Latest Publications

JS Publication June 21, 2018

It's Time to Decriminalize Immigration

This Texas Observer article by Executive Directors Judy Greene, of Justice Strategies, and Bob Libal, of Grassroots Leadership calls on Congress to repeal the law that allowed the Trump Administration to separate children from their migrant parents, and for an end to the criminalization of migration.   In it the authors provide the historical links of this destructive policy to the mass incarceration tactics of the failed War on Drugs, now used in a new War on Immigrants, the growing for-profit private prison industry, and increasing attempts under the Trump Administration to federalize local and state criminal justice enforcement mechanisms.  These policy choices have led to a federal court docket 45 percent of which is occupied with the criminal prosecution of migrants for entry into the United States, a misdemeanor, and re-entry, a felony that carries a penalty of from two to five years in federal prison.

JS Publication November 10, 2017

Elections 2017: Beginning of the End of Willie Horton Politics?

In this article for The Crime Report, Justice Strategies' Director, Judith Greene, raises the prospects that the 2017 elections may indicate signs that we are turning the corner away from politicizing crime. The results in off-year gubernatorial elections indicate that urban/suburban voters in both Virginia and New Jersey are no longer swayed by “penal populism.” Republican candidates were soundly defeated despite their attempts to gain political capital by stoking fears of an immigrant crime wave which does not exist.

JS Publication October 28, 2016

Better by Half: The New York City Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety

Released in the midst of a growing national discussion about ending mass incarceration, a new publication highlights New York’s reversal on incarceration and offers lessons on how other cities and states can substantially reduce incarceration while promoting safety. 

In Better by Half, co-authors Judith Greene, Director of Justice Strategies, and Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Program in Criminal Justice, describe how New York City, which once struggled with overflowing jail populations and high rates of violent crime, cut its combined jail and prison incarceration rate by 55 percent and reduced serious crime by 58 percent between 1996 and 2014. 

By contrast, the national incarceration rate grew by 12 percent during the same time period, and was accompanied by a more modest decrease in serious crime of 42 percent. By 2014, New York City earned the distinction of having the lowest crime rate of the nation’s 20 largest cities, and the second lowest jail incarceration rate. And New York State had become one of three states (along with New Jersey and California) leading the nation in terms of prison population reductions. Read more »

JS Publication July 13, 2016

Indefensible: A Decade of Mass Incarceration of Migrants Prosecuted for Crossing the Border

"Indefensible,” a new book from Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership, examines the costs and failures of over a decade of criminalization of border migration. Operation Streamline was launched in 2005 and added criminal convictions to the previous civil removal process, and is known for the disturbing spectacle of mass courtroom proceedings in which up to 80 shackled migrants are arraigned, convicted and sentenced for misdemeanor improper entry charges. While the Streamline courts have been scaled back in several districts, the legacy continues in federal courts, and includes related massive immigration prosecutions for both improper entry and felony re-entry. In 2015, half (49 percent) of all federal prosecutions were made up of what is essentially a crime of trespassing, in the form of improper entry and re-entry prosecutions. Read more »

JS Publication March 21, 2016

US Sentencing Commission Testimony Mar. 21, 2016

In this joint testimony regarding proposed sentencing enhancements for unlawfully entering or remaining in the US, Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership provide the US Sentencing Commission with insights into the views of the judges, federal public defenders, private attorneys and individuals who, on a daily basis deal with, and have been directly impacted by, these prosecutions.