Grand Rapids Town Hall: Is the Criminal Justice System Good for Business?

Monday, October 19, 2015
12 p.m. Lunch | 12:30 p.m. Program

$30 Economics Club Members, $37 guests
Reservations requested by October 15.

This program will take place at the JW Marriott, 235 Louis Campau NW, Grand Rapids, MI.

The United States is home to less than five percent of the world’s people, yet it bears 25 percent of the world’s imprisoned. The U.S. rate of incarceration is roughly 12 times the rate in Sweden, eight times the rate in Italy, seven times the rate in Canada, five times the rate in Australia, and four times the rate in Poland. The National Research Council has called the current rate “unprecedented by both historical and comparative standards.”

Are we living in an age of over-criminalization? And is our criminal justice system good for business? Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates a conversation with Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel at Koch Industries, Inc., and Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow emeritus at The Heritage Foundation.

The program weighs the economic impact of our justice system against its benefit to public safety. Are state and federal governments using their resources wisely? When 65 million Americans have a criminal record, what is the cost to family life, access to housing, and employment? Does the system create a class of people dependent on the state? On the other hand, do criminal laws actually reduce crime and improve safety? Would reform initiatives such as “Ban the Box” make crime more likely? Are formerly convicted felons more likely to commit crime, or does the law unconstitutionally shut them out of the economy and civil society?

Participants will also assess calls for reform, including the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, recently introduced in Congress.

This program is made possible through the support of a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed during the program are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

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