which consists of leading organizations from both sides of the aisle including the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, Faith & Freedom Coalition, FreedomWorks, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Right on Crime.
Through educational events, national and state-based outreach, and media, the Coalition for Public Safety will work across the political spectrum to pursue a comprehensive set of federal, state, and local criminal justice reforms that will:
- Reduce our jail and prison populations and associated costs;
- End the systemic problem of over-criminalization and over-incarceration – particularly of low-income communities and communities of color;
- Ensure swift and fair outcomes for both the accused and the victims; and
- Make communities safer by reducing recidivism and breaking down barriers faced by those returning home after detention or incarceration.
You may have noticed that, yes, this means CAP is partnering with the Koch brothers on something. But to be clear, this project won’t impact how CAP and CAP Action deal with the Koch brothers in any way. While we look forward to working together on shared goals around criminal justice reform, we strongly disagree with the Koch brothers on a wide array of issues from the economy to energy. We’ll continue to do what we’ve always done, which is hold the Koch brothers accountable for economic advocacy that benefits the wealthy few instead of the middle class, for energy advocacy that favors polluters instead of investing in clean energy, and for efforts to change the rules of our democracy to make it harder for Americans to cast a vote.
“We have in the past and will in the future have criticism of the policy agenda of the Koch brother companies, but where we can find common ground on issues, we will go forward,” said Neera Tanden, CAP’s president, in an interview with the New York Times. “I think it speaks to the importance of the issue.”
While we certainly don’t agree with these partners on everything, the issue of criminal justice is too important to wait. And in a environment of intense political polarization, the Coalition sends a message to lawmakers: we are asking you to work together, and we are willing to lead the way.
So check out the Coalition for Public Safety, and join our effort to reform our broken criminal justice system.