ALEC Justice Performance Project

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The ALEC Justice Performance Project (JPP) is an initiative of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that the organization says "is part of a growing movement among conservatives working to improve public safety by refocusing taxpayer dollars on violent offenders and away from low-risk offenders."[1] It is "the entity within ALEC that works on criminal justice issues."[2] The "project" appears to have taken on some of the roles of the Public Safety and Elections Task Force that ALEC abandoned in April 2012 in the face of controversy over such bills as "Stand Your Ground"/Castle Doctrine and the Voter ID Act. For example, it pushes ALEC bills such as the "Community Corrections Performance Measurement Act" and the "Swift and Certain Sanctions Act,"[1] and adopts new ALEC bills.[2] An internal ALEC document obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) via open records request suggests that the project is treated like a task force, with members from each state being chosen by the ALEC state chair just as for other task forces. According to the same document, major issue areas covered by the project include "criminal justice (including courts and sentencing, prison overcrowding); corrections and reentry (parole, recidivism rates, instituting evidence-based practices, and justice reinvestment)."[3]

While the work of the project indicates it may be taking steps away from ALEC's previous "tough on crime" measures[4] that put more people in prison for more time and helped make the United States the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world,[5] ALEC has taken no steps towards urging repeal in any states of the "model" bills it pushed for many years.

Included in the issues that the JPP has carried forward from the Public Safety and Elections Task Force is support for the private bail bond industry. A 2014 ALEC annual meeting workshop agenda promises to show legislators the "nuts-and-bolts" of "efficiently engaging the public-private partnership with the surety bail industry. . . . By forming and efficiently maintaining responsible partnerships with the private surety industry," the agenda claims, "state and local jurisdictions can provide workable, fiscally responsible solutions to the nation's crucial jail overcrowding problem at no cost to taxpayers."[2] See PRWatch for more on ALEC's ties to the for-profit prison and bail industries.[6]

Project Started in November 2012

ALEC unveiled its new "Justice Performance Project" at its 2012 "States and Nation Policy Summit" in Washington, D.C., when it hosted an educational panel on criminal justice reforms in the states. The panelists were Pat Nolan of Prison Fellowship Ministries (an ALEC member previously on its Public Safety and Elections Task Force), Marc Levin of State Policy Network-member think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation (another ALEC member previously on its Public Safety and Elections Task Force), and Georgia Representative Edward Lindsey.[1]

Personnel

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About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

Members

  • Chairman: Rep. Chris Shank (R-MD)[8]
  • Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-TX 130)[3]
  • Rep. Tan Parker (R-TX 63)[3]
  • Rep. Stefani Carter (R-TX 102)[3]
  • Rep. Debbie Riddle (Alternate) (R-TX 150)[3]
  • Rep. Steve Toth (Alternate) (R-TX 15)[3]
  • Stacie Rumenap, Stop Child Predators

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Michael Hough and Cara Sullivan, American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC Part of Growing Criminal Justice Movement, Inside ALEC, organizational newsletter, January/February 2013, p. 4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 American Legislative Exchange Council, 35-Day Mailing - Agendas and Proposed Model Policies for 2014 Annual Meeting, organizational agenda document, accessed July 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Jodie Laubenberg, ALEC Texas State Chair, State Chair Task Force Nomination Form, For Term: January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2014, April 12, 2013, document obtained by and on file with CMD.
  4. Cara Sullivan, When the Time Doesn’t Fit the Crime: America’s Overcriminalization Problem, Inside ALEC, organizational newsletter, January/February 2013, p. 5.
  5. Roy Walmsley, International Center for Prison Studies, World Prison Population List (ninth edition), organizational report, September 2010, p. 1.
  6. Brendan Fischer, ALEC, For-Profit Criminal Justice, and Wisconsin, PRWatch, July 18, 2011.
  7. American Legislative Exchange Council, Inside ALEC, organizational newsletter, May/June 2013, p. 4.
  8. American Legislative Exchange Council, Inside ALEC, organizational newsletter, May/June 2013, p. 4.
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