Most of the discussion on justice reform efforts focuses on federal legislation. Indeed, several bills with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate would aid in safely reducing the federal prison population and addressing the revolving door of incarceration.
When I took office in January 2011, Georgia was in the midst of a criminal justice system crisis. The state’s prison population and incarceration budget had doubled in the previous two decades and taxpayers were spending $1 billion per year to keep tens of thousands of inmates behind bars.
The problems at the heart of our criminal justice system now permeate every corner of our communities — from the mother who is left behind to support her family alone to the returning citizen who has paid his debt to society but still can’t find work.
As governor of Oklahoma, I’ve seen first-hand the profound impact incarceration has had on our families, children, communities and state.
While dozens of states across the country have moved forward with bipartisan-supported criminal justice reforms, Pennsylvania holds a unique place in this effort as the birthplace of the movement.
Did you know that inanimate objects could be found "guilty" in a court of law and ultimately become the property of the state?
He was handcuffed and detained for two hours without having any charges filed, but found his duffle bag $17,550 lighter after police took his money despite no evidence of his having broken any laws. Such is the incivility of civil asset forfeiture.
Washington could learn from Kentucky’s efforts to reform our state’s criminal justice system. Just because we have traditionally governed in a less-than-effective way, doesn’t mean we should continue in our old, bad habits. In fact, it’s exactly why we should not.
If you do not yet believe that bipartisan criminal justice reform is possible inside the dysfunction of Washington, it is time to put away your doubts.