Overwhelming bipartisan support for reform, and the news in criminal justice this week

"I can’t think of a more positive issue to run on that has more bipartisan support…”

A new poll from Public Opinion Strategies showed overwhelming, bipartisan support for criminal justice reform, including alternatives to incarceration, fair chance hiring, expungements, bail reform, sentencing safety valves, and ending the shackling of pregnant women. In addition, 85% of respondents believe that the main goal of incarceration should be rehabilitation. Support for reforms was particularly strong among women, and pollster Robert Blizzard concluded that legislators “can be helped at the ballot box in November by voting to pass legislation incorporating these changes to the criminal justice system.”

"The only way these issues will get solved is to fight together.” 

NFL Players and owners announced the “Let’s Listen Together” campaign, which will publicize the players’ work on social and racial equality. Players Coalition leader Anquan Boldin said the collaboration should be celebrated, “as it’s the first professional league or entity that has taken the concerns of its players and put resources behind it." In the New York Times, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins talked about balancing his work on criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania and Ohio with a season leading to next weekend’s Super Bowl. 

"Armed with even that one extra bit of data, a state can fight its opioid crisis in a new way."

Kentucky’s Drug Overdose Fatality Surveillance System combines death certificate information, post-mortem toxicology and prescription drug history to better understand what drugs are killing people and where. Their data showed that different parts of the state are struggling with different drugs—heroin and fentanyl in Northern Kentucky, and prescription opioids in the east—and they’re working with policymakers and law enforcement to tailor responses to local needs. 

"Civil forfeiture is an assault on America’s deeply cherished values of due process and private property rights.”

The Forfeiture Accountability and Integrity Reform (FAIR) Act, filed this week in Alabama, would protect private property rights and reform the use of civil asset forfeiture. The bill comes on the heels of a report that showed that police and prosecutors collected nearly $2.2 million under state forfeiture law in 2015. In 25% of civil forfeiture cases, criminal charges were never filed, and half of all forfeitures were completed with a default judgment. 

“With this hire, we add more firepower to the bipartisan movement to find solutions to our country’s greatest problems.”

Lauren Krisai joined the team at Justice Action Network as the new Senior Policy Analyst, focused on JAN’s expanding state work. Previously, Lauren served as the Director of Criminal Justice Reform at Reason Foundation, where she managed comprehensive state level criminal justice reform initiatives, organized events and activities, and authored and oversaw various research projects, including this feature article on Tennessee’s ‘drug-free school zones.’