Happening now! Extinguishing the Fires of Political Violence
Center for American Progress
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Rights and Justice
We focus on developing policies to shrink the justice system’s footprint, improve public health and safety, and promote equity and accountability.
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.
We work to advance meaningful alternatives to the criminal legal system that address the root causes of violence, promote community-driven responses to people in crisis, and increase investments that improve public health and community safety over the long term.
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.
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.
The Criminal Justice Reform team focuses on developing policies to shrink the justice system’s footprint, improve public health and safety, and promote equity and accountability.
Director, Criminal Justice Reform
Senior Policy Analyst, Criminal Justice Reform
Managing Director, Rights and Justice
The Criminal Justice Reform team collaborates with a number of justice reform partners at the national, state, and local levels to help build a more progressive justice system.
The Justice Roundtable is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 organizations working to reform federal criminal justice laws and policies.
The Clean Slate Initiative is a national bipartisan coalition advancing policies to automatically clear all eligible criminal records across the United States and help state partners provide people with a fresh start.
Clean Slate Initiative
The Marijuana Justice Coalition is a broad coalition of national advocacy organizations, convened by the Drug Policy Alliance, who have joined forces to advocate for federal marijuana reform through a racial and economic justice lens.
Drug Policy Alliance - Marijuana Justice Coalition
Sep 21, 2023
Trinh Q. Truong, Debu Gandhi, Jill Rosenthal, 5 More
Marquisha Johns, Mariam Rashid, Dan Restrepo, Akua Amaning, Cleo Bluthenthal
Sep 20, 2023
Aug 9, 2023
Jun 27, 2023
at a time
Join the Center for American Progress as we celebrate 20 years of innovative policy solutions and look boldly forward to a progressive future.
Oct 25, 2023
This fact sheet summarizes a recent Center for American Progress report outlining the need for a whole-of-government, society-wide approach to addressing the complex challenges posed by the opioid overdose epidemic.
The opioid epidemic is a complex public health crisis that can be ameliorated by addressing root causes of drug use; expanding access to treatment and harm reduction strategies; and reducing the supply of illicit opioids entering the United States.
Cash bail reform is a critical step to ensuring a safe and equitable pretrial process.
Forward-thinking state and local policymakers should continue to take action to improve the employment outcomes of 18- to 24-year-olds reentering their communities.
The Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets for All program can be leveraged to support community-level innovation in roadway safety efforts, including by rethinking traffic enforcement strategies to improve the physical and psychological safety of Black drivers and others on the road.
Jun 14, 2023
Akua Amaning writes about why federal policymakers should pass clean slate legislation.
Apr 29, 2023
Rasheed’s story sheds light on the barriers that so many young adults face when returning to their communities and the opportunities that second chance policies give to young adults who are looking to enter the labor market.
Apr 27, 2023
Akua Amaning, Allie Preston, David Ballard, 6 More
Marina Zhavoronkova, Andrew Sonntag, Hai-Lam Phan, Ala Al Sadi, Toni Pandolfo, Madalyn Reagan
St. Cyr's story illustrates the need for supportive reentry services for formerly incarcerated individuals who face barriers to accessing employment due to exclusionary policies.
Apr 20, 2023
Akua Amaning, Allie Preston, David Ballard, 5 More
Marina Zhavoronkova, Andrew Sonntag, Hai-Lam Phan, Toni Pandolfo, Ala Al Sadi
Young adults reentering communities after incarceration face many barriers to finding stable work, but forward-thinking policies can lead to better employment outcomes and safer communities.
Mar 16, 2023
Marina Zhavoronkova, Allie Preston, Justin Schweitzer, 1 More
Many young adults re-entering communities after incarceration face institutional barriers to reaching their employment goals—and policymakers can and should take action to help them.
Marina Zhavoronkova, Allie Preston, Justin Schweitzer, 2 More
Akua Amaning, Arohi Pathak
Patrick Gaspard partners with Color of Change's Rashad Robinson and the Vera Institute of Justice's Nicholas Turner to discuss the dangers of traffic stops for Black motorists and to urge leaders at the federal, state, and local levels to seek solutions.
Mar 13, 2023
Patrick Gaspard, Rashad Robinson , Nicholas Turner
The killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police in Memphis has focused the national attention on the dangers of driving while Black in America and the urgent need for police reform that fulfills the promise of public safety.
Feb 10, 2023
Rachael Eisenberg, Brandon Tucker, Hadi Sedigh
The economy; democracy and the courts; and community safety and gun violence are expected to be at center stage as President Biden prepares to address the nation during his second State of the Union address.
Feb 3, 2023
Kiera Manser, Rose Khattar, Ben Olinsky, 1 More
New CAP analysis highlights how the nation’s failed experiment with mass incarceration and overcriminalization strips wealth from families and widens the racial wealth gap.
Dec 13, 2022
Christian E. Weller, Akua Amaning, Rebecca Vallas
The cash bail status quo harms community safety through its effects on health, economic stability, employment, familial relationships, and housing.
