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Criminal justice reform: something almost everyone agrees upon

In a national capital where the only thing that legislators on opposite sides of the political aisle can seemingly agree upon is to disagree, is there any issue -- anything at all -- upon which discord can be muted and amity might prevail?

Indeed, there is, and that bipartisanship agreement on the subject could ever emerge at all would have been virtually inconceivable even a short time ago.

Imagine reform-minded sentiments on any topic being similarly expressed by ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the one hand and former President Bill Clinton on the other. What national concern could possibly forge unanimity between the American Civil Liberties Union and the ultra-conservative Koch brothers? What subject matter could possibly be co-endorsed by both Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz and Vice President Joe Biden, respectively?

This one: criminal justice system reform, which, if journalistic best practices didn't otherwise dictate, would be set off in this sentence by bold and uppercase lettering.

Bipartisanship on criminal justice reform measures has perhaps never been more apparent across the United States than it is right now, with voices across a broad spectrum agreeing that current policies need to be adjusted to better ensure equitable sentencing outcomes and cost savings for the country.

Gov. Perry has told listeners that conservative governance entails shutting prisons down rather than continuously adding to their overflow. President Clinton has publicly rued his endorsement of laws enacted during his presidency that "were overly broad instead of appropriately tailored."

It is often commented upon these days that American prisons are stuffed to the breaking point, with high numbers of persons being locked up for nonviolent offenses. Critics cite the high social and economic costs related to policies that stress lengthy lockups mandated by so-called mandatory minimum sentencing terms.

The next presidential cycle is already upon us, and heating up. It seems a high likelihood that voters in North Carolina and nationally will be regularly hearing from candidates on matters relating to systemic reforms in the criminal justice system.

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