One of Florida’s most prominent advocates for criminal justice and sentencing reform voices is turning toward Washington, D.C.
Greg Newburn of Families Against Mandatory Minimums will soon join the Niskanen Center, a think tank in the nation’s capital.
Newburn will head up a new criminal justice program at the Center, which has previously developed a reputation in environmental advocacy and immigration reform. He will continue to live in Florida.
“I’m grateful for my time at FAMM and proud of the work we’ve done, which includes the successful repeal of some terrible sentencing laws and helping pass an important constitutional amendment,” Newburn said.
“I’m thrilled to join the Niskanen Center, which I believe is the most exciting and effective think tank in the country. The Niskanen Center’s criminal justice department will build on the organization’s strong reputation to help federal and state lawmakers — including here in Florida — continue to improve their criminal justice systems.”
For the past decade, Newburn worked as Florida director for FAMM.
During that time, he’s built a reputation as a moderate to conservative voice on criminal sentencing, prison conditions and criminal justice. He also played a significant role in supporting Amendment 4, a statewide ballot measure passed in 2018 to restore voting rights to felons upon completion of their sentence.
He has loudly criticized the lack of attention on the spread of the coronavirus within Florida prisons.
But he’s also worked with Republican lawmakers to change the conversation around law and order. That helped shift a tough-on-crime approach to one addressing appropriate punishment and an ability for criminals completing sentences to return to society as productive members.
The state on Newburn’s watch has made significant changes to the law including raising the threshold on crimes like felony theft. Newburn has usually greeted advances with hope for even more.
Newburn said he could not pass up the opportunity to launch a program with Niskanen. Since the think tank is proudly committed to remaining moderate and bipartisan and has supported some center right initiatives, that seemed a good ideological fit.
Newburn will continue with FAMM through the end of the Legislative Session but wraps up his time on Friday.