Opinion: What Should Criminal Justice Reform Look Like in 2020?


In Michigan last week, a special task force on jails and pretrial incarceration released 18 policy recommendations to the state Legislature, recommendations which included diverting people with behavioral health and substance abuse problems from prisons and shortening maximum probation terms for felonies.

Michigan’s efforts to implement criminal justice reforms come on the heels of a flurry of recent state leader actions. Earlier this month, Kentucky leaders pledged to make criminal justice reform a priority in a state that has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country.

In December, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) released 23 legislative priorities for criminal justice reform. In November, 450 Oklahoma inmates were published in the largest commutation in U.S. history.

America incarcerates a higher percentage of our population than any other country. As the executive director of an organization on the frontlines of criminal justice reform, I applaud these new legislative priorities.

Since 2007, more than 30 states have passed reforms to reduce incarceration, recidivism rates, and costs; and these reforms have seen significant results.


BY: Timothy Head



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