The familiar war-on-drugs plank was conspicuously absent from this year’s Republican policy platform, notes the Washington Post. The fight against illegal drugs is only mentioned in passing, mostly with reference to drug cartels and the ban on using controlled substances for doctor-assisted suicide. Policy experts agree that the omission is significant. Mark Kleiman, a crime policy expert and professor at UCLA, called it “astounding.”
What's more, the 2012 platform includes new provisions that emphasize the importance of rehabilitation and re-entry programs to help ex-prisoners integrate back into society—using language that Kleiman describes as “a lot less 'lock 'em up and throw away the key.'” The experts believe it's partly the outgrowth of a prison-reform push on the part of GOP governors whose state budgets have been saddled with high incarceration expenses. In recent months, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have embraced crime reform legislation to support the kind of rehabilitation programs that the GOP platform now advocates, with some also reducing jail time for non-violent offenders.