There has been a significant shift in thinking far beyond the courts and progressive policy advocates. That was the significance of Trump talking about rehabilitation and reintegration, rather than indulging in lock’em-up rhetoric and policy.
In the United States, conservatives mostly prefer to talk about the direct costs of incarceration, or the opportunity cost of having inmates not working and thus not contributing to society and paying taxes. Other conservatives address the broader philosophical point about whether a limited state should be incarcerating people at rates that exceed even totalitarian states.
This newspaper has been running a series of commentaries series of commentaries on the state of conservatism in Canada and its future. If Canadian Conservatives want to offer something fresh, a shift in thinking on criminal justice would be a good example.