Rights and Justice

Criminal Justice Reform

We focus on developing policies to shrink the justice system’s footprint, improve public health and safety, and promote equity and accountability.

People march for the third day since the release of the grand jury report on the death of Breonna Taylor on September 26, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Getty/Michael M. Santiago)

What We're Doing

Ending mass incarceration

Our work is centered around developing and supporting policies that will end unjust punishments and reduce the social and economic harms of mass incarceration, which have disproportionately devastated Black people and other communities of color.

21st century policing

We are working to advance measures that will increase police transparency and accountability, overhaul harmful police practices, and prioritize community-based solutions to public safety.

The war on drugs

We are working to drastically reduce the criminalization of drugs in America while restoring communities that have been most affected by harsh drug enforcement measures.

Second chances

We advocate for policy options that remove obstacles and barriers for people affected by the criminal justice system while simultaneously highlighting the leadership of affected people in the reform movement.

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Recent Work


Beyond the U.S. Department of Justice Report
A microphone stands near the West Wing of the White House after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump on January 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Getty/Drew Angerer)

Beyond the U.S. Department of Justice

The federal government has the opportunity to look to agencies beyond the Department of Justice to advance progressive criminal justice reforms.

Sarah Figgatt

A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be a Life Sentence to Poverty Report
 (Close-up reflection of a white sign with red and black text in a window reading

A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be a Life Sentence to Poverty

Bipartisan momentum for clean slate and fair chance licensing policies—which remove barriers to economic opportunity for people facing the stigma of a criminal record—has grown significantly in the states in recent years.

Rebecca Vallas, Sharon Dietrich, Beth Avery

How To Address Concerns About Data on Deaths in Custody Report
Cement barricades, barbwire, and fencing surround a police station in Minneapolis on April 7, 2021. (Getty/Los Angeles Times/Jason Armond)

How To Address Concerns About Data on Deaths in Custody

With the U.S. Department of Justice beginning to collect data pursuant to the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013, Congress and state legislatures should take the initiative to ensure the dependability of the forthcoming data.

Kenny Lo

The Community Responder Model Report
An employee answers calls at the Essex County Regional Communications Center in Middleton, Massachusetts, on June 22, 2017. (Getty/The Boston Globe/Nicholas Pfosi)

The Community Responder Model

Establishing a new branch of civilian first responders can help cities reduce overreliance on the police.

Amos Irwin, Betsy Pearl

Restoring Integrity and Independence at the U.S. Justice Department Report

Restoring Integrity and Independence at the U.S. Justice Department

The next attorney general has a daunting task to rebuild the U.S. Department of Justice; this report contains recommendations from former DOJ officials who served in multiple administrations on how to start that important work.

the Criminal Justice team

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