Charles Koch might not be the first person you would assume to be a proponent of criminal justice reform, but he certainly has a passion for the subject. A well known businessman and philanthropist, Charles Koch is the co-owner, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board of Koch Industries along with his brother, David. The businesses manufacture a wide variety of household brands, such as Lycra, Quilted Northern, Dixie Cups, and Stainmaster carpet. Charles supports many free-market oriented educational programs, and contributes to a variety of charitable and cultural organizations.
During a recent interview, Mark V. Holden, senior vice president of Koch Industries, shed some light on the Koch criminal justice doctrine. While many people believe that the criminal justice system is broken, they don’t always agree on the reasoning. Koch believes that there is a polarization of experiences in the criminal justice system between wealthy and poor individuals.
The United States spends over $250 billion each year on the criminal justice system, which is more than we spend on public education. The system in place today has created a cycle of incarceration, despair, and poverty within America’s lower class. One particularly unsettling example of this is the fact that people are now pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit. Another major problem is the striking shift in the balance of power from judges to prosecutors.
Koch believes that instead of being “soft on crime” or “tough on crime” we need to be “smart on crime” and “soft on taxpayers.” Furthermore, he states that the focus of incarceration should be reform, redemption and rehabilitation, rather than reprisal, retribution and revenge. According to Koch, there also needs to be a change in the way we allow former inmates to reenter society. There are currently thousands of restrictions on ex-cons that severely inhibit their ability to vote, acquire work, loans, housing, and credit cards.
This article recapped http://www.newsweek.com/charles-koch-closet-liberal-418860