Policy Center

Policy Center

Our criminal justice system is broken. These are just some of the issues we are working to reform in our fight for a safer America.

Injustice in the System

How you get there.

Americans are rightfully proud of our God-given freedoms. However, many of these freedoms are jeopardized by a criminal justice system that makes us all less safe, costs us all too much, and sacrifices our human dignity at the altar of the government. Thomas Jefferson once said: “a criminal justice system that is secret and government-dictated invites abuse and even tyranny,” Unfortunately, that is what we have today. Our system concentrates overwhelming power in the hands of government lawyers and bureaucrats who often are more focused on notching up wins than finding a just result. The American Conservative Union Foundation is working to rebalance our system to ensure that our neighborhoods are safe while maximizing our liberty.

Dignity for Incarcerated Women

Since the implementation of mandatory minimums in the 1970s, harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenses have skyrocketed and are often more severe than sentences for violent crimes. In recent years, the number of men being incarcerated has declined while the number of women behind bars continues to increase. As a result, America now incarcerates eight times as many women as it did in 1980, and since then, the number of women in prison has increased by more than 700%. This means that the United States is home to around 30% of the world’s incarcerated women. Even though women are the fastest growing population in our justice system, they are often left out of the conversations surrounding criminal justice reform.

Prison Conditions

Life behind bars.

Across the board, prison conditions need improvement. Prison rape is extremely prevalent, access to faith-based programs is limited, access to adequate mental and regular health care is lacking, and overcrowding causes a deficiency in bed space for prisoners, among other problems. Though inmates are in prison to serve their time, they are still human and should not be treated as farm animals.

Transition After Release

Life After Prison.

After inmates are released, it is crucial that they form good habits as soon as possible. Maintaining a job is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle, as well as prevent ex-offenders from recidivating. Barriers that exist that prevent ex-offenders from settling into a healthy lifestyle need to be eliminated in order to make the transition process back into normal life smoother, as well as reduce the risk of recidivism.

Reducing Crime and Recidivism

Recidivism is the term used to describe when a former prisoner returns to incarceration following his release. This could be because of a violation of parole or a new crime. There are many factors that can increase the likelihood of recidivism, but there are also many that have been found to decrease it. Educational programs, religious programs, mentors, and strong family units are among the most prominent and effective methods.