Juvenile Justice Bridges Right, Left

A conservative think tank in Texas and the ACLU may seem to have little in common. But they and other conservative, liberal and nonpartisan groups are working — successfully — on juvenile justice law changes that are putting minors firmly in juvenile court, out of incarceration with adults and in community-based rehabilitation. “There’s a great opportunity for collaboration across the aisle on this issue,” said Marc Levin, senior policy advisor at Right on Crime. The Right on Crime initiative started in 2010 inside Austin’s Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a conservative think tank.  Right on Crime evaluates adult and juvenile corrections reforms through a lens of effectiveness and cost savings and promotes its findings in other states.  For the last few years, as state revenues shrink and budgets must be slashed, the Texans’ money-saving ideas are catching more ears.

Right on Crime and the Conservative Focus on Juvenile Justice

For years, many people have considered juvenile justice reform a dyed-blue plank in the liberal platform. However, deep in the heart of the red state of Texas, one conservative organization has adopted the issue as a major policy concern heading into the 2012 election season. “The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a free-market, state-based think tank,” said Marc A. Levin, Director of the organization’s Center for Effective Justice. The Austin-based organization [texaspolicy.com], originally founded in 1989, implemented a criminal justice emphasis in 2005. In 2010, the organization began its Right On Crime campaign, which Levin considers “a national platform for reform.” Several prominent conservative politicians and analysts — among them, Newt Gingrich, Jeb Bush and William J. Bennett — have all signed onto the campaign’s statement of principles.