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News Article The Crime Report April 17, 2013

Critics Say Justice Reinvestment Sidesteps Minority Communities

A group of the nation's leading criminal justice advocates and researchers have charged that the much-lauded "justice reinvestment" strategy has failed to divert meaningful funds to minority communities who have been the most deeply affected by high levels of incarceration.

In a report issued today, the advocates are sharply critical of how the six-year-old strategy--warmly endorsed by the Department of Justice only last week---has evolved in many states.

JS Publication April 16, 2013

Ending Mass Incarceration: Charting a New Justice Reinvestment

Justice Strategies Director, Judith Greene, has co-authored Ending Mass Incarceration: Charting A New Justice Reinvestment, with Vanita Gupta and Kara Dansky of the American Civil Liberties Union, Malcolm Young of Northwestern University Law School's Bluhm Legal Clinic, James Austin of the JFA Institute, Eric Cadora of the Justice Mapping Center, Todd Clear of Rutgers University, Marc Mauer and Nicole Porter of The Sentencing Project, and Susan Tucker, the former Director of The After Prison Initiative at the Open Society Foundations.

The paper traces the history and examines the impact of Justice Reinvestment (JR) since its inception a decade ago to its current incarnation as a national initiative.

The primary conclusion is that while JR has served to soften the ground for criminal justice reform, it has not achieved significant reductions in the correctional populations or costs in most of the states in which it has been conducted. This is in contrast to its original intent: to reduce corrections populations and budgets and reinvest in high incarceration communities to make them safer, stronger, and more equitable. Read more »

JS Update November 4, 2011

Judy Greene on Legalease

Justice Strategies' Director Judith Greene discusses prison sentencing reform in Arizona with State Representative and House Judiciary Committee member Cecil Ash and Maricopa County Deputy Chief of Probation, Therese Wagner, on Phoenix's legal talk radio show Legalease with Dennis Wilenchik. Sitting in for the host was Jack Wilenchik. The show originally aired October 26, 2011 from 4 to 5 PM (MT) on 1100 AM KFNX.

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News Article The Arizona Republic October 9, 2011

Arizona prison sentences among toughest for many crimes

Whether it's putting a shoplifter behind bars for three years or a child-porn user away for 200 years, Arizona imposes among the longest, harshest sentences of any state in the country for a wide variety of crimes.

Politically, that has been popular, but the practice carries a hefty price tag. This year, the state will spend more than $1 billion to keep prisoners behind bars, and that figure will balloon if Arizona carries out plans to build or contract for as many as 6,500 new prison beds over the next five years.

JS Publication March 28, 2011

Numbers Game: The Vicious Cycle of Incarceration in Mississippi's Criminal Justice System

On March 28, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi in collaboration with Justice Strategies released NUMBERS GAME: The Vicious Cycle of Incarceration in Mississippi’s Criminal Justice System. The report's examination of the State's drug enforcement and sentencing system, co-authored by Judith Greene and Patricia Allard, raises troubling concerns about the focus of federally funded drug task forces, the unchecked use of confidential informants and the cumulative negative impact these law enforcement tactics have on relationships between police and the community. The report concludes that there are serious structural problems in Mississippi's drug enforcement and sentencing scheme sufficient to require reform efforts that would enhance public safety, protect civil rights and ensure the state’s fiscal solvency.

Major findings in the NUMBERS GAME report include that: Read more »

News Article The Arizona Republic February 2, 2011

Arizona defense lawyers urge sentencing reforms

Defense attorneys on Tuesday called for a raft of sentencing reforms they said would save money and put Arizona in line with other states that have reduced prison populations and lowered crime rates.

But the group likely will have a tough time convincing a majority of lawmakers.

News Article Pheonix New Times February 1, 2011

Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice Release New Report on Sentencing Reform

Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice (AACJ) held a press conference this morning to announce the release of a report highlighting the need for sentencing reform. The study, conducted by Judith Greene of Justice Strategies, notes that the state's criminal justice policies have "been among the harshest in the nation for many years" -- and are no longer fiscally viable.

JS Publication February 7, 2011

Turning the Corner: Opportunities for Effective Sentencing and Correctional Practices in Arizona

On February 1, 2011, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a statewide not-for-profit membership organization of criminal defense lawyers, law students and associated professionals, released Turning the Corner: Opportunities for Effective Sentencing and Correctional Practices in Arizona, a report prepared by Justice Strategies' Director Judy Greene. With a state corrections budget of $1 billion dollars threatening cuts to education and other important human services, Turning the Corner points Arizonians to important reforms in other states that have reduced prison populations while maintaining public safety.

The trend in state prison population reductions that began in 2005 included 24 states by 2009. However, Arizona's prison incarceration rate went from 1 in every 749 persons in 1980 to 1 in every 170 by the end of June 2008. Its average annual prison-population growth rate between 2000 and 2008 was 5.1 percent, compared to a national average of 1.5 percent, giving Arizona the third highest incarceration rate of all states and the highest in the West. Read more »

JS Publication May 6, 2009

Positive Trends and Best Practices in Criminal Justice Reform: A National Overview

This report reviews more than a decade of drug sentencing reform efforts in the states of Washington, Kansas, Michigan and New York. The positive impact of reducing reliance on incarceration in these states shows the way towards increasing opportunities for effective drug treatment, and safer, healthier communities. The report also includes a brief example of how Kansas produced a net savings to taxpayers of $7.5 million, from FY 2004 to FY2008, through reductions in prison population levels. In addition, Positive Trends surveys strategies from Massachusetts, Arizona and Wisconsin for reducing racial disparity in the criminal justice system. Read more »

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