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Blog

Justice Reform Gets a Boost from the Director of the FBI

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey signaled support for Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, calling the bill "reasonable." The legislation, which would expand the existing federal "safety valve" exception to mandatory minimum sentences, was approved by the committee in October and is awaiting action before the full Senate, which could happen in early 2016. In early November, FreedomWorks released a letter of support for the bill.

12/10/2015
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Blog

Senate Judiciary Hearing Outlines the Need for Justice Reform

This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, S. 2123, a modest bill that will expand the existing "safety valve" exception to mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent offenders and direct the Federal Bureau of Prisons to implement rehabilitative programs designed to reduce recidivism, or repeat offenses. The hearing came in advance of a mark up on the bill scheduled for Thursday morning.

10/19/2015
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Op-ed Placement

GOP Contenders Should Run on Ending Mass Incarceration

Agreement on big issues in Congress seems like a rarity, but there is growing support to address the crisis of mass incarceration from Republicans and Democrats alike. Even the GOP presidential contenders agree that the “war on drugs” has failed.

10/05/2015
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Four Myths That Are Being Used to Criticize Justice Reform

Well, it did not take long for some talking heads to begin criticizing a significant piece of justice reform legislation introduced on Thursday by an unlikely group of United States senators. Already, critics are desperately seeking to drive opposition to reform by stoking fears that Congress is "going soft on crime" to maintain the failed policies of the last few decades.

10/05/2015
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Blog

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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Op-ed Placement

The case for justice reform in Alaska

BY Jason Pye and Jorge Marin

For 30 years, America’s correctional policies put more people in prison and kept them there longer. This practice made our country the world’s most enthusiastic jailer by far. We have roughly 2.3 million people behind bars today, or nearly one in every 100 American adults.

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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Senate hearing highlights the movement toward justice reform

Shortly before adjourning for the August work period, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a hearing in which members began a review the United States' justice system and heard testimony from witnesses about the problems facing the federal prison system. The hearing was billed as the first of many to take a look at these issues.

08/19/2015
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Congress is closer than ever to enacting justice reform

The House of Representatives has already adjourned for the August recess. The Senate is expected to finish up its business this week before members leave Washington. The recess will not be a quiet one for members. They are gearing up for several tricky legislative initiatives and battles when they return in September, among which will be justice reform.

08/05/2015
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Republicans with law enforcement backgrounds lead on justice reform in Illinois

It may sound counterintuitive, but two Republicans in the Illinois House of Representatives with law enforcement backgrounds are leading the charge for justice reform in the Land of Lincoln, guiding legislation through the chamber that will give nonviolent offenders an opportunity to change the direction of their lives.

04/17/2015