March 2015 Newsletter: Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal Justice Reform

March 23, 2015
Since my last update, my wife and I welcomed our second child and first son, Reagan, into our family on February 6th. He shares a birthday with a great American, President Ronald Reagan. We appreciate your prayers and support over the last 6 weeks and ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers.

I continue to post votes from the council meetings directly on my Facebook page. Votes from March will be posted later today. I promised to do this during the campaign for two very simple reasons: 1. As a member of council, you do not have a single place to go to view my voting record; and 2. I believe this vote belongs to the people of District 2, not me. You should always know how I voted on an issue. I have received numerous positive comments in support of continuing to post these votes, but please let me know if there are any steps I can take to improve this for you.

During our March council meeting last week, we tackled a number of important issues, including a discussion on the Tourism Action Plan and its economic impact. One of the items that I found encouraging was a short discussion sparked by a grant application from the Detention Center related to criminal justice reform. The grant would not require matching funds and is from a non-profit group that is seeking to work with local governments to experiment with ideas to reform the criminal justice system. If granted, it would provide $150,000 initially to create criminal justice reform proposals and a second round grant would provide $2 million annually to implement those proposals.

Criminal Justice Reform is shaping up to be one of the few large bipartisan issues, with Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and others teaming up at the federal level to propose changes. Councilman Michael Brown, a Democrat, and Councilman Roger Nutt, a Republican, both members of the Public Safety committee spoke in favor of these types of reforms. As a conservative, I believe criminal justice should follow a few main principles: 1. fighting and reducing instances of crime; 2. supporting and advocating for victims; and 3. protecting our taxpayer resources. I think Americans are realizing that our criminal justice system in its current form is not always adequately addressing these goals. We should support reforms starting at the local level, using the laboratories of democracy in our system, to embrace reforms that improve the system. I look forward to working with my other council members to strengthen reforms that are already being implemented and finding new solutions. Public Safety is a critical government function, so we should make sure the resources we spend on it are effectively helping our law enforcement to keep us safe and achieving society’s goals of reducing crime and supporting victims.

Criminal justice reform is in line with my desire to improve our county government and implement common sense reforms to better serve our residents. If you have any ideas on criminal justice or other areas of government, please contact send them to me at justin@justinbradleyforsc.com with the subject line: Ideas.

God bless,

Justin T. Bradley
District 2 Representative, Spartanburg County Council