Overview of Criminal Justice Reform

When it comes to criminal justice reform, there is no shortage of information. You can find articles discussing the latest statistics in terms of crime rates or incarceration rates. You can also learn about various proposed solutions for improving the system and helping those who have been impacted by it. However, if you’re like me, sometimes it can be difficult to navigate through all this information especially when there are so many different voices, approaches, and opinions out there. So today I want to take a step back and review some basic facts about criminal justice reform so we have a better understanding of what’s going on in this space right now: how did we get here? What does an effective solution look like? And most importantly: how can you help?

The Definition of Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal justice reform is the effort to reduce the number of people in prison and to make the system more fair. The main goal of criminal justice reform is to reduce the number of people in prison, while also making sure that those who are incarcerated are treated fairly.0The movement is also working to reduce the number of people who are arrested and prosecuted for minor crimes. The goal is to keep people out of prison by using alternatives such as drug treatment programs and community service instead of incarceration.

How Did We Get Criminal Justice Reform Here?

The history of criminal justice reform is a long and complicated one, but it’s important to understand this history in order to understand why change is so urgently needed. The War on Drugs. In the late 1960s, Congress passed legislation that made possession of marijuana a federal crime. In 1972, under President Nixon’s administration, the Controlled Substances Act placed drugs like heroin and cocaine into five different categories based on their potential for abuse and addiction potential. This act was later amended by President Reagan in 1986. The classification system created by these acts made many previously legal substances illegal, however, they were not intended as punishment tools they were supposed to help doctors better understand how addictive certain drugs could be so they could prescribe medications safely.

This led directly to what became known as “The War On Drugs” which began around 1971 when President Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one.” It was designed primarily as an informational campaign about why people shouldn’t use illegal substances, however, over time, its focus shifted towards harsher punishments for those who disobeyed his orders. This shift eventually led us down our current path where incarceration rates have skyrocketed from 75 per 100k people incarcerated in 1980 (the year before Ronald Reagan assumed office) all the way up past 500 today.

Criminal Justice Reform Is About More Than Sentencing Reform

The criminal justice system is more than just sentencing reform. It’s about prevention, rehabilitation, and reentry. Sentencing reform is important, but it isn’t a solution to the problem because it only addresses one part of the system: punishment. Sentencing reform doesn’t help people who are already incarcerated and can’t get out until their sentence ends or if they receive parole which sometimes takes years after they’ve served their time. It also doesn’t address what happens when someone returns home from prison; many former inmates struggle with housing and employment challenges that make it hard for them to stay out of trouble again.

Criminal Justice Reform Is As Much About Prevention

Criminal Justice Reform is not just about sentencing reform and reducing incarceration. It’s also about prevention, rehabilitation, and community involvement. The goal of criminal justice reform is to make our communities safer by reducing crime rates while protecting civil liberties. This can be accomplished by focusing on preventing crime through education programs or mentorship initiatives; rehabilitating those who have committed crimes so that they are able to reintegrate into society as productive members; providing resources for those who have been incarcerated so they can transition back into society successfully; promoting restorative justice practices instead of retributive ones (i.e., focusing on repairing the harm done rather than punishing offenders); making sure everyone has access to legal representation when necessary so no one gets railroaded into a plea bargain because they couldn’t afford an attorney; etcetera.

Being Aware Of The Criminal Justice Reform Issues

Being aware of the issues that lead to criminal behavior, and what the system can do to prevent them, is key to helping those in need. Whether you’re interested in criminal justice reform because you want to help those who have been convicted of crimes or because you want to learn more about how your state treats its prisoners, there are many ways for you to get involved. You can even start by educating yourself on this important topic!


We hope this article has helped you get a better understanding of criminal justice reform and what it means for the future of our country. We’re excited to see where this movement will go next, but in the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay informed about what’s going on in politics and make sure their voices are heard by voting!