Governors from Coast to Coast Prove #StatesLead on Justice Reform in 2017
**Click Here To ViewState of the States: Justice Reform in Focus**
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Justice Action Network announces a new website tracking governors who put justice reform on their agendas through mentions in their 2017 state of the state addresses. As of today, dozens of governors have prioritized justice reform in these landmark speeches. From Arizona to Connecticut, governors from both parties are asking their legislatures to make common sense justice policies that safely reduce incarceration rates and improve public safety an important part of this year’s agenda.
This website is designed to serve as a living resource for journalists and policy makers interested in how states are tackling bipartisan justice reforms in the year ahead. The site includes video, full text of the addresses, and press coverage. You can see which governors are discussing reform by visiting the site: State of the States: Justice Reform in Focus.
The U.S. Justice Action Network is monitoring each address in every state, continually updating the site and will also be tweeting content from each speech using the hashtag #StatesLead.
Holly Harris, Executive Director of the U.S. Justice Action Network: “As state legislatures fire up across the country, our focus now turns to the states for common sense justice reforms that have strong support on both sides of the aisle. States have long been home to successful legislative efforts that safely reduce prison populations, increase public safety, and save significant taxpayer dollars. Whether its Missouri or Arizona leaders aiming to give those leaving prison a second chance, or Idaho and Virginia policymakers who are focused on sentencing and treatment alternatives for those with mental health issues, it’s clear that achievements in states like Texas, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Oklahoma over the last year have inspired governors across the country looking to fix their broken justice systems. The U.S. Justice Action Network is on the ground in 14 states, and these state of the state addresses are making proven justice reform policies a top priority in statehouses across the country.”
Here is a sample of what the governors are saying:
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens – “If someone gets out of prison, we want them to go to work. We want them to pay their fair share of taxes. We want them to take care of their kids. We want them to set a good example. And the last thing we want is someone coming out of prison and committing another crime that hurts another family and starts that same bad cycle all over again. We need to do different.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe – “One result of our challenged mental health system is that too many individuals who suffer from behavioral health disorders wind up in jail, where there are not enough resources to properly care for them. To solve that problem, I have proposed legislation and funding to expand mental health screenings in local and regional jails.”
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson – “We need to continue to look at our criminal justice system in this state to assure that our incarceration policies are right, to assure that our policy is balanced between public safety and giving those a second chance in life who have fulfilled their responsibility to society.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey – “We also need to make sure that a second chance really is a second chance… Through efforts, like our community correction centers, we’ve made strides to help bridge the gap. But more is needed. That’s why I am announcing an effort of the governor’s office, to engage the faith and non-profit communities in being advocates for our citizens leaving prison and transitioning back into society. And inside our prisons, we will be adding employment centers to help with things like building a resume, getting a job before the release date.”