The Principles at Work


The NCSL Sentencing and Corrections Work Group was assembled  in 2010 to discuss and develop a framework for legislatures to use in addressing sentencing and corrections policies and approaches that both manage state spending and protect the public. In August 2011, the group released its findings in the report “Principles of Effective Sentencing and Corrections Policy” (Principles). 

Watch members of the Work Group discuss the Principles at work in their own states. They talk about the sentencing and corrections policies that have improved public safety, reduced recidivism and controlled corrections costs. The members also reflect on their experiences in adopting these policies and their approaches that were critical for success. Also hear from a representative of the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States on how the Principles can be useful to states addressing their sentencing and corrections laws. 

NCSL Resources

To learn more about the Principles and related sentencing and corrections policies, visit:



Representative Jerry Madden, Texas

Representative Jerry Madden, co-chair fo the NCSL's Work Group, has received national recognition for his role in recent reforms to Texas' corrections system. Watch him discuss these reforms and advice he has for legislators pursuing reform in their state.

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Representative Janice Pauls, Kansas

Representative Janice Pauls, co-chair of NCSL's Work Group, has been a consistent leader in changes to Kansas' sentencing laws that are economically sound and reduce recidivism. Watch her explain the role that the sentencing commission has had in their reforms.

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Representative Pat Colloton, Kansas

Representative Pat Colloton, a member of the Work Group, has worked tirelessly to improve the outcomes of offenders returning to Kansas communities after prison. Watch her describe the efforts being done for offender reentry.

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Representative John Tilley, Kentucky

Representative John Tilley, a member of the Work Group, was the primary sponsor of Kentucky's Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act of 2011, which made comprehensive changes to the state's drug sentencing and offender supervision laws.  Watch him discuss highlights of this law, including cost considerations and improving the transition from prison to the community.

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Richard Jerome, Public Safety Performance Project

Richard Jerome, project manager at the Public Safety Performance Project, provided his national expertise and technical assistance to the Work Group. Watch him reflect on reforms across the country.

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