In 2015, advocates for juvenile and criminal justice reform may be surprised to find a new ally in the oft-controversial Koch brothers, who control the second-biggest privately-owned business in America and financially fuel several libertarian and conservative causes.
Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch plans to invest in reform of the system next year with a focus on the impact that “tough on crime” policies have had on sentencing and incarceration.
Koch told Wichita Eagle reporter Roy Wenzl, in an article that ran Sunday, that he felt the system needed reforms “especially for the disadvantaged,” and that criminal sentences needed to be “more appropriate to the crime that has been committed.”
“Over the next year, we are going to be pushing the issues key to this, which need a lot of work in this country,” Koch told Wenzl.
He gave no further indication about the direction of his efforts, though Wenzl mentions that Koch has already supported the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
The Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy was established in 1980, and includes both the Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute. The Charles Koch Foundation only supports organizations with 501(c)(3) status.
John Kelly is an editor for The Chronicle of Social Change.