Nov 3, 2022
A new research study finds no evidence linking progressive prosecutors to rising crime in major cities.
Oct 26, 2022
Rachael Eisenberg, Allie Preston
With the help of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, governments are expanding their public safety strategies to invest in community responder programs that reduce reliance on law enforcement and provide communities with meaningful emergency management support.
Oct 12, 2022
Community violence intervention programs are a critical part of a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of rising gun violence on youth and in U.S. communities.
Oct 11, 2022
Terrell Thomas, Rachael Eisenberg
Reform to cash bail and pretrial practices promotes public safety and decreases harm for those who are arrested.
Sep 19, 2022
Allie Preston, Rachael Eisenberg
With the support of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, state governments are expanding their public safety strategies to invest in proven crime reduction strategies that go beyond traditional law enforcement efforts to support communities at risk of violence.
Aug 15, 2022
Houston, Boston, and Newark have improved public safety through violence prevention efforts outside traditional law enforcement.
Jul 27, 2022
Violence interruption is a community-based intervention strategy that can reduce gun violence and improve public safety in neighborhoods around the country.
Jul 14, 2022
Jahdziah St. Julien
Cash bail practices undermine the presumption of innocence in the criminal legal system and lead to racially and economically disparate outcomes.
Jul 6, 2022
The commercial bail industry perpetuates unjust cash bail systems and relies on egregious practices to protect its bottom line.
There is no evidence linking bail reform to the rising rates of violent crime in the United States.
Jun 23, 2022
Leaders around the nation should prioritize community-based violence intervention programs to reduce gun violence and violent crime more broadly.
Jun 15, 2022
Akua Amaning, Hassen Bashir
Community-based violence intervention programs have proved to reduce homicides and shootings.
Jun 3, 2022
CAP Criminal Justice Reform team, CAP Gun Violence Prevention team
How civilian offices of violence prevention can curb gun violence by supporting community-driven solutions.
May 10, 2022
Rachael Eisenberg, David Muhammad, DeVone Boggan
Please join CAP and the Clean Slate Initiative for a virtual event on how clean slate policies make our communities safer by increasing employment and opportunities that reduce recidivism and crime.
Apr 27, 2022
Akua Amaning and Sheena Meade write about how second chance policies can help lift millions of women out of poverty.
Apr 18, 2022
Jurisdictions can take several steps to eliminate the financial barriers imposed by fines and fees, which would help system-impacted individuals clear their records and reenter society.
Nov 30, 2021
Gus Tupper, Akua Amaning, Jaboa Lake
The federal government has the opportunity to look to agencies beyond the Department of Justice to advance progressive criminal justice reforms.
Jul 15, 2021
The U.S. Department of Justice seems poised to restore pattern-or-practice investigations to promote constitutional and effective policing.
Jul 8, 2021
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.
May 28, 2021
Rebecca Vallas, Sharon Dietrich, Beth Avery
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.
May 24, 2021
The automatic clearing of eligible criminal records can help to foster civic engagement and build a healthier democracy.
Apr 26, 2021
Maggie Jo Buchanan, Nick Jacobson
Broad reforms and targeted services are needed to reduce the harms of incarceration for LGBTQ people and people living with HIV as they reenter their communities.
Apr 23, 2021
It is time to end the federal criminalization of marijuana and right the wrongs caused by the war on drugs—especially for communities of color.
Apr 20, 2021
The Biden administration should improve policies around admissions, financial aid, and housing to ensure that people with criminal records have fair opportunities to pursue a college education.
Apr 19, 2021
Bradley D. Custer
Policymakers must take long-overdue action to undo intentionally harmful housing policies that discriminate against people with criminal records and perpetuate racial discrimination.
Apr 14, 2021
Justice reform measures can help ensure that women with a criminal record are given a fair chance at quality job opportunities, and these reforms are needed now more than ever in light of the pandemic’s devastating impact on women.
Mar 29, 2021
While more must be done to shrink the footprint of the U.S. criminal justice system, the national dialogue around reform during summer 2020 has inspired transformative ideas and tangible policies that can be built on moving forward.
Mar 18, 2021
Kenny Lo, Sarah Figgatt, Betsy Pearl, 1 More
Civilian first responders are good for the public—and for the police.
Mar 11, 2021
Betsy Pearl, Amos Irwin
Americans’ civil liberties are in danger if Congress does not ensure that ordinary people can hold state and federal officials accountable for wrongdoing.
Feb 11, 2021
Hai-Lam Phan, Jasmine Hardy, Stephanie Wylie, 3 More
Akua Amaning, Sarah Figgatt, Maggie Jo Buchanan
The Biden administration can create a foundation for criminal justice reform efforts through additional executive actions.
The Biden administration can immediately act to begin renewing the federal government’s work to reform civil and criminal justice systems.
Nov 24, 2020
Maggie Jo Buchanan, Maha Jweied, Karen A. Lash
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