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September 27, 2017

Grover Norquist calls criminal justice reform one of the "conservative movement’s most important recent accomplishments"

Anti-tax icon Grover Norquist has this notable Wall Street Journal commentary under the headline "Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform: You don’t hear about it much, but 31 mostly red states have reduced both crime and imprisonment." Here is how it starts:

Every so often I’m asked to list the conservative movement’s most important recent accomplishments.  One always ranks near the top: criminal justice reform.

With leadership from Republican governors and legislators and groups such as Right on Crime, conservatives have pushed to rein in runaway prison spending and adopt cost-conscious correctional policies that improve public safety.  Starting 10 years ago in Texas, more than half of all states have now shifted course, changing laws to ensure that violent offenders serve hard time while those who are not a danger are steered toward less expensive alternatives that can help alter the paths of their lives and make communities safer.

Taxpayers benefit.  In 2007 the Pew Charitable Trusts projected that state prisons would grow 14% over five years, costing states $27.5 billion more.  Instead, the reforms have bent the curve.  The state prison population is down 5%.  Between 2010 and 2015, 31 states reduced both crime and imprisonment, proving that fiscal discipline and safe streets can go hand in hand.

September 27, 2017 at 04:44 PM | Permalink


Criminologists on the left have been saying there is too much incarceration since the 1990s, when Republicans and the right were still into building more prisons. Twenty years later, the right catches up, takes credit for CJ reform and the reduction from 1,615,487 in 2009 to 1,526,792 in 2015 (latest figures from Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2015, Table 1). If they are going to take credit for the 89,000 person reduction in incarceration, they should take some responsibility for the extra hundreds of thousands in prison because of their laws and policies.

Posted by: Paul | Sep 27, 2017 7:20:55 PM

I consider Grover Norquist to be part of the failed Washington elite. Crime certainly has not dropped. This false propaganda is more Washington failed elite bullshit. Dismissed.

Posted by: David Behar | Sep 27, 2017 8:28:13 PM

Paul seems to have a point. But, Republicans are in power now, so like Trump will pat themselves on the back.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 27, 2017 8:50:57 PM

" The state prison population is down 5%. Between 2010 and 2015, 31 states reduced both crime and imprisonment, proving that fiscal discipline and safe streets can go hand in hand."

Welcome to fantasy land. There certainly is no reduction in crime, unless you forgo lawyer math of counting, and start doing left wing math, which is also called lying.

Posted by: David Behar | Sep 29, 2017 7:03:07 AM

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