States Cite Successful Smart Justice Reforms in Response to Federal Memo

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

Washington may be stuck in the 90s, but states are leading the way on smart justice reforms. Dozens of states have implemented – and many more are in the process of implementing – smart on crime policies that are making communities safer and reducing costs to the taxpayers. Between 2010 and 2015, over 31 states were able to cut both crime and incarceration. Further, we know that the ten states with the largest decreases in their use of prisons saw crime drop more (-14%) than those ten states with the largest increases in imprisonment (-8%). You can learn more about how states are leading reform efforts nationwide in the following …

Pennsylvania Reentry Council Offers Opportunity to Continue Efforts towards Criminal Justice Reform

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

Today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro convened the first meeting of the Pennsylvania Reentry Council (PRC). The PRC will be made up of a bipartisan coalition of major stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth tasked with finding ways to improve reentry efforts, reduce recidivism, and educate Pennsylvanians about the challenges of the justice system.  The U.S. Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system in Pennsylvania and across the country, today applauded the convening of this group as a first step and called for real action to come from their work: Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “We need to clear pathways …

Attorney General’s Charging Recommendations Highlight Need for Congress to Enact Laws Based on Conservatives’ Gains in Strengthening State Justice Systems

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday outlined a new charging policy for U.S. Attorneys. It restricts federal prosecutors’ use of discretion in individual cases and urges them to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.” Steve Hawkins, president of the Coalition for Public Safety, and Holly Harris, executive director of the U.S. Justice Action Network, commented: “Research has shown, time and again, that lengthy prison terms for lower-level offenders do not increase public safety. Federal prosecutors have a responsibility to enforce the law firmly, but need the flexibility to do so in ways that will best serve their communities and protect public safety. That’s why we have …

Governor Nathan Deal Continues Georgia’s Path to Becoming Smart-on-Crime

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

Governor Nathan Deal has repeatedly and continually made criminal justice reform a top priority of his administration. He has secured the passage of successive comprehensive reform measures, and just yesterday signed additional measures into law at the inaugural Department of Community Supervision Reentry Summit in Macon. The most recent justice reform package seeks to tackle the state’s unsavory title for leading the nation in rates of probation—at present, Georgia’s probation rate is four times the national average. Included in the package is SB 174, which sustains access to accountability courts, reforms the probation system so resources can be adequately allocated when risks of recidivism are highest, and improves the state’s …

U.S. Justice Action Network Commends Governor Branstad for Strengthening Iowans’ Property Rights

Syrita Bowen News, Uncategorized

Washington, D.C. – Today, Governor Terry Branstad sided with Iowa property owners by signing civil asset forfeiture reforms into law. Branstad strengthened property protections for Iowans by signing legislation requiring the government to 1) secure a criminal conviction for forfeiture of property below $5,000 and 2) present greater evidence for forfeitures above that amount. The legislation also shifts the burden of proof in the forfeiture proceeding from the property owner to the government. The U.S. Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the criminal justice system in Iowa and across the country, applauded the step forward.  Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “Civil asset forfeiture reform passed the …