The Conservative Political Action Committee played host to a lively debate on criminal justice reform. One of the featured speakers, tough-on-crime talking head Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke—who once compared BlackLivesMatter to ISIS terrorists—took the extreme anti-reform position.
"Reform flies in the face of getting tough on crime, which has led to record lows of violent crime in your communities," said Clarke.
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the American Conservative Union's Pat Nolan pushed back against Clarke's assertions. Cuccinelli took the moderate position that conservatives ought to be involved in criminal justice reform so that it "gets done right."
"We're bankrupt," said Cuccinelli, noting that releasing low level non-violent offenders would save money.
Nolan was even more adamant about the need for reform. "We're filling prisons with people we're mad at," he said.
Clarke vehemently contested Nolan's statistics.
"Figures lie and liars figure," said the sheriff. "Stop cuddling up to crime."
Clarke did, however, have some compassion for teenage offenders who committed minor transgressions. He said more ought to be done to prevent them from becoming career criminals, though he didn't have the answer.
Many in the audience applauded his tough-on-crime talking points, though Nolan and Cuccinelli scored some cheers as well.
"There's more dope in prison than outside of it," Nolan quipped as the discussion came to an end.
"Not in my jail there's not," replied the sheriff.
Reason covered the 2014 CPAC, where Grover Norquist presented the conservative case for criminal justice reform. Watch that video below.