Kara Gotsch

Kara Gotsch is director of advocacy for the Sentencing Project, a national research and advocacy organization working for a fair and effective criminal--justice system.

Recent Articles

Bipartisan Justice

Fixing America?s punitive penal system has politicians crossing party lines.

Moments before landmark legislation to reduce prison sentences for low-level crack-cocaine offenses passed the House of Representatives in July, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, issued a warning to the chamber: ?The Democratic Party teeters on the edge of becoming the face of deficits, drugs, and job destruction.? Smith hoped to play into the Democrats? decades-old fear that politicians who don?t endorse tough punishments lose elections. As it turned out, Smith was the only member to speak in opposition to the bill in either the House or Senate. When Smith finished, some of his Republican colleagues, including James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Dan Lungren of California, both prominent members of the House Judiciary Committee and hardly ?soft on crime,? addressed the chamber. They joined members of the Congressional Black Caucus in endorsing the legislation. Libertarian-leaning Ron Paul also supported the bill, even arguing the reform was weaker than he had wanted. The...