Conservative Think Tank Presents Seven Criminal Justice Reform Measures that Show Great promise
Date:  11-04-2016

The Heritage Foundation encourages the federal government to incorporate states’ legislation in the Justice Department’s policies
From The Heritage Foundation:

In a debate over how we define crimes, whom we send to prison, how long we send them there, and what we do with them while they are incarcerated, Congress should look to the states for seven examples of reform. A number of states—those laboratories of democracy—are leading the current push for genuine reform that does not involve issuing get-out-of-jail-free cards to those deserving of punishment. The federal government would be well-served by looking to the modest, measured pieces of legislation states have crafted to battle overcriminalization and enact effective criminal justice reform.

Current debates over criminal law and punishment—including “how we define crimes, who we send to prison, how long we send them there, what we do with them while they are in prison, and what we do with them once they are released”—are not new. Before the states were even formed, American colonists struggled to define crime and exact just punishment. While punitive incarceration was rare in the colonies, offenders were publicly whipped or displayed in stocks, and faced the prospect of hard labor or huge fines. Suggestions that we have not progressed towards a fairer system since that time likely do not account for “water tests” for the crime of witchcraft.

Today we have our own set of perils, such as overcriminalization—the “misuse and overuse of criminal laws and penalties to address societal problems” —that have lawmakers considering those old debates anew. Broad bipartisan coalitions have formed and are now pressing for various legislative reforms to the criminal justice system at all levels of government. While federal legislators are currently debating the merits of several relevant bills, state lawmakers are miles ahead, having already adopted a number of criminal justice reform bills that hold great promise. Read more here > >