The Coalition for Public Safety, a new advocacy campaign backed by groups from the right and left, will work to reduce prison populations, change sentencing laws and cut recidivism, the New York Times reports. Among the backers are Koch Industries, a conglomerate owned by the conservative Koch brothers, and the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based liberal group. Others include the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Tea Party-oriented FreedomWorks.
The coalition has initial backing of more than $5 million, with groups also spending on their own criminal justice initiatives. The Times says organizers of the drive consider it the largest national effort focused on the justice system. They view the effort as a way to show officials in gridlocked Washington that factions with widely divergent views can find ways to work together and arrive at consensus solutions. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation helped organize the campaign, which started at a meeting last fall. “These groups bring an opportunity to really reach a broader audience,” said Christine Leonard, a former congressional and White House aide involved in criminal justice issues, executive director of the coalition.