Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress
PDF Print E-mail

After the 2008 elections, America’s policymakers will take a fresh look at the criminal justice system, which so desperately needs their attention. To assist with that review, leaders and experts from all aspects of the criminal justice community spent months collaboratively identifying key issues and gathering policy advice into one comprehensive set of recommendations for the new administration and Congress. This catalogue is the fruit of those labors.

More than 25 organizations and individuals participated in developing policy recommendations across 15 broad issue areas. They then vetted those recommendations with a broader group of experts, representing a diversity of philosophies and points of view, to assess the substantive and political viability of each recommendation. For each issue area, the document:

•    Identifies and summarizes problems;
•    Evaluates possible solutions and identifies potential areas of agreement;
•    Indicates which parts of government have jurisdiction;
•    Notes potential supporters of the identified solutions and discusses opposing arguments;
•    Identifies experts who can provide further analysis;
•    Indicates the authors of that particular section; and
•    Provides hyperlinks to other materials that explore the issues in greater depth.

In addition, the first few sections of the catalogue provide a broad overview of the criminal justice system as it now exists; indicate objectives that must be afforded priority consideration; identify items for executive and legislative action; and list participating individuals and organizations.

Please note that organizations and individuals identified as "potential allies" have indicated that they support the general principles expressed in the policy proposals described in that chapter. The allies listed do not necessarily endorse the specific language in every proposal in that chapter, but they do agree that the proposals reflect the general principles that should govern policy in that area. A potential ally signing on to one chapter is only signing on to that chapter and does not necessarily support the principles expressed in other chapters. Furthermore, the decision of a group not to sign on as a potential ally does not necessarily indicate an opposition to the policies proposed.

For policy questions, please contact the individuals or organizations identified as the authors of or policy experts for each section. However, please direct general questions to the Constitution Project, which coordinated this collaborative effort. Please contact Matthew Allee at 202-580-6920.

The catalogue is available online at, at, and at the websites of many of the participating organizations.
For more information, please read about us or contact Matthew Allee at the Constitution Project, 202-580-6922.