Proponents of the new wave of "criminal justice reform" claim that their efforts are nonpartisan, non-ideological and "evidence-based."
This "evidence-based" frame asserts that mass incarceration and "overcriminalization" will be remedied by a handful of sentencing reforms affecting "low-level" offenders. An essential element of such reform is the widespread use of "evidence-based risk-assessment" instruments to purportedly help authorities objectively determine who is "dangerous" - and therefore must remain in prison - and who is not.
This isn't a miracle cure; it is a lavishly funded public relations campaign advancing unfettered free-market "solutions" to criminal justice dilemmas and the politics of austerity. "Bipartisanship" is driven by a right-wing agenda and support from a constellation of libertarian and neoliberal economic interests. It is funded by Koch Industries and a handful of foundations and deep-pocketed donors. Yes, some high-profile people and groups considered liberal have signed on - but to messaging and strategic direction already established by the right.