Chuck DeVore served in the California Assembly as a Republican out of Irvine from 2004-2010.
He made an unsuccessful run for the GOP's U.S. Senate nomination, flirted with the Orange County supervisor's race and then picked up his family and moved to Texas, saying California had become to liberal for him.
But DeVore will be back under the California Capitol dome this morning, lobbying for what would appear to be a most-un-knuckle-dragging-conervative thing …
DeVore is the vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. More important to the point of this post, he is a leader on the national Right on Crime movement, which holds conservatives should be as conservative on prison spending as they are on social spending.
State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has included DeVore as one of the experts who will speak to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review that Leno chairs. The topic for the scheduled 10:30 a.m. hearing in Sacramento: "Corrections and Rehabilitation: Realignment, Court Oversight and Legislative Options."
Unlike other members of his Grand Old Party, DeVore does not oppose prison realignment. As he wrote in the Los Angeles Times last year with Pat Nolan, a distinguished fellow on justice at Prison Fellowship Ministries and Republican leader of the state Assembly from 1984 to 1988: "Realignment gives local jails the responsibility–and funding–to oversee low-level inmates, while violent and career offenders remain the responsibility of costlier state prisons."
DeVore and Nolan accused many Republicans of being "knee-jerk" when it comes to criminal-justice spending, allowing government resources to be blown on locking people up despite that running counter to their conservative values.
"Instead of reflexively chaining themselves to a costly prison structure that is failing, California conservatives should take a page from conservatives in other states who have successfully reformed prisons with conservative ideas," they wrote. "Those reforms have reduced crime and taxpayer costs while keeping the public safe and, when possible, providing assistance to victims."
Get this: their column mentions investments would be better made in programs that prevent crime, reduce recidivism and offer alternatives and treatment for drug offenders.
"For too long, California conservatives have fallen into rhetorical traps that run counter to true conservative values of limited government and fiscal discipline," the former assemblymen wrote. "Now is the time for conservatives to retire the tough-on-crime sound bites and instead propose proven criminal justice reforms."
Other speakers scheduled to face Leno's committee this morning include: Aaron Edwards, senior fiscal and policy analyst, Legislative Analyst's Office; Martin Hoshino, undersecretary of Operations, the state Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation; Magnus Lofstrom, research fellow, Public Policy Institute of California; Terri McDonald, assistant sheriff, Los Angeles County; and Karen Tami, senior program associate, Vera Institute of Justice.