UTAH BECOMES SECOND STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO PASS AUTOMATIC EXPUNGEMENT LEGISLATION

Syrita Bowen News, Press, Utah

House Bill 431 Provides Automatic Expungement For Individuals with Misdemeanor Convictions After Remaining Crime Free for a Certain Number of Years Legislation Heads to Governor Gary R. Herbert for Signature SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Today, Utah legislators passed “The Expungement Act” of 2019 with a unanimous vote of 69-0 in the House, and a unanimous vote of 27-0 in the Senate. Championed by chief sponsor Representative Eric K. Hutchings (R-38) and Senator Daniel W. Thatcher (R-12), House Bill 431 creates a mechanism for automatic expungement of certain criminal records, making Utah the second state in the country to offer this opportunity for low-level records, next to Pennsylvania. This bill, if signed into law, will provide individuals with …

Tennessee Criminal Justice Reform Poll Results

Syrita Bowen News, Press, Tennessee

On behalf of the Justice Action Network, ACLU-TN, and Right on Crime, Public Opinion Strategies conducted a statewide survey of 500 registered voters (moe + 4.4%), February 19-21, 2019. A full report on the poll results can be found here. Tennessee voters believe the state’s criminal justice system needs significant reform. Fully 69% of voters believe the criminal justice system in Tennessee “needs significant improvements” versus just 26% who believe it “is working pretty well as it is.” By a 91%-9% margin, voters agree that “The main goal of Tennessee’s criminal justice system should be rehabilitating people to become productive, law-abiding citizens.” By an 84%-14% margin, voters agree that “Tennessee …

AS GOV. LEE DEBUTS FIRST STATE OF THE STATE, BREAKING NEW POLL SHOWS OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR BOLD CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AGENDA

Syrita Bowen News, Press, Tennessee

Poll Shows Tennesseans Stand Behind Key Planks of Governor’s Agenda; 91% Say Main Goal of Tennessee’s Criminal Justice System Should be Rehabilitation (Nashville, TN) – Hours before Governor Bill Lee’s first State of the State address, where he’s expected to announce criminal justice reform will be a focus of his first year in office, the Justice Action Network, ACLU-TN, and Right on Crime announced overwhelmingly positive polling results for some critical reforms expected in his address. This survey of 500 registered Tennessee voters, conducted between February 19-21, revealed overwhelming bipartisan voter support for various criminal justice reform measures in Tennessee. Key to this agenda are rehabilitation and second chance legislative measures. …

WATCH: Justice Action Network Releases Short Film on Rehabilitative Programming Opportunities in Tennessee’s Prisons and Jails

Syrita Bowen News, Press, Tennessee

Prioritizing Workforce Development Reduces Recidivism and Improves Public Safety Nashville, TN – Today, the Justice Action Network (JAN), the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system at the state and federal level, premiered a short film highlighting the rehabilitative, educational, and workforce development opportunities in Tennessee’s prisons and jails before the Tennessee House Judiciary Committee. The production, filmed inside the Turney Center Industrial Complex and Nashville’s Correctional Development Center, features interviews with those currently incarcerated, lawmakers, sheriffs, program officers, and others who are working to equip individuals with skills and opportunities to improve their chances of employment upon release. At a time when the Tennessee Legislature and Governor …

ARKANSAS LEADS ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AS CRUCIAL CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE MEASURE FLIES THROUGH STATE SENATE WITH UNANIMOUS BIPARTISAN VOTE

Syrita Bowen Arkansas, News, Press

Senate Bill 308 Protects Property Rights, Strengthens Due Process (LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS) – Once again, Arkansas continues to lead on criminal justice reform, as the Arkansas Senate voted unanimously on a bipartisan basis to pass the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 308). The bill will overhaul the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws to ensure that innocent citizens are not forced to forfeit their property without due process of law. This legislation is championed by Senate Majority Leader Bart Hester (R-1) and Representative Austin McCollum (R-95).  Under Senate Bill 308, no property will be forfeited by the government unless there is a related criminal conviction, with certain exceptions.  “While forfeiture is an important tool for law enforcement to …