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The GOP’s Justice Dilemma

With Donald Trump a self-declared ‘law and order’ candidate, where will that leave Republican advocates for criminal justice reform at this week’s convention?

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Sentencing Reform: Lessons from 10 Counties

As states begin to implement criminal justice reforms, judges and prosecutors will likely start to use risk and needs assessment (RNA) information during sentencing on a routine basis, according to a report published by the National Center for State Courts' Center for Sentencing Initiatives. In the report titled “Using Risk andNeeds Assessment Information at Sentencing: Observations from Ten Jurisdictions,” the authors analyzed initiatives in 10 jurisdictions nationwide, including behavioral treatment programs, evidence-based supervision programs and partnerships between probation departments and […]

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Want to Change the System? Elect a Better Prosecutor

Changes in the behavior of police and prosecutors are as critical to reducing U.S. jail and prison populations as legislative changes, the American Society of Criminology (ASC) was told yesterday. “If you care about justice reform, pay attention to who is going to be your District Attorney,” said Marie Gottschalk of the University of Pennsylvania. Speaking at the ASC's annual convention in Washington, DC, Gottschalk said that prosecutorial elections in many jurisdictions around the nation are becoming “hot” spots in […]

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'We Agree on the Bigger Issue'

The Charles Koch Institute is led by one of the richest men in the nation. Perhaps that's why its criminal justice reform summit in New Orleans this week defied conventions for gatherings of its kind. The three-day conference, called “Advancing Justice: An Agenda for Human Dignity & Public Safety,” was billed by one of its organizers as “transideological.” The two governors who spoke at the conference – Democrat Jack Markell from Delaware and Republican Asa Hutchinson from Arkansas – did […]

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Criminal Justice Reform Without Borders

Some 500 people gathered in New Orleans today for a meeting aimed at exploring what one of its organizers called a “transideological” approach to criminal justice reform. The meeting, called “Advancing Justice: An Agenda for Human Dignity and Public Safety,” was sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute, an educational group created by the billionaire who has been one of the country's prominent supporters of ultra-conservative causes. Will Ruger, the Institute's vice president for research, said the gathering hoped to go […]

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The “Eternal Criminal Record”

Does intensive criminal record-keeping help public safety–or hinder it? In a forthcoming article in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Kevin Lapp summarizes and critiques The Eternal Criminal Record, a recent book which argues that detailed criminal justice record-keeping undermines the chances that ex-offenders will successfully reintegrate into society. The book, by James B. Jacobs, shows how the current record-keeping system in the U.S. “presents a public-policy conundrum for American criminal justice: The more information we collect and share […]

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Remembering Jerome Miller: A Juvenile Justice Revolutionary

Yitzhak Bakal, Paul DeMuro, and Vincent Schiraldi also contributed to this article A generation of criminal justice reformers was inspired and energized by the extraordinary life and work of Dr. Jerome G. Miller. While we may be in an era of a nascent movement of positive reform, it is important that we recall his enormous contributions to challenging the entrenched unfairness and brutality of the justice system— well before it was publicly acceptable to do so. Miller passed away this […]

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Vera: Criminal Justice Reform is a Nationwide Trend

Legislation passed in states across the nation in 2013 pushed aside old “tough on crime” policies in favor of community-based programs and practices that “can produce better outcomes at less cost,” according to a new report from the non-profit Vera Institute of Justice. The report examines 85 bills passed in 35 states that relate to reducing prison populations or costs, expanding community-based sanctions, implementing risk and needs assessments, developing re-entry support programs or research into better criminal justice policies. “By […]