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State legislation

This is an excellent resource for getting up-to-date on this issue threatening the democratic process. “The way the Census Bureau counts people in prison creates significant problems for democracy and for our nation’s future. It leads to a dramatic distortion of representation at local and state levels, and creates an inaccurate picture of community populations for research and planning purposes. Some state legislative districts draw large portions of their political clout, not from actual residents, but from the presence of a large prison in the district. The districts with large prisons get to send a representative to the state capital to advocate for their interests without meeting the required number of residents … When districts with prisons receive enhanced representation, every other district in the state without a prison sees its votes diluted. And this vote dilution is even larger in the districts with the highest incarceration rates. Thus, the communities that bear the most direct costs of crime are therefore the communities that are the biggest victims of prison-based gerrymandering. The Census Bureau’s decision to count incarcerated people in the wrong place interferes with equal representation in virtually every state.” This website addresses this issue and offers solutions to deal with this democratic distortion. Points of entry include an explanation of the problem, the solutions, how to take action to combat this problem, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ), blog, latest news, campaign pages, legislation, local governments addressing the issue, video overview, journal articles, and reports.

Prison Gerrymandering Project Cover

"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.

Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends Cover

These presentation slides show the efficacy of using quick dips, 2-3 day confinement in jail, a swift and certain response to non-compliance, for those probationers who violate probation conditions for the first time. Topics discussed include: quick dips overview; analytical framework; sample; matching—variables likely to predict non-compliance or selection for a quick dip; propensity score matching (PSM); intermediate outcomes; supervision outcomes; and conclusions. "Offenders that received a quick dip [77.2%] had greater supervision compliance than offenders in the comparison group [45.9%]."

Short-Term Jail Confinement Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals in custody.

State Criminal Laws Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals in jails.

State Criminal Laws Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals in lock-ups.

State Criminal Laws Prohibiting Sexual Abuse of Individuals in Lock-Ups Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals under community corrections supervision.

State Criminal Laws Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws addressing the issue of consent in a relationship between staff and inmates.

State Criminal Laws Cover

This is the place to look for significant pretrial legislation enacted by states starting in 2012. You can search by topic, state, keyword, status (adopted, enacted, override pending, pending, and to governor), bill number, year, and author. Topics are: Bond Forfeiture and Conditions Violations; Budget, Oversight, and Administration; Citation in Lieu of Arrest; Commercial Bond Regulation; Conditions of Pretrial Release; Court Guidance for Release Determinations; Diversion Programs; Eligibility for Pretrial Release; Pretrial Services and Programs; Risk Assessment; Specialized Populations; and Victim Protections and Policy.

State Pretrial Release Cover

This database of significant sentencing and corrections legislation recently enacted by states can be searched by state, topic, keyword, year, or primary sponsor. Legislative topics include: budget and oversight; community supervision administration; community supervision programs; correctional facility administration; diversion and sentencing alternatives; inmate programs; reentry barriers and access to services; reentry oversight and organization; reentry programs and supervision; release and discharge; sentencing and crime penalties; specialized populations; and treatment-based programs.

State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation Cover

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