Sentencing Policy

JS Blog Post September 30, 2016

Giving Voice: Children of Incarcerated Speak From Experience

Patricia Allard

This past summer, the American Institutes for Research and the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated at Rutgers University organized a 2 day listening session with youth who have or have had incarcerated parents. This listening session was supported by the Office of Human Services Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the US Department of Justice. This was an opportunity to hear from children and youth about the impact of incarceration on their lives, as well as their vision of what could be done to minimize the impact of parental incarceration.

JS Publication July 13, 2016

Indefensible: A Decade of Mass Incareration of Migrants Prosecuted for Crossing the Border

"Indefensible,” a new book from Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership, examines the costs and failures of over a decade of criminalization of border migration. Operation Streamline was launched in 2005 and added criminal convictions to the previous civil removal process, and is known for the disturbing spectacle of mass courtroom proceedings in which up to 80 shackled migrants are arraigned, convicted and sentenced for misdemeanor improper entry charges. While the Streamline courts have been scaled back in several districts, the legacy continues in federal courts, and includes related massive immigration prosecutions for both improper entry and felony re-entry. In 2015, half (49 percent) of all federal prosecutions were made up of what is essentially a crime of trespassing, in the form of improper entry and re-entry prosecutions. Read more »

News Article The Root June 19, 2016

#BlackDadsMatter: Mass Incarceration Is Robbing Children of Their Fathers. Here's How to Fix That

In this article, released on Father's Day 2016, Patricia Allard, Senior Research and Policy Analyst with Justice Strategies, and Glenn E. Martin, founder and President of JustLeadership, argue that #BlackDadsMatter, and point to comprehensive policy solutions that can minimize the negative emotional, social and economic consequences of having a dad incarcerated.  Ending mass incarceration for the millions currently in our jails and prisons is receiving more attention in policy circles than ever before.  But, ending the intergenerational legacy of mass incarceration will require that we act now to address the problems and issues confronted by the five million plus children who currently live without their incarcerated parent. 

JS Blog Post June 20, 2016

#BlackDadsMatter: Mass Incarceration is Robbing Children of Their Fathers. Here's How to Fix It.

Patricia Allard & Glenn Martin

#BlackDadsMatter: Mass Incarceration Is Robbing Children of Their Fathers.

JS Blog Post April 20, 2016

Breaking the Cycle: A Family-focused Approach to Criminal Sentencing in Illinios

Lauren Feig


Breaking the Cycle: A Family-focused Approach to Criminal Sentencing in Illinios


The collateral damage of parental incarceration to children is a hidden cost of current punitive criminal sentencing policies that overlook the needs of children and impose barriers to maintaining strong parent-child bonds. This paper presents a familyfocused approach to criminal sentencing, which aims to promote better outcomes for offenders and their children by aligning sentencing decisions to the severity of the crime committed, the risks and strengths of the offender, and the offender’s family context. It will address existing gaps in federal and state sentencing guidelines and provide policy and practice recommendations to help advance family-focused sentencing in Illinois. 

JS Publication March 21, 2016

US Sentencing Commission Testimony Mar. 21, 2016

In this joint testimony regarding proposed sentencing enhancements for unlawfully entering or remaining in the US, Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership provide the US Sentencing Commission with insights into the views of the judges, federal public defenders, private attorneys and individuals who, on a daily basis deal with, and have been directly impacted by, these prosecutions.

JS Publication March 16, 2016

Day Fines & The Fare Probation Experiment

This article by Susan Tucker and Judith Greene on the Maricopa County day fines program was first published in 1999 (The Justice System Journal Vol. 21 No. 1, 1999).  Recently, there has been growing interest in day fines from the media, the US Department of Justice, criminal justice reform advocates and academics as a consequence of events in Ferguson Missouri.

JS Blog Post March 9, 2016

Make it Quick: The Kids Only Have 24 Hours with Dad

Patricia Allard

Nightline’s Face to Face with Juju Chang presents "One Day with God" -  a prison program that runs in seven states. Fathers have 24 hours to build memories with their children in the prison gymnasium. One father teaches the importance of cursive writing to his son, while another has an intimate moment dancing with his daughter. Chang summarized this precious day as follows: “Throughout the day, it’s clear that the dads are trying to cram years of parenting into a couple of hours.”

In-prison and re-entry programs are critical in maintaining healthy connections between fathers and children. However, we do have the opportunity to further limit the damage visited on children when their parents face a possible prison term. We talk about the best interest of the child but when we consider severing the parent-child bond when a father faces a prison term, we fail to take an inquisitive look at the impact a prison term will have on the family unit, especially children. Read more »

JS Blog Post February 27, 2016

United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent Speaks to the Best Interests of Children of Incarcerated Parents

Patricia Allard

On Thursday, January 21st, 2016, the US Human Rights Network and the Franklin Law Group, P.C. convened a Civil Society Roundtable with the members of the UN Working Group of Experts on People     of African Descent          (UN WGEPAD) during their first official visit to the United States. This convening provided the opportunity for civil society to spotlight persistent issues of racial        discrimination in the United States,    and engage the Working Group on policy recommendations, and   lift up best practices for   replication at the state, national and international levels.   Read more »

Syndicate content