Mercury News: Sentencing reform should be a conservative priority

In an editorial written for the Mercury News, Pat Nolan, a former Republican Leader of the California Assembly member, makes the case for why prison reduction makes sense across the political spectrum….

Prison in Tracy, California

At long last, California will have to deal with our bulging prisons, where 140,000 inmates are crammed into facilities designed to hold 80,000. The Supreme Court found conditions that are profoundly troubling, and these prison conditions could turn a short sentence for a nonviolent offense into a death sentence because of inadequate medical care.

Certainly our prisons hold many folks who are very dangerous and need to be locked away from society, even for the rest of their lives. However, we also send many low-risk offenders to prison. As a conservative Republican, that makes no sense to me, as it is very costly and can sometimes turn low-level offenders into hardened criminals. Continue reading