"In 2013, 35 states passed at least 85 bills to change some aspect of how their criminal justice systems address sentencing and corrections. In reviewing this legislative activity, the Vera Institute of Justice found that policy changes have focused mainly on the following five areas: reducing prison populations and costs; expanding or strengthening community-based corrections; implementing risk and needs assessments; supporting offender reentry into the community; and making better informed criminal justice policy through data-driven research and analysis. By providing concise summaries of representative legislation in each area, this report aims to be a practical guide for policymakers in other states and the federal government looking to enact similar changes in criminal justice policy" (p. 4). Sections of this report include: about this report; introduction; reducing prison populations and costs; expanding or strengthening community corrections; implementing risk and needs assessments; supporting the reentry of offenders into the community; making better informed criminal justice policy; and conclusion. Two appendixes provide information about: sentencing and corrections legislation by state, 2013; and sentencing and corrections by reform type, 2013.
"For millions of Americans, the legal and life-restricting consequences of a criminal conviction continue even after they’ve repaid their debt to society as barriers to voting, housing, jobs, education, and a raft of social services limit their ability to provide for their families and successfully reenter society. In recognition of the damaging effects these collateral consequences can have, 41 states have enacted legislation since 2009 that allows certain individuals to move beyond their convictions. This report reviews that legislative activity, discusses the limitations of current approaches, and offers recommendations to states and localities considering similar reforms." Sections of this report include: introduction; background; new approaches to collateral consequences—expungement and sealing remedies, certificated of recovery, offense downgrades, building relief into the criminal justice process, ameliorating employment-related collateral consequences, access to information, and addressing discrete collateral consequences (i.e., housing, immigration, health care, family issues, financial health, education, public assistance, enfranchisement, sex offender registries, and driving privileges); limitations of reform; recommendations; and conclusion. Appendixes provide these tables: Collateral Consequences Reform Legislation by Year, 2009-2014; Collateral Consequences Reform Legislation by State, 2009-2014; Discrete Collateral Consequences Reform Legislation, 2009-2014; and Collateral Consequences Reform Legislation by Reform Type, 2009-2014. This website provides access to the full report, summary, and related infographic.