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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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Pennsylvania news series exposes sex offender registry as a sham


The Sentinel | Nov. 16, 2016 | By Naomi Creason

Sentinel reporter receives Lee President's Award

Josh Vaughn


Excerpts:  Lee Enterprises honored Sentinel reporter Joshua Vaughn Tuesday with a 2016 President's Award for Excellence in News.   Vaughn received the award for his monthly Digital Data packages as part of The Sentinel's ongoing "Closer Look" series that runs every week. In these packages, Vaughn uses data to dig deeper into issues, such as race and crime, overdose deaths, sex offender registration, bail policies and incarceration.  "The sex offender package intrigued me because I came in with preconceived notions," Vaughn said. "The more I researched it, the more those notions were upended." MORE: 






Listed: a closer look at sex offender registries


The Sentinel takes a closer look at the efficacy, impact and evidence behind sex offender registries, strategies to prevent sexual violence against children and how courts have changed their views in dealing with juvenile offenders.



The Sentinel | March 26, 2016 | By Joshua Vaughn

When facts aren't facts: A look at the effectiveness of sexual offender registries

Excerpts:  Patrick Crawley, executive director and counsel for the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee, said the assertion that outlined the state’s need for the law likely came from evidence presented during a committee hearing, but that he was unable to find any supporting data that was used.  SORNA was sponsored by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who has the statement, “Convicted sex offenders often evade current state registration requirements and go on to commit additional offenses” on his website about his support for the legislation.  Given more than a week to prepare, staff for Sensenbrenner was unable to provide any data or evidence used to support that statement.  MORE:




The Sentinel | March 26, 2016 | By Joshua Vaughn

Finding statistics to fit a narrative

An article in a 1986 edition of Psychology Today has made its way into two Supreme Court cases as evidence of a “frightening and high” re-offense rate for sexual offenders. MORE:




The Sentinel | March 27, 2016 | By Joshua Vaughn

Registered offender details a lifetime debt to society

On a brisk Saturday morning in March, Gary Haney walked into John’s Diner in New Cumberland. MORE:




The Sentinel | March 27, 2016 | By Joshua Vaughn

Family members of offenders speak out against sex offender registries

Vicki Henry never expected to wake up to more than a dozen armed officers at her front door to search her home, but that is what happened after her son, who had been charged and convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography while he was serving in Iraq, moved into her home. MORE:




The Sentinel | March 25, 2016 | By Joshua Vaughn

A closer look at Pennsylvania's sex offender registry

There are currently more than 19,000 people listed on Pennsylvania’s sexual offender registry. MORE:




The Sentinel | March 24, 2016 | By Joshua Vaughn

The changing view of juvenile justice in Pennsylvania courts

In February, Upper Township Police searched for and caught Basil Duncan. The 34-year-old man was accused of sexually assaulting a young girl for nearly five years. MORE:




The Sentinel | March 24, 2016 | By Joshua Vaughn

Preventing sexual violence against children

There were more than 60,000 incidents of sexual assault of children in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MORE:











The private prison industry was crashing — until Donald Trump’s victory

By Chico Harlan      November 10, 2016 

The Otay Mesa detention center near San Diego, Calif., is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CCA is one of the largest private prison company in the country.

Only two months ago the private prison industry was reeling. The Justice Department had announced a plan to end the use of the private facilities for its federal inmates. Stocks of the corrections companies nosedived. The presumed next president, Hillary Clinton, used the debate stage to advocate for an even broader move away from the facilities at the state-level.

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