AP analysis: GOP’s balancing plan for prisons with anti-crime policy

It sounded like a Conservatives Anonymous meeting one morning last week at the Mississippi Capitol.

“I’m Andy Gipson, and I’m tough on crime,” was how the chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee introduced himself — perhaps to provide a bit of political cover for other Republican lawmakers ahead of a vote on a prison reform legislation meant to reduce the number of people in Mississippi state prisons.

For decades, Republicans have been advocating an anti-crime policy that includes heavy doses of locking people away. And that’s typically been combined with accusations that Democrats are soft on crime.