Monday, February 21, 2011

Time to Get Smart on Crime

Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Administration and Congress provides the
112th Congress and the Administration with analysis of the problems plaguing our state and
federal criminal justice systems and a series of recommendations to address these failures. It
provides a comprehensive examination of the criminal justice system, from the creation of
new criminal laws to ex-offenders’ reentry into communities after serving their sentences.
Our broad recommendations range from helping to restore and empower victims to
identifying ways to protect the rights of the accused.

Americans depend on the criminal justice system to maintain our safety and security.
We expect the system to effectively deter crime and punish offenders, and rehabilitate those
who have served their sentences. We also demand that it treat victims and their families with
compassion and provide justice and safety for all Americans. We insist that it be fair, reliable
and accurate. Yet, too frequently, these laudable—but daunting—goals go unmet.
Central to our mission is offering recommendations that achieve these goals, while
reflecting the economic realities and acknowledging the new priority of return on investment.
Today, budget shortfalls and economic distress are plaguing states and placing greater
burdens on the federal government. States are confronting budge crises that threaten all
facets of the criminal justice system, including courts, prisons, police departments,
prosecutors, and public defenders.

To effectively tackle these challenges, we must abandon heated rhetoric and explore
policies based not on ideology, but on evidence. We must come together to forge a system
that works for everyone. For this reason, Smart on Crime incorporates cost-effective,
evidence-based solutions to address the worst problems in our system.

The efforts of the Smart on Crime Coalition are coordinated by the Constitution Project.
The Constitution Project (TCP) brings together unlikely allies—experts and practitioners
from across the political spectrum—in order to promote and safeguard America’s founding
charter. TCP is working to reform the nation’s broken criminal justice system and to
strengthen the rule of law through scholarship, consensus policy reforms, advocacy, and
public education. The full report is here:

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