Seven State Criminal Justice Reform Measures for Congress to Consider

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 and measured pieces of legislation states have crafted to battle overcriminalization, and enact effective criminal justice reform. With a renewed focus on some of the excesses and inequities of America’s current criminal justice system, there is cause for continued optimism on criminal justice reform in the state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

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