Naureen Khan, from Al Jazeera America, attended CPAC to cover conservatism’s recent move toward criminal justice reform. As she traveled the exhibition hall, she spent time with Right on Crime, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty as well. She noted,
Indeed, criminal justice reform has gone from a niche issue in conservativism — important mainly to libertarians concerned with the government encroaching on individual rights — into the mainstream. Some on the right are pushing for the GOP to make it a signature part of conservative ideology, as much a part of the movement as reducing the debt or repealing Obamacare.
Heather Beaudoin and I were both interviewed as part of her story:
Marc Hyden, coordinator for the organization and a former campaign representative for the NRA, admitted that he was initially apprehensive about taking his new cause to conservative activists. “I was used to being kind of the darling of the conservative crowd,” he said. “I was worried that my peers might not accept me, but it was the direct opposite. We were inundated by supporters that didn’t know they could be conservative and against the death penalty.”
Hyden argues that opposition to the death penalty fits perfectly with conservative values. “I contend the conservative thing to do is to oppose the death penalty because of its risk to life and the high cost compared to life without parole,” he said. “There’s nothing limited about giving an error-prone state the power to kill citizens.”