Incentivizing Justice Reform


Federal grant money currently incentivizes unwise policy choices, and instead should be linked to modern criminal justice goals, according to a new policy proposal from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

The proposal's authors argue that the $352 million Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program should be used as a tool to promote innovative crime-reduction policies nationwide.

The federal government currently asks states to report information such as the number of arrests made and the amount of cocaine seized, but not whether the crime rate dropped or whether defendants have been screened for drug addiction.

Under the Brennan proposal, “the goals for state and local agencies would drive toward a system that reduces crime and alleviates mass incarceration, while making more efficient use of taxpayer money. It can be applied to all criminal justice funding streams – federal, state, and local.”

The authors point out in the proposal that it can be implemented without legislation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Read the full proposal HERE.

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