In recent years, “tough on crime” policies that previously dominated the criminal justice legislative agenda have ceded ground to a more balanced consideration of how states can most effectively allocate resources to maximize public safety.
Many states are facing a moment of reckoning in which the fiscal cost of past policies now threatens to affect vital state services. Thus, legislative efforts to address prison overcrowding, reform parole and probation supervision, expand drug sentencing diversion, and establish reentry assistance are playing a role in shaping the criminal justice agenda. Although legislative sessions seldom close without some penalty enhancements being added to the criminal code, the tone and focus of many state legislative bodies has demonstrably shifted and, as a result, there is increasing opportunity for reform.
This report highlights a number of important criminal justice policy developments that occurred at the state level during 2007.
To read the report, download the PDF below.