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About Us

Our mission. Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform works for a just, humane, and restorative judicial and correctional system by means of research, public education, legislative advocacy, coalition building, community organizing, and litigation. We support rational, cost-effective programs and policies that reduce crime, lower recidivism, and make our society safer.

Our vision. CCJR seeks a system of justice that protects the community while promoting the rehabilitation of offenders and the well-being of inmate families.

Our goals

  • Build, empower, and mobilize an active statewide coalition.
  • Debunk common myths and stereotypes about prison and offenders.
  • Reform the criminal justice process to make it more restorative and less adversarial.
  • Promote alternatives to incarceration which are less costly and more effective than prison, such as fines, counseling, community service, and restitution.
  • Advocate for programs that maintain relationships between inmates and their loves ones.
  • Work to reintegrate offenders back into their families and communities.
  • Address addiction as a healthcare issue, not as a criminal offense, and redirect resources to prevention and treatment.
  • Oppose mandatory minimum sentences and dangerous overcrowding in our jails and prisons.
  • Serve as a networking resource for prisoners and their families.
 
“The Granite State has long needed a voice like CCJR to challenge the myths behind decades of draconian state policies on crime.” — Chris Dornin, a former correctional counselor, retired State House reporter, and the founder of Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform. 
 

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Court says Michigan sex offender registry laws creating ‘moral lepers’.

Just published:  A new article by legal scholar Melissa Hamilton spotlights the key role of *scientific evidence* in a ground-breaking 2016 federal appeals court decision known as Doe v. Snyder—and how that holding is already impacting other challenges to draconian sex offense laws. The court’s ruling created much excitement and was heralded by the Washington Post: Court says Michigan sex offender registry laws creating ‘moral lepers’.  Have a look at this incisive and timely essay, the US Supreme Court is now deciding whether to review Doe v. Snyder.   –Bill Dobbs

Boston College Law Review | Feb. 22, 2017

Constitutional Law and the Role of Scientific Evidence: The Transformative Potential of Doe v. Snyder

by Melissa Hamilton

Excerpts:  In the United States, sex offenders are uniquely regarded as moral lepers, in need of constant supervision and forced to the margins of society. The public’s fear of persons who have committed crimes of a sexual nature is so extreme that policymakers across jurisdictions have become convinced that traditional criminal law and sentencing regimes are inadequate to protect public safety. Thus, legislatures have adopted a variety of statutes—purportedly civil in nature—to manage sex offenders beyond their prison terms.

In late 2016, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s concluded in Does #1–5 v. Snyder that Michigan’s sex offender registry and residency restriction law constituted anex post facto punishment in violation of the constitution. In its decision, the Sixth Circuit engaged with scientific evidence that refutes moralized judgments about sex offenders, specifically that they pose a unique and substantial risk of recidivism.

Doe v. Snyder is a shining example of a court actually engaging with scientific evidence that refutes moralized judgments about a particularly disfavored group. Equally important, a reasonable interpretation of the Sixth Circuit’s opinion by many is that more of Michigan’s civil sex offender law, and other state laws like it, are now subject to a broader invalidation.  MORE:

Web version:  http://bclawreview.org/e-supp/2017/constitutional-law-and-the-role-of-scientific-evidence-the-transformative-potential-of-doe-v-snyder/

PDF version:  http://bclawreview.org/files/2017/02/05_hamilton.pdf

 

 

 

You need to fight to make Corrections get its rules vetted

A House committee voted this week to retain and study HB 192, our bill to force the Department of Corrections to get all of its administrative rules approved by lawmakers. That’s a very good result. Helen Hanks, the assistant commissioner of Corrections, is now drafting rules for the sex offender treatment program to bring them before the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. We at Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform made that happen. Now the real work begins.

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