Charles Koch, the current chairman of Koch Industries, has always supported conservative Republican candidates, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t hold some liberal views of his own.

Many people acknowledge the waste, inefficiencies, and injustices present in the current justice system but don’t fully understand the ramifications of the strict criminal laws that are put in place. The United States has the second highest number of people in prison in the world behind only China which has a population five times the size of the United States. The population in prison is disproportionately poor, as was noted by a spokes for Charles Koch in an interview with Newsweek and the cost of incarcerating these individuals is staggering. Each year, $80 billion spent on just the process of keeping people in prison, and this figure does not include the costs associated with the criminal justice system of trying, investigating, and the lost economic output from the imprisonment of these people.

Charles Koch is long been associated with the Republican party and other conservative groups as his beliefs are centered on the importance of having a smaller and leaner government that does not harm individual freedoms. Republicans are often considered to be tough on crime and have heavily pursued the war on drugs which have contributed to the high incarceration rate in the country. Despite Koch being affiliated with the Republican Party, he differs on the best causes and solutions for the prison problem.

Namely, Koch indicated that the cost of keeping such a high number of people in prison is three to four times as high as the amount of money that is currently being spent on education. Since most people in prison have lower amounts of education, increasing the education level by investing in schools will help to lower the overall cost of the criminal justice system and save money.

When thought of this way, Koch’s beliefs which are often associated with liberal belief systems are actually conservative in theory. These proposed prison reforms, on which Koch has actually been supportive of the moves made by Democratic President Barack Obama, show that Koch is taking a fuller and more holistic view of the problems that the United States is facing, rather than blindly adhering himself to one party’s mantra. Perhaps Koch’s beliefs are more liberal than one would have guessed from the stream of political contributions that he has made through his Super PACs.

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