Criminal justice reform aims to reduce prison sentences and repeat offenders, lower incarceration costs, help law enforcement improve public safety and make our criminal justice system fairer.

The statistics—2.2 million people behind bars in the U.S., $80 million spent annually to keep people locked up, an incarceration rate of African Americans that is more than three times higher than the national average—are staggering. The numbers paint a picture of a country caught in cycle of criminality and imprisonment that diminishes lives and debilitates communities.

How do we make our criminal justice system fairer, smarter and more cost effective? A multifaceted approach would most likely include updating sentencing laws and policies, expanding reentry programs for released individuals, reassessing the use of solitary confinement, expanding treatment for the mentally ill and reevaluating the role of capital punishment.

Despite growing bipartisan agreement among American politicians in favor of criminal justice reform, our leaders remain gridlocked at the national level, with more movement evident at the local and state levels. Your efforts—to increase equity, efficiency, safety and dignity—are vital to the individuals, families and communities affected by incarceration.

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