State of the States: Justice Reform in Focus

maria News, Uncategorized

Each year, governors in every state deliver their annual State of the State addresses to lay out their priorities and set their agenda for the year to come. Across the country, governors from both parties are including justice reform as an important part of their agenda this year. Follow along on Twitter via the hashtag: #StatesLead. Here’s a rundown of what the governors are putting at the top of their agenda in 2017. Click to jump to a state Arkansas Arizona Connecticut  Illinois Kentucky  Missouri Nevada New Jersey  New York      North Dakota      Oklahoma     South Dakota    Virginia KENTUCKY  – Governor Bevin  February 8, 2017 “Criminal justice reform …

WATCH: “Changing Laws, Changing Lives:” Inside Look at How Georgia, Oklahoma and Kentucky Are Reforming Their Justice Systems

maria Uncategorized

We produced this video, “Changing Laws, Changing Lives,” to share the story how Georgia, Oklahoma and Kentucky – led by Republican governors – are reforming their justice systems. Govs. Matt Bevin, Nathan Deal, and Mary Fallin are featured in the video and discuss the often difficult journey they took in Kentucky, Georgia and Oklahoma to pass legislation with bipartisan support that reduce their states’ costly prison populations and break down barriers so individuals leaving prison can get back to work, support their families and lead productive, redeemed lives. The video makes clear that when we work together, regardless of political affiliation, we can make our justice system smarter, fairer and more efficient. Please share with your networks and then contact …

A First Mistake Shouldn’t Bar Anyone From A Second Chance.

Syrita Bowen Uncategorized

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have a criminal record of some kind, which carries lifelong barriers to employment, housing, and education. According to Prison Fellowship, there are over 48,000 of these barriers across the nation, which significantly impact attempts by returning citizens to reintegrate into society successfully, find employment, and lead crime-free lives. A 2010 report, issued by the Center for Economic Research, estimated that there were between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age in the United States as of 2008. Due to the adverse effects that a criminal record has on employment prospects, the report estimated that the economy lost between $57 and $65 billion dollars per …

ICYMI: Former US Attorney Calls on Legislature to Reform Justice System

Syrita Bowen Uncategorized

Brett Tolman, the former United States Attorney for the District of Utah appointed by President George W. Bush and former Chief Counsel for Crime and Terrorism for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling on Louisiana to take action on legislation that reforms the state’s broken justice system. In a post on the U.S. Justice Action Network’s Medium page, he writes:  “I had a front row seat as the system churned through relatively minor offenses and filled our prison system with people who still had a chance to be rehabilitated. That’s exactly why I believe Louisiana needs to tackle this problem at the state level right away. The Louisiana Senate has already …

Optimism for Federal Justice Reforms Grows in Congress

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

Today, Sen. Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor to express his hope for bipartisan sentencing reform this Congress. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s bipartisan vote to pass the Fair Chance Act out of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Following the U.S. Attorney General’s decision to restrict federal prosecutors’ use of discretion in individual cases, the U.S. Justice Action Network applauds the Senate for taking steps to work across the aisle and continuing the momentum for federal reforms.  Holly Harris, Executive Director of the U.S. Justice Action Network: “Contrary to what you may read in the news, one thing has become even more clear over the …

Senators Paul, Leahy, Merkley Work Across The Aisle For Justice System Reforms

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

U.S. Senators Rand Paul, Patrick Leahy, and Jeff Merkley reintroduced the Justice Safety Valve Act, which would allow federal judges to impose sentences below mandatory minimums on a case-by-case basis. Following the U.S. Attorney General’s decision to restrict federal prosecutors’ use of discretion in individual cases, the U.S. Justice Action Network applauds Sens. Paul, Leahy, and Merkley’s desire to move forward on federal criminal justice reforms. Holly Harris, Executive Director of the U.S. Justice Action Network: “As the nation’s largest bipartisan organization working to reform our justice system, we support reforms to federal sentencing policy for low-level, non-violent offenders. We are pleased to see a continued commitment in Congress from …

Louisiana Takes First Step on Justice Reforms That Make Neighborhoods Safer, Save Money

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

The U.S. Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system in Louisiana and around the country, praises the Louisiana Senate for passing the legislation recommended by the Justice Reinvestment Task Force. Taken together, the bills seek to improve public safety by strengthening community supervision, reducing recidivism, and increasing alternatives to incarceration. Thanks to the leadership of Sens. Donald Martiny, John Alario, and Jay Luneau, in addition to Reps. Walt Leger, Joseph Marino, Nancy Landry, and Pat Smith, Senate Bills 220, 221, and 139 passed the Senate with strong bipartisan votes. Holly Harris, Executive Director of U.S. Justice Action Network: “After years of living with the …