- What is Criminal Justice Reform?
- Why is Criminal Justice Reform Needed?
- Why Have Incarceration Rates Increased?
- What Are Criminal Justice Reform Movements?
- What Are Criminal Justice Reform Programs?
- What is the Safe Justice Act?
Criminal justice reform is one of the most critical topics in today’s society. The criminal justice system has been under fire 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 after they are released from prison. This article discusses how criminal justice reform is changing the world!
What is Criminal Justice Reform?
Criminal Justice 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 drug treatment programs in prisons.
Criminal justice reform is an issue that has received increasing attention in recent years. Politicians, pundits, and the public are talking about ways to fix our criminal justice system, which incarcerates more people than any other country in the world.
Why is Criminal Justice Reform Needed?
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. For example, mandatory minimums have been a significant contributor to the rise in incarceration rates.
Why Have Incarceration Rates Increased?
In 1986, President Reagan signed into law a piece of legislation called the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. 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 – this one 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.
What Are Criminal Justice Reform Movements?
Criminal justice reform movements are working to 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 is making changes across the country.
Criminal justice reforms aim to make prisons safer by promoting more humane conditions in prisons while also 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, which aims to increase a former inmate’s chances of employment upon leaving jail.
What Are Criminal Justice Reform Programs?
These programs include:
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 so they can become successful entrepreneurs when released from prison.
This program helps reduce recidivism rates while also 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 the needs of this population and to 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.
What is the 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 bill was introduced in the Senate during the 114th Congress by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and is currently waiting for a vote. The House version of the bill, H.R.629, was introduced by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX2) on January 6, 2015, and referred to a committee. On May 19, 2015, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations voted to send the bill forward for consideration.
From 1926 until 2001, prisoners in federal prisons were barred from filing civil rights cases. That ban was removed with the passage of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. However, inmates still cannot file lawsuits related to prison conditions without first exhausting all administrative procedures.
The Safe Justice Act would let inmates file both petitions for writs of habeas corpus, challenging their confinement and civil rights cases without completing the administrative process. It would also allow them to challenge adverse actions (like segregation) by correctional officers rather than solely focusing on the decision-making process that led to their placement in segregation.
Criminal justice reform is changing the world. As we learn more about how humans think, behave and process information differently, criminal justice policies are beginning to change with them.
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.
Criminal justice experts say that this approach will be good not only for those recently released but also for society because it reduces crime rates while improving human potential.