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Criminal justice campaigns that can win in 2018

States can still determine the future of mass incarceration. We share our ideas for winnable justice reform in 2018.

by Aleks Kajstura, December 20, 2017

The 2018 legislative session is just around the corner, and we’ve compiled — as we do every year — a list of under-discussed but winnable criminal justice reforms. Despite the White House’s efforts to set the country back on criminal justice, the good news is that states remain empowered to determine the future of mass incarceration.

The list is published as a briefing with links to more information and model bills, and it was recently sent to reform-minded state legislators across the country. Our list of reforms ripe for legislative victory are:

  • Ending prison gerrymandering
  • Lowering the cost of calls home from prison or jail
  • Protecting in-person family visits from the video visitation industry
  • Stopping automatic driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses unrelated to driving
  • Repealing or reforming ineffective and harmful sentencing enhancement zones
  • Protecting letters from home in local jails
  • Requiring racial impact statements for criminal justice bills
  • Repealing “Truth in Sentencing”
  • Creating a “safety valve” for mandatory minimum sentences
  • Immediately eliminating “pay only” probation and regulating privatized probation services
  • Reducing pretrial detention
  • Decreasing state incarceration rates by reducing jail populations
  • Prohibiting prisons and jails from using “release cards” with built-in fees

Could your state be working on any of these reforms? We’re looking forward to the progress we can make together in 2018!

Aleks Kajstura is Legal Director at the Prison Policy Initiative. (Other articles | Full bio | Contact)

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