Last week former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, conservative activist Pat Nolan, and authors Van Jones and Donna Brazile hosted the Bipartisan Summit On Criminal Justice Reform. Congress members from both sides of the aisle attended the event, where they all agreed that our country's prison policies are a topic worth tackling.
"A number of states are doing very exciting things that are moving us in the right direction, and now it's come to Washington and become more of a national issue," said Gingrich. "I was certainly surprised that 800 people signed up for a conference and had a truly broad, bipartisan conversation that agrees on some pretty big key principles for rethinking our criminal justice system."
Jones said that while many of his fellow progressives assume that the Republican party is stuck in a 1980s mindset, some data suggests that they are just as concerned as Democrats about taking the nation's prison policies in a reformed direction.
"Democrats and progressives have our own critiques and concerns about racial and social justice, but when you meet in the middle, there are some issues that just pop right up," he said. "Certainly giving people long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and petty property crimes is a big issue for both sides -- it's just a waste of money and can be dealt with better with rehab and other approaches. The idea that when people come back to their communities, they don't have help reentering, they don't have second chances at jobs and voting ... The fact that some people are in jail, not because they've been convicted but because they are too poor to make bail, those kinds of concerns are common ground now."
Watch the full HuffPost Live clip above to hear more of the bipartisan conversation surrounding prison reform.
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