Alliance for Safety and Justice
Alliance for Safety and Justice recently released The Case for Productivity Credits in Michigan with President of the American Correctional Association Gary Mohr and former Maryland Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections Gary Maynard. As Michigan lawmakers contemplate policies included in the Safer Michigan Act, we prepared this brief to answer key questions like how effectively do productivity credit programs contribute to the critical goal of achieving public safety? Do they reduce recidivism, lower corrections costs, and lead to successful rehabilitation? The brief provides a summary of the most current and relevant research into incentive-based systems that encourage participation in rehabilitative programs and their impact on recidivism rates and reducing corrections costs. You can read the brief at this link.
Prison Policy Initiative
The Prison Policy Initiative is using data and research to advocate for a more equitable vaccine rollout for incarcerated people. Many states chose to vaccinate prison staff before incarcerated people, thinking that vaccinated correctional officers would act as a protective barrier to stop incarcerated people from getting the virus. This policy choice proved senseless, as our research found that the majority of corrections officers are declining the COVID-19 vaccine, putting lives of incarcerated people at risk. At the same time, incarcerated people were de-prioritized in state vaccine plans. As a result, seven months since the first vaccines were distributed, just 55% of people in prison have been vaccinated, despite case rates in prisons being four to five times higher than in the general population.
The Coalition to End Money Bond
At a recent press conference, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed recent gun violence on people who are incarcerated in their homes on electronic monitoring. Every spring as Chicago contends with rising temperatures and increases in gun violence, city officials respond with narratives that blame reform efforts in an attempt to excuse heavy handed policing and incarceration. The Coalition to End Money Bond released a rebuttal to the Mayor’s comments, citing statistics that prove there is no factual basis for that claim. Despite the clear lack of evidence for these narratives, the Chicago Tribune peddled similar fear-based narratives about the impact of bond reform efforts. The Coalition released a response and our Coalition member organization ACLU of IL published a letter to the editor, both highlighting that these fearmongering narratives actually threaten community safety by calling for punitive responses that make our communities less safe.
Fair and Just Prosecution
In May, FJP built on our work during Second Chances Month with a panel co-hosted with FAMM on how we can address our nation’s mass incarceration crisis through sentencing review and other second look opportunities. Additionally, FJP has been fortunate to partner with the Georgetown University Pivot Program, a custom certificate in business and entrepreneurship created specifically for formerly incarcerated individuals. Pivot Fellow Charles Hopkins joined FJP this spring as an intern and exemplifies the value of second chances, as shown in this profile piece from Georgetown. Also this month, 69 current and former elected prosecutors advocated for prosecutorial discretion by filing an amicus letter brief urging the California Supreme Court to review a trial court’s refusal to allow Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office to dismiss and withdraw sentencing enhancements filed under the previous DA. Finally, FJP Executive Director Miriam Krinsky authored a MarketWatch op-ed on needed systemic changes to policing and a USA Today op-ed in partnership with Washtenaw County, MI Prosecutor Eli Savit and Charlottesville, VA Chief of Police Dr. RaShall Brackney on ending local law enforcement entanglement in immigration activities.
American Conservative Union Foundation
How do you take a slow and murky court process that costs a lot and fuels future crime, and make it efficient, transparent, and effective? According to ACUF’s David Safavain, it’s simple - fix the pretrial system. While easier said than done, Michigan is among the handful of states working to improve the way it treats those awaiting trial. Read the latest op-ed from ACUF on why changes are needed and what can be done to improve fairness and safely reduce the number of people held behind bars waiting for their day in court.
LatinoJustice staff in Texas wrote, found sponsors for, and pushed to get HB787 through the Texas House and Senate, and it now sits on the governor's desk. The bill prevents judges from denying folks on probation the right to associate with other folks on supervision, which severely limits organizing among that group. For context, there are more than 366,000 adults on felony probation in Texas. In addition, LJP and our allies at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center finished two series of four workshops with Texas organizers on abolition. Each session was standalone, and we set out to discuss four ideas that surround abolitionist practices and are trotted out as reasons NOT to be an abolitionist. (1) "But the police keep us safe, right?" (2) "What about when the oppressor looks like us?" (3) "Don't brown lives matter too?" (4) "But aren't they the REAL criminals?" We had over 25 Texas organizers in each workshop series, and the participation and feedback was phenomenal.