Safer Communities, Smarter Spending

About 95 percent of those confined to state prison will eventually re-enter society. This is why reformers must focus attention on reducing recidivism and balance "tough on crime" practices of the past with proven "right on crime" practices that protect victims' rights and keep communities safe.

 

Embracing Innovation in State Government


Conventional governing is hampering Pennsylvania’s progress. Growing state budgets combined with one-time revenue transfers and targeted tax hikes are delaying the structural reforms essential to improving the quality of life for people who live and work in Pennsylvania.

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Keystone Criminal Justice Reform


As lifelong conservatives, we’re proud to call ourselves tough on crime and to support lengthy prison terms for dangerous felons. But after a long, taxpayer-funded era of mass incarceration, it’s time we face some hard facts: Our bloated, hugely expensive criminal-justice system has produced disappointing results.

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My Journey to Commonwealth Foundation's Board


How did a registered Democrat and the daughter of former Democratic Governor George Leader find a place on Commonwealth Foundation’s Board?

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Protect Property Owners from Unreasonable Forfeiture


Our justice system is supposed to presume innocence until guilt is proven, but every year, Pennsylvanians are stripped of about $14 million on allegations that their property was involved in a crime. It’s time to protect the rights of the innocent and end the aggressive use of civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture turns justice on its head, forcing property owners to prove their innocence instead of requiring the government to prove their guilt. It’s a system in desperate

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Pennsylvania State Budget

Pennsylvania State Budget Toolkit


The enacted $29 billion General Fund budget (a 1.88 percent increase over 2013-2014) and $71.4 billion total operating budget represent Pennsylvania’s highest spending levels ever—exceeding years when federal stimulus dollars were used to balance the budget.

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corrections reform arrow

Don't Fire Arrows without Arrowheads in Corrections Reform


Reforming our state corrections system is not being soft on crime—it is being smart on crime. To achieve transformative corrections reform, lawmakers should finish this critical legislative package and build on the historic achievements they've already made.

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Pennsylvania Passes Proven Prison Reform


Pennsylvania's inmate population and rate of recidivism have reached crisis levels in recent years. Since 1980, Pennsylvania's inmate population increased over 500% between 1980 and 2009.

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Pennsylvania's Blueprint for Better Public Safety


As Pennsylvania confronts another tight budget, Governor Corbett and legislative leaders must address the skyrocketing costs of prisons. Obviously, there are dangerous people who should be locked up to protect the public. However, as with all government agencies, there is waste and inefficiency in the criminal justice system that costs the taxpayer dearly but does not make us safer.

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Commonsense Can Correct Corrections


Kyle, a convicted burglar sentenced to 1-3 years in Pennsylvania state prison, was granted parole in June 2011, but spent an extra 100 days in jail, not because he failed to serve time for his crime, but because he couldn't pay an administrative fine. According to the Department of Corrections, his due was $13.70.

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Pennsylvania State Budget Toolkit

Pennsylvania Corrections Spending


The FY 2011-12 total operating budget of $63.4 billion, which included $27.1 billion in General Fund spending, represented the first year-to-year reduction in state spending in at least 40 years. However, as the economy continues to struggle out of a recession and with increasing costs in public welfare, corrections, pensions, and debt, the FY 2012-13 budget will require even more difficult decisions by the General Assembly and Governor Corbett to put Pennsylvania on a path to prosperity.

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