ACLU’s Laura Murphy on Criminal Justice Reform, Libertarian Movement, and the Surveillance State

This week, Laura Murphy, Director of the Washington Legislative Office for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Photo Credit - ACLU

Photo Credit – ACLU

Ms. Murphy grew up in a politically active family that advocated citizen action.  After campaigning, working on Capitol Hill, lending her talents to several elected officials, working for several different ACLU offices, she was offered the position of Director of the Washington Legislative office in 1993 and was the first woman, African America, and has been the longest serving Director of the DC Legislative Office.

Almost 46,000 individuals are behind bars for non-violent drug offenses and can now apply for clemency.  While there is a strong libertarian movement questioning the war on drugs, many state legislatures grapple with the budgetary implications of an expanding prison population.  Furthermore, many religious movements are advocating redemption.  There are also those who express concern that that the application of justice with respect to the war on drugs comes down with disparate representation regarding minority groups.

Ms. Murhpy’s observed major changes in the Republican Party since 2008.  Whereas the the party once ostracized members who challenged party orthodoxy, it now seemingly welcomes more dissent under the big tent.  The Democrats, Ms. Murphy observers, have some serious hawkish elements.

Lately, the ACLU has been at the forefront of the battle against the unprecedented surveillance by government agencies like the NSA, the use of torture by the CIA, and overreach by law enforcement agencies.

Individuals concerned with government overreach and encroachment can sign up for action alerts from the ACLU and like organizations.