Interview originally published on pewtrusts.org
Pat Nolan is a leading voice in the national criminal justice reform movement. The former Republican member of the California State Assembly served 29 months in federal custody for racketeering during the 1990s, and after his release he got involved in efforts to make sentencing and corrections policies more effective. He directs the Center for Criminal Justice Reform at the American Conservative Union Foundation and is an active member of Right on Crime, an alliance of conservatives that advocates for changes to the criminal justice system.
Last summer in Michigan, Siwatu-Salama Ra got into a verbal dispute with a neighbor. The neighbor escalated it by ramming her car multiple times into Ra’s vehicle, while her mother and two-year old daughter were nearby. Fearing for her life and that of her family, Ra, pulled out a lawfully owned – but unloaded – firearm and brandished it to scare the neighbor away. Ra was concealed-carry permit holder, in an “open carry” state with a “stand your ground” law on the books.
On May 3, the Center for Policing Equity presented ACUF CCJR Director, Pat Nolan, with its “Architect of Justice Award” for his lifetime of dedication to criminal justice reform. The Center for Policing Equity mentioned how Pat's work has unified California and the nation around the principles of dignity, compassion, and fairness for those we incarcerate. This work has laid the foundation for the bipartisan coalitions we see today.
On April 17, the Council of State Governments gave the Director of the ACU Foundation Center for Criminal Justice Reform, Pat Nolan, its “National Champion Award” in recognition of "His Contributions to Advancing Criminal Justice Reform and Improving Prisoner Reentry Efforts Nationwide”.