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Blog

Justice Reform Legislation on the Move in Oklahoma

Three bills that would overhaul Oklahoma's sentencing policies and another offering more drug treatment programs are moving toward a final vote in the state Senate. The bills, which have already cleared the state House of Representatives are part of the latest effort to overhaul Oklahoma's criminal justice system to make it more efficient, reduce recidivism, and enhance public safety.

04/06/2016
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Antonin Scalia: An Unlikely Ally in the Fight Against Bad Sentencing Policy

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia sent shockwaves through the conservative movement, and everyone, regardless of their philosophic persuasion, is trying to figure out what the loss of this conservative icon means for the future of the Supreme Court and the Constitution. It is likely, however, that the answer will not come until November.

02/16/2016
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Oklahoma to Continue Trend of Conservative Justice Reforms

While the junior senator from neighboring Arkansas continues to seriously mischaracterize legislation designed to reform the federal sentencing and corrections policies, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signaled in her State of the State address Monday that she is ready to continue the trend of conservative states acting on justice reform.

02/01/2016
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Senators Unveil a Modest but Historic Justice Reform Compromise

This morning, after months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), unveiled a historic justice reform compromise. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would bring a number of reforms to the federal prison system, including an expansion of the "safety valve" exception to mandatory minimum sentences, the creation of a second "safety valve," and rehabilitative programs designed to reduce recidivism, or repeat offenses.

10/01/2015
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Sharanda Jones' story is an example of everything wrong with the United States' draconian sentencing policies

Sharanda Jones made a poor decision. She was connected to a drug ring in Kaufman County, Texas and, in November 1997, was arrested along with dozens of others. This was her first arrest, and she was a nonviolent offender. She was charged by the federal prosecutors with six counts of possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy. In August 1999, Jones was acquitted of the six possession charges, but she was convicted on the conspiracy charge.

09/02/2015
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Federalism in Action: How Conservative States Got Smart on Crime

Justice reform has become a hot topic on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress from both parties are pushing for substantive reforms that would bring rehabilitative programs to the federal corrections system, modify out-of-date sentencing laws, make communities safer, and reduce burdens on taxpayers. But reform would not be possible if conservative states had not previously paved the road.

08/24/2015
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Op-ed Placement

No more costly mandatory minimum sentences

BY Jason Pye and Marc Levin

Recent rulings at the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage and Obamacare are high-profile reminders that there is not much the left and right agrees on in this country. But yet another new bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, introduced recently by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) with the support of almost two dozen other Republicans and Democrats, shows that one thing we do agree on is that this country locks too many people up for too long at too high a price.

08/14/2015
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Congress must address out of control spending at the Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is coming under some scrutiny from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). The two Kentucky Republicans recently introduced the Federal Prisons Accountability Act, S. 1784, which would require the president to appoint the director of the agency and subject the nominee to Senate confirmation under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.

07/29/2015
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The SAFE Justice Act would bring groundbreaking reforms enacted by conservative states to the federal government

Thursday was a huge day for anyone following the debate and movement on justice reform, the interest in which has grown substantially in recent days. Out of nowhere, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave his support for, perhaps, the most comprehensive justice reform bill proposed in the current Congress.

07/17/2015
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Cost-savings should be a priority in any Senate justice reform deal

Several Senate Judiciary Committee members are working on compromise legislation that would combine elements of a prison and reentry reform bill, the CORRECTIONS Act, and a sentencing reform bill, the Smarter Sentencing Act. The committee acted on prison and sentencing reforms, separately, in the last Congress, but neither proposal made it to the Senate floor for a vote.

07/07/2015

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