There aren’t too many things these days on which Republicans and Democrats agree. Partisanship is high, and considering that this is an election year, the incentive for both parties to work together to solve problems is low.
There is, however, at least one issue that has elicited support from both liberals and conservatives: prison reform.
In a recent commentary for Time magazine, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and MoveOn.org co-founder Joan Blades present a united front for calling for improvements to current incarceration practices. Despite their differing opinions on any number of issues, the authors are in agreement that reforming the way America looks at crime and punishment is something that deserves the attention of both the left and the right.
“Conservatives and progressives have come to see the skyrocketing costs of mass incarceration,” says the article, pointing out that the prison population has grown 500 percent since 1980. “… Conservatives and progressives see that the present justice and prison system do not do enough to reduce recidivism.”
The authors note that bipartisan efforts are underway in both the U.S. House and Senate that would grant a greater degree of flexibility to judges when sentencing. “This movement should have arrived decades ago,” they conclude. “It has much to accomplish still, but it is one shining example of trans-partisan cooperation that is beginning to save dollars, families, lives and our own communal sense of justice.”
Justice Fellowship, the public policy arm of Prison Fellowship Ministries, has long advocated a bipartisan approach to creating a corrections system that is efficient, just, and effective. Working with policy makers on both sides of the aisle, Justice Fellowship has assisted in the creation of legislation that promotes a transformational view of corrections. To learn more about the work of Justice Fellowship, visit their website at www.justicefellowship.org.