December 1, 2016
Google, the U.S. Justice Action Network and the Coalition for Public Safety brought together diverse voices from the north, south, east and west to highlight successes on the state level and urge federal action on justice reform on December 1st.
Governors John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and Dannel Malloy of Connecticut were in attendance, representing red and blue states that are vastly different in most regards but represent the broad support for reform measures. Their discussion makes it five governors, Republican and Democratic, that have participated in our events to raise awareness on the need to reform our broken justice system.
“I have made justice reform a top priority because I have seen the progress other states have already made in reducing incarceration while improving public safety,” said Governor Edwards. “Too many people are behind bars who would see better outcomes with alternatives to incarceration. This approach has proven to save significant taxpayer resources and lower crime and recidivism rates.”
“The progress we have made in Connecticut should serve as a model for those in D.C. We reduced mandatory minimums and improved public safety, which means we were tough on crime and easy on the taxpayer,” said Governor Malloy. “I worked across the aisle to pass sentencing reforms and measures to ensure those who are returning to society have a fair shot at becoming productive citizens again.”
U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Mike Lee followed the governors, taking part in a “fireside chat” moderated by Google’s Malika Saada Saar.
“From law enforcement and faith leaders to civil rights advocates and business leaders, voices across the country are calling for smart, common sense reforms to our criminal justice system, from passing smarter sentencing laws to breaking down barriers for those with records who have paid their debt to society.” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“The states should serve as our laboratories of democracy, and we know from their successes with these reforms that we can reduce the prison population while lowering crime and recidivism rates, said U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT). “The American people are not satisfied with the status quo, and the time to act is now.”
USJAN Executive Director Holly Harris was clear that, “we brought these champions together today to make a clear statement that the justice reform movement is alive and well and the calls for action are louder than ever.” The leadership of Governors Edwards and Lee she said, “and that of dozens of their fellow governors from red and blue states across the country, should inspire Congress to move these proven reforms to a vote.”
For Steven Hawkins, President, the Coalition for Public Safety, the summit set the tone for 2017. “At a moment when the left and right could not be further from common ground on many issues, smart justice reform remains a unique point of consensus,” he said, “and as the examples of Louisiana and Connecticut show, it truly can make all of America’s diverse communities safer, more equitable and more just.”