Campaign for Smart Justice

The United States incarcerates too many people for too long.

ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice

Imprisonment is a brutal and costly response to crime that traumatizes incarcerated people and hurts families and communities. It should be the last option, not the first. Yet the U.S. incarcerates more people, in both absolute numbers and per capita, than any other nation in the world. For the last four decades, this country has relentlessly expanded the size of our criminal justice system, needlessly throwing away too many lives and wasting trillions of taxpayer dollars. 

The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

We are working in all 50 states for reforms to usher in a new era of justice in America – and we’re already implementing solutions:

  • Sentencing Reform: We are working to reduce both the number of people entering jails and prisons and the extreme laws and policies that drive extraordinarily long prison terms.

  • Bail Reform: We’re overhauling the unjust and for-profit bail system that strips people of their rights, targets poor people and people of color, and hurts families and communities.

  • Prosecutorial Reform: Prosecutors across the country work towards convictions, not justice. We’re challenging prosecutorial abuse in the courts and legislatures and through voter education.

  • Parole Reform: We are working to ensure systems are fair, respect people’s rights, and promote safety and success for those returning to their communities.

  • Reentry: We are working to end the collateral consequences that are imposed on people living with a criminal record.

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