The call for bipartisan support and the news in criminal justice reform this week

“The one constant in this work is that it cannot be successful without bipartisan support.”

In The Hill, Ed Chung of the Center for American Progress and Jason Pye of FreedomWorks renewed the call for bipartisan comprehensive criminal justice reform. Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Mark Walker (R-SC) joined the call, and pushed for an expanded conversation on criminal justice that focuses on restoration and rehabilitation.

“We need to work to make our criminal justice system more fair, more equitable, and more focused on rehabilitation.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf outlined a package of eight reforms, including comprehensive clean slate legislation, funding of indigent defense programs, and the adoption of bail and pretrial risk assessment tools across the Commonwealth. He was joined at a press conference by Senator Stewart Greenleaf, and Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. The announcement comes just as Representative Sheryl Delozier’s Clean Slate bill was passed by the state House of Representatives with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 188-2 and goes to the Senate, which unanimously passed similar legislation last year.

“Even though we broke the law, rape, intimidation and sexual harassment were not part of our sentence.”

Kim Brown, of the Women & Justice Project, wrote about her experience in prison and the need for the "Me Too" movement to address the needs of women in prison. “Incarcerated women cannot escape their abusers,” she wrote, “and they place themselves at risk of retaliation if they speak up.”

“Growth in occupational licensing is associated with less economic mobility…and greater income inequality.”

A new study from the Archbridge Institute found that growth in the number of occupations requiring a license is associated with a 1.7% to 6.7% decline in economic mobility, and increased county level Gini coefficients. These licensing requirements, which frequently exclude people with criminal records, serve as barriers to successful reentry even when the occupation is unrelated to any prior criminal activity. Between 1993 and 2012, states added an average of 31 license requirements low-income professions, with Louisiana adding the most (59) and Oklahoma and Kentucky adding the least (15).

“I cried a lot of times in prison silently because you can’t do it out loud in a treacherous place like that. But I always said, ‘one day it’s gonna get better.’”

After serving seven years in prison for the possession of three grams of marijuana, Bernard Noble was released this week. Noble’s case brought attention to Louisiana’s extraordinarily tough drug laws and sentencing practices, and helped drive the campaign to reform marijuana possession sentencing and reform the state’s administrative rules on clemency.