“Ruining Lives with Criminal ‘Justice’” appears in New York Times

In today’s New York Times, Doug Deason recounts a youthful mistake that could have ruined his life – affecting his ability to go to college and even to get a job – by sending him to prison. Thankfully, Deason had the resources to fight the charge. But, too many Americans who make similar mistakes are not so lucky.

The explosion of federal and state crimes, and regulations carrying criminal penalties, has made the number of criminal offenses virtually unknowable. And far too many of those laws do not require that offenders actually intend to commit a crime. After serving sentences that are often inappropriately long, restored citizens must attempt to re-enter a world that doesn’t always welcome them back. Reintegrating former inmates into society is crucial for ensuring the public safety necessary for societal flourishing. That is why enhancing opportunities for former inmates is one of several issues that the Charles Koch Institute engages in every day.

In fact, the Charles Koch Institute is hosting Advancing Justice, a summit to help identify the next set of justice reform priorities and to support a broad coalition of leaders that can help address barriers to further progress. To further the educational goals of the summit, the Charles Koch Foundation is requesting proposals for research that examines the effects of the criminal justice system on individual and societal well-being.

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