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Unlikely Cause Unites the Left and the Right: Justice Reform

In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch  speaks in Orlando, Fla. For as often as Democrats attack the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch for their heavy spending on politics, it's actually the liberal-minded who shelled out the most cash on the just completed midterm elections.  (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

WASHINGTON (New York Times) — Usually bitter adversaries, Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress have found at least one thing they can agree on: The nation’s criminal justice system is broken.

Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by the conservative Koch brothers, and the center, a Washington-based liberal issues group, are coming together to back a new organization called the Coalition for Public Safety. The coalition plans a multimillion-dollar campaign on behalf of emerging proposals to reduce prison populations, overhaul sentencing, reduce recidivism and take on similar initiatives. Other groups from both the left and right — the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Tea Party-oriented FreedomWorks — are also part of the coalition, reflecting its unusually bipartisan approach.

The coalition will have initial backing of more than $5 million, with groups also spending independently on their own criminal justice initiatives.

Organizers of the advocacy campaign, which is to be announced on Thursday, consider it to be the largest national effort focused on the strained prison and justice system. They also view the coalition as a way to show lawmakers in gridlocked Washington that factions with widely divergent views can find ways to work together and arrive at consensus policy solutions.

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