1932

Abstract

Over the past 20 years, conservatives have often been at the forefront of criminal justice reform efforts, including to reduce mandatory minimum sentencing, lengthy prison terms, and excessive criminal fines and fees and to improve conditions in prisons and jails. Rejecting the Nixonian “law and order” impulse, criminal justice reform has increasingly become incorporated into the conservative political self-identity. But this has been an elite-driven phenomenon, and it is open to question whether the roots of that political identity are deep enough to withstand the rising salience of crime as a political issue. This review traces how criminal justice reform came to be incorporated into the conservative political identity, raises questions concerning its staying power in the face of rising crime and increasingly strident progressive demands, and proposes some principles that might ground a more lasting conservative commitment to a just, proportionate system of criminal justice.

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2023-01-27
2024-06-25
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