The American Bar Association today launched a criminal-justice-reform effort aimed at changing laws and practices on topics including pre-trial release, decriminalization of minor offenses, prisoner re-entry, increased use of parole and probation, and community corrections in 10 states. The program will operate in California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. In each state, the ABA has assembled a team including prosecutors, defense lawyers, and allied organizations to push for change.
The goal is “to create an effective, low-cost system that improves our current justice system,” the ABA says. Its changes would “promote public safety, reduce recidivism, and save money.” In the pre-trial area, the ABA says that many inmates who pose little risk tot he community sit in jail for more than a year before their cases are resolved. Annually, $9 billion is spent on services for those who cannot afford bail, says the ABA.