Criminal justice reform “is much closer to being GOP orthodoxy now—especially in the states—than the old tough on crime stance is,” says Steve Teles of Johns Hopkins University, who with David Dagan recently published a book, “Prison Break: Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration.” He says the most important evidence is the list of “bright red states like Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia that have passed major reforms over the last few years,” The Atlantic reports.
“If I’m worried about anything, it’s [Donald] Trump,” Teles tells interviewer David Frum. “He’s like a throwback to New York in the 1980s.”
Teles adds: “The Right on Crime movement depends upon, in some important ways, the transformation of the Republican Party into a more consistently anti-statist party in the wake of the Tea Party, combined with the role that evangelical leaders have played in encouraging an emphasis on second chances and forgiveness. Neither of those changes in conservatism is characteristic of the conservatism of Trump. I could imagine him going all-in on a back-to-the-80s, Charles Bronson-ish approach to crime, and if he’s able to rebrand the Republican Party in that way, that would be very troublesome.”