Thursday, February 12, 2015

Koch Brothers taking on criminal justice system

Koch Industries, Inc., the corporation led by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, is holding discussions with a coalition of strange bedfellows to tackle criminal justice reform, reported The Huffington Post.
In conversations with people like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and organizations like the ACLU, the Koch brothers are homing in on reducing overcriminalization and mass incarceration, as well as reforming practices like civil forfeiture. Progressives, rather than giving the Kochs the stink eye, are welcoming their efforts.
Koch Industries general counsel and senior vice president Mark Holden told The Huffington Post that he met with Booker and his staff a few weeks ago. The New Jersey Democrat and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are co-sponsoring the REDEEM Act, legislation that would give states incentives to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18, among other reforms.
Criminal justice reform isn't a new area for the Kochs. A spokeswoman says the company has five to six people working on these issues and has donated "seven-figure funding" in total over the past 10 years to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, an organization that promotes justice and due process. (To put that figure into perspective, however, the Koch Brothers have reportedly budgeted $889 million for the 2016 presidential and congressional races alone.) In addition to giving grants to NACDL, Koch has invested a significant amount of money on criminal justice reform efforts for more than 10 years, the spokeswoman said.
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