Austin, TX — Today, twenty prominent Texas conservative leaders sent a letter to Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn urging them to support the First Step Act, which would provide reentry programming to help reduce recidivism, provide modest sentencing reforms, increase public safety, and give those incarcerated a second chance once they have paid their debt to society. The legislation passed the House of Representatives on May 22nd and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
The letter, organized by Right on Crime and signed by conservative leaders engaged in criminal justice reform, states:
“Now, Washington D.C. has another opportunity to learn from the Texas experience by passing the First Step Act, which would bring some of the reforms that have cut crime and costs in Texas to the federal prison system. We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation that received 360 votes in the House, including the entire Texas GOP delegation and all but two of the entire Republican Caucus.”
It goes on to highlight the results of criminal justice reforms implemented in Texas:
“Texas has closed 8 prisons and achieved a reduction of more than 20% in its incarceration rate. Most importantly, over the last decade, Texas has seen its crime rate fall by more than 30%, reaching its lowest level since 1967.”
It closes by saying:
“The debate now focuses on including limited sentencing reforms similar to those enacted in many conservative states. As a result of these reforms, conservative states have ensured that higher-level operators in criminal conspiracies are severely punished with long prison terms while street-level bit players are punished with the mechanism most appropriate for the situation. We must be tough on those bent on poisoning our communities, so too must we be intelligent about how we punish.”
The full text of the letter is available here.
Right on Crime is a national campaign of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in partnership with the American Conservative Union Foundation and Prison Fellowship, that supports conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders, and lowering taxpayer costs. The movement was born in Texas in 2005, and in recent years, dozens of states such as Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, have led the way in implementing conservative criminal justice reforms.
Right on Crime has the support and works to mobilize the voices of more than ninety prominent conservative leaders who have endorsed the principles of conservative criminal justice reform, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance, former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.