The Smart On Crime Coalition*

The Smart on Crime Coalition has re-convened to provide the 112th Congress and the Administration a comprehensive view of the federal government’s role in improving criminal justice systems.

The Coalition is comprised of more than 40 organizations and individuals, who participated in developing policy recommendations across 16 broad issue areas.  These organizations and individuals represent the leading voices in criminal justice policy.  Coalition members focus their efforts on such diverse and varied areas as combating unnecessary expansions of criminal law, advocating for improvements to investigatory and forensic science standards, ensuring that persons accused of crimes have an opportunity to receive a fair trial, helping persons who have served their sentences successfully reenter their communities, and protecting the rights and dignity of victims of crime.

The Coalition, with experts and advocates spanning the criminal justice system, is particularly troubled by the budget crises plaguing states and placing greater burdens on the federal government.  To address this concern, the Coalition has expanded its membership since first convening in 2008 to publish the first edition of Smart on Crime, and has consulted a broad array of experts representing a diversity of philosophies and points of view.Our dedication to exploring all options means that Smart on Crime focuses on providing non-ideological, cost-effective, and evidence-based solutions to address the worst problems in our system.

For ease of reference, a list of participants and the chapters to which they contributed is available below Note that each participant only formally endorses the particular chapters in this list, and may not necessarily endorse the principles expressed in other chapters.  The decision of a group not to sign on to a chapter does not necessarily indicate an opposition to the policies proposed; some participants were limited by issue area or by other factors.

MISSION AND SCOPE

Smart on Crime seeks to provide federal policymakers in both Congress and the Administration a comprehensive, systematic analysis of the current challenges facing state and federal criminal justice systems and recommendations to address those challenges.  The main focus of Smart on Crime is the steps the federal government can take to improve federal criminal justice and support states seeking to improve their own systems.

While justice cannot be reduced to dollars and cents on a balance sheet, Smart on Crime endeavors to examine policy proposals that reflect the reality that resources at both the state and federal level are scarce.  As a consequence, the recommendations in this report seek to be cost-effective and, to the extent possible, contain costs in all facets of the system.  Most importantly, these recommendations eschew ideology and focus on evidence-based approaches that aim to improve the system for all its participants.

Smart on Crime is organized into 16 issues dealing with a particular area of criminal justice policy.  This report is premised on the idea that to successfully confront the crises in the criminal justice system, we must fully understand the nature of the problems, the context in which the problems arose and in which they continue to exist, and the manner in which recommendations will best address the problem.  For each issue area Smart on Crime:

 The reader should feel free to contact any of the primary policy contacts listed in each chapter for more information.

CONTRIBUTORS

Overcriminalization of Conduct, Overfederalization of Criminal Law, and Exercise of Enforcement Discretion

American Bar Association
American Civil Liberties Union
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Asset Forfeiture

Americans for Forfeiture Reform
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
English & Smith, LLP
Institute for Justice
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Federal Investigations

Innocence Project

Federal Grand Juries              

American Bar Association
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Forensic Science

Innocence Project
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Legal Aid and Defender Association

Innocence Issues

Innocence Project

Indigent Defense

American Bar Association
Brennan Center for Justice
The Constitution Project
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund
National Legal Aid and Defender Association

Juvenile Justice  

American Psychological Association
Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Campaign for Youth Justice
Center for Children’s Law and Policy
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Just Detention International
Phyllis Lawrence, Restorative Justice and Capital Mitigation Specialist
National Juvenile Justice Network
Sentencing Project
RFK Juvenile Justice Collaborative

Federal Sentencing

American Bar Association
American Civil Liberties Union
Drug Policy Alliance
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Law Offices of Margaret Love
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Legal Aid and Defender Association
Sentencing Project

Improving the Prison System

ACLU National Prison Project
ACLE Washington Legislative Office
D.C. Prisoner’s Project
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Just Detention International
Law Offices of Margaret Love
Legal Action Center
National Legal Aid and Defender Association
Open Society Policy Center
Prison Fellowship

Death Penalty   

American Bar Association
Amnesty International
The Constitution Project
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund
The Raben Group

Fixing Medellín: Ensuring Consular Access Through Compliance with International Law

Amnesty International
The Constitution Project
The Raben Group

Pardon Power & Executive Clemency

American Civil Liberties Union
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Law Offices of Margaret Love

Reentry: Ensuring Successful Reintegration After Incarceration

Brennan Center for Justice
Jennifer Collier
Council of State Governments
Drug Policy Alliance
Legal Action Center
Open Society Policy Center
The Sentencing Project

Victims Issues & Restorative Justice

Just Detention International
Phyllis Lawrence, Restorative Justice Consultant and Capital Mitigation Specialist
Prison Fellowship

System Change

Brennan Center for Justice
Council on State Governments
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Innocence Project
The Sentencing Project

PROJECT COORDINATOR

Adrienne Lee Benson
The Constitution Project
1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 580 – 6931
abenson@constitutionproject.org

EDITORIAL CONSULTATION

Hogan Lovells, LLP
Columbia Square
555 Thirteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 637 5600
www.hoganlovells.com