Often the consequences that come along with a conviction, such as restrictions on available housing, hurdles to finding employment, and obtaining loans for school interfere with people’s ability to turn the page and create a productive life for themselves.

A criminal act does not define a person forever. We know that people grow and change. As kids mature into adults, their judgment and emotional stability improves. That growth continues as people age and risk of violent criminality decreases precipitously. People who suffer from addiction and other mental illnesses can receive treatment. Other people find faith, stability and meaning in their work, or just find hope for a life that is better than the one they lived before. We should provide everyone with the opportunity to change; and, if they do, we should provide pathways back home to their families and communities.

  • No one should be sentenced to a term of more than ten years without a meaningful opportunity for release, and all people who have served 15 years should be entitled to a presumption of parole.
  • Elderly incarcerated individuals should be moved to the least restrictive environment in the community whenever possible.
  • Make earned time the standard; every sentence should allow for up to 50 percent earned time.
  • End mandatory sentencing, including mandatory minimums and mandatory sentencing enhancements.
  • End the death penalty.
  • Restrict what is charged as murder by ending felony murder charges and the prosecution of overdose cases as homicide.
  • Radically increase the availability and use of executive clemency.
  • Make expungement automatic, true, and broadly available, with the vast majority of offenses being automatically expunged 5 years after completion of conditions, if not immediately.
  • Remove legal and regulatory barriers and facilitate access to housing, education, transportation and transit, social services, and employment so that people returning home from jail or prison can build a stable and productive life.