Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety News Roundup


News Roundup

  • Penned by President Barack Obama in his closing weeks in the White House, "The President's Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform "appeared in the Harvard Law Review on Jan. 5, 2017. The former president reflects on his administration's accomplishments in criminal justice, the intergovernmental nature of crime policies, and offers his thoughts on the future direction of reforms.
  • This commentary prepared by Marc Levin, policy director of Right on Crime, appeared in the Washington Times on Jan. 15, 2017, and asserts "How the States Can Show the Way" in criminal justice reform. Levin points to data showing states that have engaged in a justice reinvestment process have collectively saved more than a billion dollars through smart reforms affecting sentencing, release and pretrial. And, he says, they have done so without compromising public safety, and while reinvesting at least $450 million so far in programs that reduce crime and provide services to victims.
  • "Behind the Badge" is a new report from the Pew Research Center that offers a revealing look at how police view their jobs. In the national survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform, majorities of police officers say that recent high-profile fatal encounters between black citizens and police have made their jobs riskier, increased tensions between police and communities of color, and left many officers reluctant to fully carry out some of their duties.
  • Danielle Dean, an NCSL staffer, recently participated in a meeting of the National Homeland Security Consortium (NHSC), which is a coalition of state and local associations that advises the U.S. Department of Homeland security on matters of counterterrorism and emergency management. This NCSL blog, "What to Watch for in 2017 from State-Federal Emergency Management," provides highlights of their discussion and priorities for the new year.
  • The National Science Foundation has released a new report, "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research." The report is a comprehensive review of science and evidence, with an expert committee offering conclusions that cannabis or oral cannabinoids are effective in treating some conditions, with less evidence of effect on others. The report highlights recommendations for further research, as a growing number of state policies support marijuana for medical or recreational use. See also, NCSL's marijuana deep dive page.
  • A new NCSL postcard provides a snapshot of how states address racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice systems. It includes laws in states providing for racial impact statements, committees or commissions, training, standardized data collection, and race-neutral risk assessments.
  • NCSL is heading to Boston for the Legislative Summit! Mark your calendar now for the 2017 Summit, Aug. 6-9 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Here is more information on officers, members and policies of the Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.


Please contact your Committee staff or Susan Parnas-Frederick in D.C. with any questions or needs.