Pennsylvania’s Justice Reinvestment Initiatives of 2012 and 2019 successfully reduced the state’s prison population while maintaining community safety. But our work is far from over. With a state recidivism rate of 41 percent, now is the time for reforms that promote reintegration into society and enable the criminal justice system to focus its resources where it counts. Pennsylvania can continue to lead the nation in powerful criminal justice reforms that preserve public safety, save taxpayer resources, and promote true rehabilitation.

Criminal Justice Reform

Should Pa. Wreck Lives Over a Technicality?

  • Jessica Barnett
  • May 16, 2019

Pennsylvania’s correctional system has a “revolving door” problem. Over 63 percent of the correctional population will return to prison within three years. To change Pennsylvania’s reputation as “imprisonment king”…

Media

Read More: Should Pa. Wreck Lives Over a Technicality?

Criminal Justice Reform

Four Ways Lawmakers Are Setting Up Pa. For Success

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • May 3, 2019

Freedom and opportunity are on the move in the Keystone State. In the past week, lawmakers have taken four serious strides for the families and business owners of Pennsylvania. We’re…

Media

Read More: Four Ways Lawmakers Are Setting Up Pa. For Success

Criminal Justice Reform

Senate Committee Passes Transformative Criminal Justice Reform

  • Jessica Barnett
  • May 2, 2019

Pennsylvania is one step closer to another landmark criminal justice reform. Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Justice Reinvestment Initiative II (JRI II). This three-bill reform package…

Media

Read More: Senate Committee Passes Transformative Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal Justice Reform

Moving Toward Efficient, Effective Criminal Justice

  • Jessica Barnett
  • April 22, 2019

The economy is growing, but Pennsylvania just keeps sinking deeper into debt. Since 1970, we’ve tripled our overall operating budget—but our population has grown only 8 percent. Even adjusting for…

Media

Read More: Moving Toward Efficient, Effective Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Reform

Fighting Poverty can be a Bipartisan Effort

  • Nathan Benefield
  • April 12, 2019

Here's a letter I submitted to the Philadelphia Daily News on how Pennsylvanians of any ideology can share good intent, and work toward a common goal. I was disappointed…

Media

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Criminal Justice Reform

An Overview of Justice Reinvestment Initiative II

  • March 28, 2019

JRI II seeks to address high corrections spending, insufficient support for county probation, and inadequate pretrial and sentencing guidance. The result: fair and effective punishments that equip people for life after…

Fact Sheet

Read More: An Overview of Justice Reinvestment Initiative II

Criminal Justice Reform

Milwaukee Study: School Choice Linked to Fewer Broken Families, Convictions

  • Marc LeBlond
  • March 15, 2019

Former Pennsylvania Secretary of Public Welfare Helen O’Bannon once lamented “the family breaking up” as the root cause of an “untrained, unskilled” workforce, which increases “single, female heads of…

Media

Read More: Milwaukee Study: School Choice Linked to Fewer Broken Families, Convictions

Criminal Justice Reform

Can Criminal Justice Reform Unite America?

  • Charles Mitchell
  • February 5, 2019

The following op-ed first appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Are partisan division and political bickering unavoidable in American politics? The headlines make it seem so, but it’s not true.

Media

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Criminal Justice Reform

Pennsylvania State Budget Trends

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 22, 2019

On February 5, Governor Wolf will lay out his proposal for the 2019-20 state budget. Here are some key facts on spending trends, last year’s enacted budget, and challenges going…

Fact Sheet

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Criminal Justice Reform

Today’s Opportunities in the Spirit of King

  • Lenny McAllister
  • January 21, 2019

It’s been a shame that we’ve collectively spent so much time this month talking about the wrong King (Rep. Steve King) and views that harken back to our worst…

Media

Read More: Today’s Opportunities in the Spirit of King

Criminal Justice Reform

Punitive Occupational Licensing Laws Bar Pennsylvanians from Work

  • Jessica Barnett
  • January 11, 2019

Pennsylvania’s occupational licensing laws are keeping two Philadelphia women out of work. Courtney Haveman and Amanda Spillane have sued the commonwealth after the Pennsylvania Cosmetology Board denied their cosmetology licenses…

Media

Read More: Punitive Occupational Licensing Laws Bar Pennsylvanians from Work

Criminal Justice Reform

Pa. Prison Population Plummets by Most in History

  • January 10, 2019

Pennsylvania’s prison population dropped by 1,068 individuals in 2018, according to new Department of Corrections numbers—the sharpest decline ever recorded. The number of incarcerated Pennsylvanians declined in six of…

Press Release

Read More: Pa. Prison Population Plummets by Most in History

Criminal Justice Reform

Tough on Crime, Smart on Justice

  • Charles Mitchell
  • January 9, 2019

Commentators called it a “Christmas miracle.” In late December, Congressional Republicans and Democrats cooperated to pass the FIRST STEP Act, America’s most significant federal sentencing and prison reform…

Media

Read More: Tough on Crime, Smart on Justice

Criminal Justice Reform

The Next Step for Criminal Justice Reform

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 1, 2019

In an op-ed last week, CF’s president Charles Mitchell and former CF board chair Jane Janeczek offered an appraisal of the First Step Act signed by President Trump on…

Media

Read More: The Next Step for Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal Justice Reform

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative II

  • December 21, 2018

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative recommends fair and effective punishments that equip offenders for life, while controlling costs and improving safety.

Poll

Read More: The Justice Reinvestment Initiative II

Criminal Justice Reform

Smart on Crime Reforms in 2017-18

  • Elizabeth Stelle, Marc LeBlond
  • December 20, 2018

“If it's failed policy, we should have the courage to leave it and let it go.” This poignant quote from former Senator Stewart Greenleaf encapsulates the essence of recent…

Media

Read More: Smart on Crime Reforms in 2017-18

Criminal Justice Reform

One Policy Where Trump and Wolf Agree

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • November 16, 2018

President Trump and Gov. Tom Wolf agree: minimum sentencing laws are counterproductive. Last Wednesday, President Trump announced his support of the FIRST STEP Act. The bill gives federal judges more…

Media

Read More: One Policy Where Trump and Wolf Agree

Criminal Justice Reform

Three Bills to Help Vulnerable Pennsylvanians Await Signature

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • October 22, 2018

Last week we celebrated passage of a transformative welfare reform bill, which Governor Wolf vetoed late Friday afternoon. But it wasn't the only good policy that cleared both chambers…

Media

Read More: Three Bills to Help Vulnerable Pennsylvanians Await Signature

Criminal Justice Reform

A Victory for Fairness and Work

  • October 18, 2018

The General Assembly overwhelming passed House Bill 163 last night—an important win for people who believe in fair punishments and work as a means to independence. The legislation,…

Media

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Criminal Justice Reform

Pennsylvania’s Financial Condition? Critical

  • October 16, 2018

Despite what you may have heard, Pennsylvania’s fiscal troubles haven’t disappeared. The recent state budget did not address the commonwealth’s short- or long-term financial challenges. It merely papered over them.

Media

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Criminal Justice Reform

Unlocking Pennsylvanians’ Potential

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • October 11, 2018

Pennsylvania’s poverty rate remains far too high. Employers can’t find workers with technical skills, and the commonwealth continues to lead the northeast in incarcerating our citizens. One organization is…

Media

Read More: Unlocking Pennsylvanians’ Potential