Updates from Capitol Hill

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The Justice Center’s government affairs team works to promote the priorities of CSG members and their partners on Capitol Hill and with the executive branch. Legislative services include educating policymakers on complex criminal justice issues and communicating project findings to legislators that can be applied to policymaking and new practices. The team collaborates with experts from a wide range of disciplines and from all branches of government to ensure that policy and legislative recommendations are practical and based on sound data.

Opinion: America’s Criminal Justice System Is Broken

A compelling example of the urgent need for reform is how our system treats juvenile offenders. We know that young people’s relationship with the criminal justice apparatus has powerful, lasting consequences for them, their families, and their communities. It is therefore vitally important we make sure that all children who come into contact with the criminal justice system are treated fairly and appropriately, are not forgotten, and are afforded an opportunity to rehabilitate and become productive, contributing members of society.

In ‘Cures’ Bill, Keys to Further Criminal Justice Improvements

In ‘Cures’ Bill, Keys to Further Criminal Justice Improvements

Before the confetti is swept up in celebration of the President’s signing of the 21st Century Cures Act, let’s make sure an important takeaway isn’t lost in the fanfare: this bipartisan bill also illustrates the type of improvements to the criminal justice system everyone can get behind.

President Obama Signs 21st Century Cures Act

President Obama Signs 21st Century Cures Act

President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act on Tuesday, December 13, after it passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support, signaling an effort to address the nation’s challenges with mental health in the criminal justice system, among other medical priorities.

U.S. Senate Approves 21st Century Cures Act

U.S. Senate Approves 21st Century Cures Act

Within the wide range of initiatives the omnibus bill supports are several significant criminal justice reform measures related to the issue of mental health, including the enactment of the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act and the reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act.

Opinion: Where Mental Health, Justice Reform Meet

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Fred Upton’s 21st Century Cures Act, which has been rightly hailed as a game-changer for medical innovation and patient empowerment. What is less well known, but equally pioneering, is the bill’s approach to mental health reform.

Fact Sheets

The Second Chance Act: Juvenile Reentry (Fact Sheet)

The Second Chance Act: Juvenile Reentry (Fact Sheet)

Recent efforts among state and local leaders to reduce the number of youth who are incarcerated have yielded impressive results: the national juvenile incarceration rate has been cut in half over the past decade. Yet state policymakers, practitioners, and advocates alike recognize that reforming the juvenile justice system requires more than incarcerating fewer youth.

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

Nearly all of the 1.6 million individuals incarcerated in the U.S. will be released at some point. Individuals returning to their communities from prison or jail have complex challenges and needs that contribute to the likelihood that they may return to incarceration.

The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (Fact Sheet)

The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (Fact Sheet)

A 2006 Department of Justice study showed that approximately 45 percent of federal inmates, 56 percent of state inmates,and 64 percent of jail inmates displayed symptoms or had a history of a mental disorder; among female inmates in state prisons, the rate was nearly three out of four.

The Second Chance Act: Juvenile Reentry (Fact Sheet)

The Second Chance Act: Juvenile Reentry (Fact Sheet)

Recent efforts among state and local leaders to reduce the number of youth who are incarcerated have yielded impressive results: the national juvenile incarceration rate has been cut in half over the past decade. Yet state policymakers, practitioners, and advocates alike recognize that reforming the juvenile justice system requires more than incarcerating fewer youth.