Criminal Justice Reform: The Programs And Things You Should Know

Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal justice reform has been widespread for years, with critics arguing that it is too costly and ineffective at reducing crime.

However, criminal justice reform movements are working to change this by promoting more humane criminal codes, reevaluating prison sentences, and providing programs to help inmates become productive members of society.

The criminal justice system is not just a legal issue, it’s a moral issue. It’s about who we are as a people.

Barack Obama

Prison Reform

Prison reform is a change in the criminal justice system intended to make it more fair and humane. These reforms can take many different forms, from reducing the number of people going to prison, releasing more prisoners on parole or probation, and implementing prison drug treatment programs.

Criminal Justice Reform: Necessary

Today, there are 2.3 million people in American jails and prisons. That means we have 5% of the world’s population but 25% of its prisoners.

This is costly to taxpayers; it affects the lives of incarcerated people, their families, and society as a whole. Reform can save taxpayers money while also reducing crime rates.

Doing so will require policymakers to work together to make this happen – both Republicans and Democrats must unite to fix this broken system.

Over the last few decades, many changes have been made, which have increased incarceration rates. Many of these changes were supported by politicians from both political parties.

Policies implemented by past administrations – including mandatory minimums, three-strikes laws, and reducing judicial discretion – are responsible for the skyrocketing prison population.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences Reform

Mandatory minimums have been a significant contributor to the rise in incarceration rates.

Critics say that mandatory minimum sentences are unfair and could lead to innocent people’s imprisonment. They argue that judges should be able to take individual circumstances into account when sentencing someone.

Supporters of mandatory minimum sentences say that they are necessary to deter crime and ensure that everyone who commits an offense is punished equally.

Criminal Justice Reform: Incarceration

In 1986, President Reagan signed a piece of legislation called the Anti-Drug Abuse Act into law. The primary effect of this bill was to introduce harsh penalties for drug offenses – including mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of selling drugs or possessing specific amounts.

This legislation set a precedent by establishing mandatory minimums as the policy of choice for drug offenses. Also, in 1994, President Clinton signed another bill called The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

The act once again included mandatory minimums, which were now explicitly applied to crimes committed with firearms. Reporters found that ‘high-profile shootings [were] exploited to make dramatic point about need for toughness.’

Between 1993 and 2008, the number of people admitted into prison with a firearm conviction and a drug offense rose from 3,900 to 26,200.

Additionally, legislators have passed “three-strikes” laws that require courts to give criminals lengthy sentences even if their offense was a low-level one.

For example, in some states, three-strikes laws now result in life imprisonment for those who commit minor crimes such as stealing a pair of socks or defacing currency.

Criminal Justice Reform: Movements

Criminal justice reform movements help ex-inmates reenter society after their prison sentences end.

Criminal codes have been criticized for being too expensive and ineffective at reducing crime, but criminal justice reform changes across the country.

Criminal justice reforms aim to make prisons safer by promoting more humane conditions and helping inmates become productive members of society when they leave prison.

This has led many states around the U.S. to implement programs that teach new skills or provide job training upon release from prison, aiming to increase a former inmate’s chances of employment upon leaving jail.

Criminal Justice Reform: Programs

Second Chance Pell

The Second Chance Pell program is a project created by the Obama Administration that aims to provide a second chance for Americans who have been convicted of a non-violent criminal offense to access postsecondary education.

In this program, students can apply for federal financial aid to help cover the cost of their tuition and fees.

The program also provides students with priority consideration for other forms of financial assistance from the Department of Education.

Ban the Box

Ban the Box is a criminal justice reform movement that aims to decrease employment discrimination against people with criminal records by removing questions about criminal history from job applications.

This would allow former inmates who have served time for crimes they committed to be considered for jobs without being immediately rejected based on their criminal record, which could prevent them from reentering society after leaving jail or prison.

Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP)

PEP provides a solution to this problem by providing entrepreneurship education, mentorship, and support for those incarcerated to become successful entrepreneurs when released from prison.

This program helps reduce recidivism rates while reducing crime rates through economic development.

Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF)

Since the 1970s, the Job Opportunities Task Force has been founded to represent the interests of African Americans in Philadelphia. The organization was founded by Herbert H. Franklin, Jr., Apostle Bruce L. Miller, Sr., and Clara Rogers Franklin.

The JOTF has been instrumental in challenging institutional racism within American society. It has also sought changes in corporate policies to incorporate African-Americans.

This includes representation on corporate boards of directors for major companies in America, which were historically only run by white males, among other things.

Women’s Prison Association (WPA)

In the United States, the WPA is an advocacy group that has been established to help women who have been incarcerated.

The group was also created to focus on this population’s needs and ensure their safety.

In addition, it is a group that provides outreach for this population by offering classes, training, and other services to them.

The WPA provides various services to women in prison, including employment training, literacy programs, legal assistance, family engagement events.

At the same time, the inmate is incarcerated and reentry services upon release from jail or prison. This helps inmates become self-reliant once they are released back into society.

Safe Justice Act

The Safe Justice Act is a piece of legislation in the United States that would establish protocols for the medical screening and treatment of federal prisoners to reduce the risk of sexual abuse.

It would also require inmates, people in jail, and people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be screened to see if they are victims of trafficking before being incarcerated.

The First Step Act

The first step act is a bipartisan bill signed into law by Donald Trump on December 21, 2017. The bill aims to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated in the United States.

It does this by increasing the availability of rehabilitation programs for incarcerated people and by providing incentives for states to implement these programs.

The bill also allows for the use of certain drugs to treat opioid addiction.

Criminal Justice Reform: Quotes

We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and make it smarter, fairer, and more effective.

President Barack Obama, October 28, 2015

The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

Senator Rand Paul

There is an emerging consensus across the political spectrum on the need for criminal justice reform. We must work together to fix our broken system.

Senator Chuck Grassley

“Criminal justice reform is one of the few issues that enjoys bipartisan support in Congress.” -Representative Bobby Scott

Here are some quotes from prominent public figures on the need for criminal justice reform in 2020:

“We have allowed our criminal justice system to become a machine that generates human tragedy. We have to fix it.”

Cory Booker, U.S. Senator

We must confront the reality that mass incarceration is not just a criminal justice problem – it is a civil rights crisis and a moral failure.

Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State

The time has come for us to stand up and proclaim that we will no longer allow politicians to exploit this issue for their own gain. We will demand real reform.

Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator

We have to collectively acknowledge that the criminal justice system in our country is racist, is flawed and is in need of fundamental change.

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator

There is no question that our current criminal justice system is rigged against poor people and people of color.

Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator

Final Word On Criminal Justice Reform

The Department of Justice has made it a priority to focus on helping people who have been incarcerated successfully reintegrate back into society after release from prison or jail time.

They are investing in programs like cognitive-behavioral therapy and other rehabilitation services for prisoners before their release date can reduce recidivism rates (the tendency to relapse) and improve public safety by providing individuals with better mental health care when needed.


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