Efforts to reform the corrections system involve attempts to improve conditions inside prisons and to improve rehabilitative services, such as healthcare, education, vocational training, and criminal justice reform (re-entry employment)
. There’s also a movement to highlight racial disparity among incarcerated individuals, as well as the far-reaching effects of disenfranchisement of felons. The latter involves their difficulties in re-entering society – including "Ban the Box" and other attempts to separate them from a pool of candidates.
Sentencing and corrections reform is not a traditional business issue, but in most states spending on prisons is one of the top expense lines. With state budgets in major trouble and new taxes and/or deep cuts to important programs on the table, states must take a critical look at all spending. Prison population and costs are at an all-time high but the public safety return doesn’t equal the added expense. Several states, including Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, and Arkansas, have passed sentencing and corrections reform in recent years to curb costs and maintain public safety.
Evidence-Based Practice Online Resources
Articles and Blogs
- Nearly Half of Employers Continue to Ask About Criminal History on Job Applications - by By Roy Maurer, SHRM (August 2017)
- Americans' Views Shift on Toughness of Justice System - by Justin McCarthy, Gallup (October 2016)
- Chambers Get Smart on Justice - by several authors, Chamber Executive magazine (Spring 2016)
- Voters Want Big Changes in Federal Sentencing and Prison System - Pew Charitable Trusts (February 2016)
- Georgia Leads Prison Reform Efforts - by Rick Badie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Atlanta Forward" blog (September 2015)
- State Criminal Justice Reforms Build the Case for Data-Driven Federal Legislation - by Adam Gelb, Pew Charitable Trusts (July 2015)
- Can Bipartisanship End Mass Incarceration? - by Matt Ford, The Atlantic (February 2015)
- Fixing the Leaky Bucket - by Peter Perl, Chamber Executive (Winter 2015)
- Lessons from the States: Responsible Prison Reform - by Nancy La Vigne, Urban Institute (July 2014)
- Responsible Prison Reform - by Eli Lehrer, National Affairs (Summer 2013)
- Big Business Gets Involved with Corrections Reform - by Chaaron Pearson, ACCE blog (February 2013)
- Kentucky Passes Landmark Criminal Justice Reform - by Greg Roth, ACCE blog (March 2011)
- Increasing Demand For Corrections Reform - by Ian Scott, ACCE blog (September 2010)
- Indiana to Review Sentencing Policy and Prison Spending - by Ian Scott, ACCE blog (July 2010)
- Business Community Taking on Corrections Reform - by Ian Scott, ACCE blog (January 2010)
Ban the Box
"Ban the box" refers to a requirement to remove the conviction history question from employment applications. As of March 2016, more than 100 cities and counties, as well as 21 states, have enacted legislation to ban the box.
State laws vary on ex-offenders' right to vote. While only three states (Iowa, Kentucky, and Florida) permanently disenfranchise convicted felons, nearly 6 million Americans - and about 1 in 13 African-Americans - who have committed felonies (and, in some states, misdemeanors) lack the right to vote.
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