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We Can’t Reform Our Justice System Without Lifting Families


Common-sense criminal sentencing reform is gaining momentum. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins are among the signers of the Right on Crime Statement of Principles, which argues for applying “conservative principles to criminal justice policy” as “vital to achieving a cost-effective system that protects citizens, restores victims, and reforms wrongdoers.” Earlier this year, a collation of extraordinary political bedfellows—ranging from Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley to Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz—published a book of essays titled, “Solutions: American Leaders Speak Out on Criminal Justice Reform.”

What’s going on? Perkins, a former police officer, knows firsthand what is at stake when sentences are arbitrary, harsh, and simply unjust. He explains why so many political and other leaders are coming together on this critical issue.

Writing in 2013 about how to deal with nonviolent criminals, Perkins said, “Violent and career criminals must be locked up to protect society, and we must also exclude offenders whose crimes endanger their own children … But for many nonviolent offenders, we should do all we can to keep families together while maintaining public safety.”

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