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In the Field

States and localities play the largest role in incarceration in the United States. For that reason, JPI works directly with policymakers, administrators, and advocates in reforming their juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. JPI is in the process of expanding its work to include additional states and partners.

View all of JPI's research tagged with State & Local Policy.

Below are highlights of our current work in the field:

VIRGINIA
JPI works in Virginia with a working group of advocates, lawyers, practioners and impacted individuals to help reform adult and juvenile laws that disparately impact communities in the areas of felony disenfranchisement, harsh sentencing, re-entry and pre-trial. Currently, we provide techinical assistance in the area of legislation tactics and communication strategy.

ALABAMA
JPI has worked in Alabama and produced a report on overcrowding in the women’s prison. Our onsite consulting to the Department of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Paroles over the past few years has included continued research and analysis and technical assistance to both agencies aimed at safely reducing incarceration rates. We have also engaged in an analysis of parole supervision policies and practices.

HAWAI‘I
Working with researchers at Georgetown and the University of Hawai‘i, as well as advocates and administrators in Hawai‘i, JPI spent close to three years to produce a groundbreaking report on the disproportionate numbers of Native Hawaiians in that state’s criminal justice system.

MARYLAND
JPI has produced numerous reports related to the criminal justice system in Maryland, particularly as they impact Baltimore city. JPI staff provide ongoing technical assistance to the Baltimore Criminal Justice Grassroots Advocacy Network and its members. We will be producing a research report in conjunction with the Maryland Disability Law Center in late 2011.

MODELS FOR CHANGE
Sixteen states have been involved in the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Initiative to reform juvenile justice systems. JPI provides trainings and in-state assistance to the four primary sites, and also manages the Initiative’s national online communications.

  • Visit the Models for Change website.

COOLER  BANDITS

The tale of The Cooler Bandits begins in 1991 when these young men, then in their late teens, began the crime spree that ended with their capture, trial and imprisonment. The crimes were serious and are not treated lightly by Lucas or the former Cooler Bandits. The true story, though, is how these young men were treated so unequally under the law with sentences ranging up to 500 years for crimes during which no one was physically injured.  Their stories, rather than being unique, are in fact depressingly typical for many young men from this neighborhood and places like it all over the United States. Some fall into the criminal justice system and never get back out again. Others are able to make the transition back into society but it is difficult and there are many obstacles. JPI has partnered with Director John Lucas as executive producer for the film. For more information, click here. Go to www.coolerbandits.com

The tale of The Cooler Bandits begins in 1991 when these young men, then in their late teens, began the crime spree that ended with their capture, trial and imprisonment. The crimes were serious and are not treated lightly by Lucas or the former Cooler Bandits. The true story, though, is how these young men were treated so unequally under the law with sentences ranging up to 500 years for crimes during which no one was physically injured. On the low side, Donovan Harris, the only one of the young men able to hire a lawyer, ironically received the shortest sentence -- 16 to 50 years -- when he rejected his attorney's advice to go to trial and accepted a plea bargain. The rest of the young men were represented at trial by public defenders and their sentences ranged all the way up to a shocking 500 years for Frankie Porter. Their stories, rather than being unique, are in fact depressingly typical for many young men from this neighborhood and places like it all over the United States. Some fall into the criminal justice system and never get back out again. Others are able to make the transition back into society but it is difficult and there are many obstacles.

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