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

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 too much, and sacrifices 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.” And unfortunately, this is the state of our criminal justice system today. Our system concentrates overwhelming power in the hands of government lawyers and bureaucrats who often are more focused on putting people in jail 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

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

Transition After Release

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. Current barriers that exist prevent ex-offenders from settling into a healthy lifestyle, and 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 their release. 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 that reduce recidivism.