A firm belief in the power of rehabilitation is central to meaningful criminal justice reform. We are all human, and humans make mistakes. We evolve and we grow. We improve, we learn, and we change our minds. That means people in prison, but it also means lawyers, judges, witness, law enforcement officers, politicians, and victims. Just as no one is defined by their worst act, no one is a prisoner to an old belief, a historical decision, or a past deed.
Our principles apply to all people, no matter the offense of conviction. We do not endorse policies that categorically exclude people from reform efforts based on their history, including offense of conviction.
Strategies to reform the criminal legal system must center Black and Brown voices and must explicitly acknowledge the role racism plays in the legal system’s history and ongoing operation.
Common sense and effective criminal justice reform will require input directly impacted people and their families. It will also require input from crime victims and law enforcement officers, as well as lawyers, judges, and policymakers.