Coalition Prepares ‘Smart on Crime’ Primer For New Government


A coalition coordinated by the Constitution Project, a Washington think tank, has drafted “Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress,” which the organization described as a “comprehensive set of recommendations for the new administration and Congress.” More than 25 organizations and individuals participated in developing the policy recommendations across 15 broad issue areas, including sentencing, prisons, grand juries, forensics, asset forfeiture and innocence. The recommendations were vetted with a broader group of diverse experts, the group said.

For each issue area, the document identifies and summarizes problems, evaluates possible solution, notes potential supporters and opponents, identifies experts and provides links to supporting materials. For example, on the issue of “overcriminalization,” the primer begins, “The tendency to create new federal crimes in the face of social crises is a study in misdirected intentions and misplaced effort…Vague criminal laws, coupled with an expanding list of federal crimes, can lead and have led to abuses by the executive branch in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion.” The Constitution Project said it was motivated by a set of principles that include cost and effectiveness, fairness and accuracy, elimination of disparities, alternatives to incarceration, proportionate punishment, and rehabilitation and reentry after incarceration.


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