By Jason Taylor
Two organizations that are often on opposite sides of political issues have joined forces for a panel discussion Friday evening.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the libertarian group bankrolled by the billionaire Koch network, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which defends the Bill of Rights and has been associated with progressive policies, have teamed up to host a bipartisan panel to discuss ways to end mass incarceration in Missouri.
Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Missouri thinks the rate that people are imprisoned in Missouri reflects a national problem. “Unfortunately, the United States over incarcerates. We are the worst offenders in the world in terms of the kinds and numbers of people we put behind bars,” said Mittman. “This destroys families. It’s racially targeted.”
Joining the discussion will be a bipartisan group of five Missouri state House members; Republicans Shamed Dogan of Ballwin and Jean Evans of Manchester, along with Democrats Bruce Franks of St. Louis, Tracy McCreery of Olivette and Peter Merideth of St. Louis.
Dogan and Franks offered legislation this year in Jefferson City that dealt with crime and imprisonment. Franks authored a resolution that cleared the General Assembly and was signed by the governor to declare youth violence as an epidemic in Missouri.