We start by taking on the notion that one must be either “tough on crime” or “soft on crime. Instead, we advocate for smart policies that address the system as a whole and extend second chances for people who have paid their debt to society. The revolving prison doors suggest that simply warehousing people who commit crimes does not work, and it is well documented that excessively harsh conditions can have an adverse impact on public safety. With this in mind, we work to help ensure that correctional facilities supplement their goals of punishment, deterrence, and incapacitation with an emphasis on rehabilitation, preventing crime, targeting recidivism, and transitioning to reentry.
In this approach, we stand with the majority of crime survivors. A national survey conducted by the Alliance for Safety and Justice showed that 60% of crime victims think we should be focused on rehabilitating people who commit crimes, while only 32% favor punishment. Similarly, 62% of crime victims prefer shorter prison sentences and spending more on prevention and rehabilitation programs.
With this in mind, we support smart correctional reforms aimed at preventing future crime, with a focus on reducing the likelihood of recidivism and ensuring that people can successfully reenter society after they are released. Prioritizing support for reentry is crucial because almost all incarcerated Americans —as many as 95 percent—will eventually return home to their communities. We’re working to ensure that citizens re-entering society can turn their lives around, and not repeat the mistakes that put them behind bars in the first place. This includes supporting the expansion of programs related to mental health care, addiction, education, and vocational and job readiness training for incarcerated individuals.
Earned and Good Time Credits:
Our Coalition supports the extending of earned time and good time credits for sentence reductions. These credits based on good behavior or the successful completion of education, vocational, or rehabilitative programs have been proven to reduce recidivism and correctional populations.
Conditions of Incarceration:
Prisoners in segregated confinement or "solitary confinement" usually spend between 22 and 24 hours alone in a cell without human contact. Studies have shown that extensive use of solitary confinement is detrimental to one's psychological well-being. Our Coalition supports the prohibition on solitary confinement for youth and mentally ill offenders unless they pose a threat to immediate physical harm. We also support limitations on punitive isolation unless it is used as a last-resort measure imposed for a minimum time, accompanied by specific criteria for placement and review.
Women in the Correctional System:
Women are the fastest growing prison demographic across the country. We support policies that limit the shackling of pregnant women and girls in prisons, jails, and youth correctional facilities. The shackling of pregnant inmates poses potential physical harm and can interfere with the administration of appropriate medical care.