Gara LaMarche on creating a social movement
Creating a Social Movement Gara LaMarche is the president of the Democracy Alliance. He explains that mass incarceration limits liberty and open society. As a result, in 1996, the Center for Crime, Communities, and Culture was founded to fund criminal justice advocacy. He notes that over time there has been improvement in drug policy at the state level. He attributes the changes in the criminal justice system to different social and political factors. It is important that those most affected by the criminal justice system, included those who have been incarcerated lead reform activism. Additionally, politically both the Evangelical Christians and fiscal conservatives see the necessity for reform. LaMarche believes that research, evidence, advocacy, and activism are necessary to produce change, and that a social movement sustains such change. Criminal justice reform has followed this path as it has moved from a policy issue to an issue of social justice. Justice in Focus: Crime Bill @ 20 is an initiative of the Vera Institute of Justice. 20 years ago, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, known today as the Crime Bill, was the largest piece of criminal justice legislation in U.S. history. It was passed with strong bipartisan support in an era when high-profile violent crime gripped the nation. Crime Bill @ 20 intends to start a dialogue to reflect on the impact of the Crime Bill, and to consider the future of criminal justice policy.