Connect

Criminal Justice Reform

An effective criminal justice system is an essential part of a safe and just society. We must hold those who break the law accountable, but we must also pursue justice in a way that is compassionate, sensible, and fair. If we focus on improving our criminal justice system, we will make our country safer for law enforcement and communities while saving taxpayer money, helping offenders turn their lives around, and reducing the number of future victims.

Ninety-five percent of individuals incarcerated in prisons will be released at some point. These individuals will rejoin our communities, yet our current criminal justice system does little to help them reintegrate in a way that protects neighborhoods and restores individuals. In Georgia, we’ve seen the impact that meaningful reforms can have on the criminal justice system, and I’ve worked in Congress to build on that success.

The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act, which I introduced, became law in 2016 as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. This law is designed to help state and local governments train law enforcement and other first responders to recognize individuals suffering from mental illness and interact with them more safely. It also provides resources to expand mental health and veterans treatment courts, while encouraging greater collaboration among the justice system and community members. The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act recognizes that it doesn’t make sense to use our jails as mental health institutions, and it moves us away from that flawed model.

I’m also committed to efforts to strengthen other aspects of the justice system. States like Georgia and Texas have paved the way for conservative criminal justice reform, which can save money and improve lives. I introduced the Prison Reform and Redemption Act to create a federal prison-wide system for evaluating the risk of every individual prisoner for reoffending and then offering evidence-based resources—like mental health care, vocational skills, substance abuse treatment, and faith-based programs—that make them less likely to reoffend when they are released. I’ve seen the results of similar state-level programs, and thoughtful prison reform works.

By building on proven reform efforts, we can continue to make the United States a safer place.

Related Content

August 3, 2018
Press Release
“I love coming back to Jackson County, I love coming back home because I hear your stories and I go back and tell those stories because we’re seeing good things happen.”
May 22, 2018
Press Release
“Rep. Doug Collins has demonstrated that he is committed to finding consensus for conservative solutions to major problems. Rep. Collins has led the way once again with a prison reform bill that will protect public safety while helping inmates earn a second chance at life,” said Leader McCarthy.
May 9, 2018
Press Release
"The bipartisan support we saw in the Judiciary Committee today reflects the resolve that I’ve seen among my colleagues to take positive strides towards a restorative justice system."
May 7, 2018
Press Release
Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced the FIRST STEP Act, a prison reform initiative aimed at lowering recidivism and prison populations through rehabilitative programing.
April 20, 2018
Op-Ed
Georgians value justice. My father was a State Trooper for 31 years, and he helped me understand that an effective criminal justice system elevates human dignity by punishing wrongdoing, protecting victims and rehabilitating offenders.
April 6, 2018
Op-Ed
Grace and justice are not competing values. A more restorative approach to prison—one that requires incarcerated men and women to earn back the public’s trust by completing transformative programs—can reduce crime.
March 20, 2018
Op-Ed
There’s been a widespread understanding that the American justice system has a recidivism problem, and now there's a viable solution.
October 19, 2017
Press Release
“Thoughtful justice reform involves listening to our neighbors. It means we're committed to learning from the people who see opportunities to build stronger, safer communities."
September 18, 2017
Press Release
As part of the small group of elected officials invited to offer legislative solutions, Collins said that Washington owes it to Americans to make progress on the issue.
July 24, 2017
Press Release
“Many of America’s federal prisoners will be released eventually, and this bill would help the Department of Justice to provide these men and women with the support they need to become productive neighbors."