Magazine article Corrections Forum

Forty-Six States Enacted Wide-Ranging Criminal Justice Reforms

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Forty-Six States Enacted Wide-Ranging Criminal Justice Reforms

Article excerpt

On May 26, the Vera Institute of Justice released a review of statelevel changes in sentencing and corrections laws enacted in 2014 and 2015, which revealed that as the federal government debates sentencing reform, nearly every state has taken action to reduce their reliance on over-incarceration, lower taxpayer costs, and improve public safety. Forty-six states made at least 201 changes to their sentencing and corrections laws, an increase in pace since Vera's last comprehensive analysis in 2013.

While several bills are currently pending, major reform at the federal level has not passed since the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine. In that time, states have increasingly served as laboratories of innovation in criminal justice reform. With more than 86 percent of people incarcerated in the United States held in state prisons, these reforms are a significant sign of progress. …

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