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Conservative group touts criminal justice reform

Friday, February 17, 2017
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

hands on prison barsCriminal justice reform is receiving an increasing amount of interest from the Right, and there's a reason it's being noticed more often by more people.

The phrase might conjure up an image of jailed criminals being setting free, to roam the streets and commit more crimes, but that is not always the case, says Derek Cohen of justice reform advocacy group Right on Crime.

"Here in Texas," he says, "we basically looked at what was driving our institutional populations. And we saw that our jails and prisons were full of revocations from probation or parole, usually not for a new offense."

Cohen says the review of the inmate population also showed the numbers were skewed by non-violent offenders who were taking up space for more deserving and dangerous violent offenders. The answer, he says, was to give judges and prosecutors more options than a jail cell for some offenders.

Right on Crime addresses criminal justice reform as well as civil asset forfeiture laws, substance abuse, juvenile justice, among other issues. The organization is a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

OneNewsNow asked Cohen if criminal justice reform is an issue faith-based groups can be a part of.

"Certainly," he says. "It cannot just be done through the state (and) if you look at Texas, going all the way back to under Governor George W. Bush, we have expanded our faith-based services, and we have many cooperative partnerships between private enterprise and our prison system where we have ministries, where we have job training."

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