Criminal Justice Reform

Reforming the current criminal justice system will help undo the results of harsh, imbalanced penalties, which have left devastating effects in many communities of color.

After decades of implementing harsh penalties for criminal misconduct, states have begun to recognize the need for deep reforms to their criminal justice systems. States are shifting resources from punishment to diversion and rehabilitation. States are reevaluating mandatory minimum sentences and harsh drug penalties. States are also recognizing systemic racism and its impact on criminal justice outcomes.

As the chief law enforcement and/or legal officers in their states, attorneys general are important advocates for criminal justice reform. Attorneys general promote legislative change, set prosecutorial priorities, investigate systemic bias in police departments and court systems, and challenge federal rules that require reform.