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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

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
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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
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“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."
April 19, 2017
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"We will not stop advocating for changes that protect our law enforcement officers and communities while providing offenders with a smarter path forward."
November 30, 2016
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“The ongoing mental health crisis affects all of our communities, and we designed this legislation to bring relief to a system in which jails care for more mental health patients than medical facilities do.”
September 23, 2016
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Congressman Collins appeared on CNN to speak about the situation unfolding in Charlotte, N.C.
July 8, 2016
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"No community is immune from addiction, and the pain and suffering that it brings to families."
June 10, 2016
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The bill, which passed by unanimous consent, would ensure that federal law enforcement officers are allowed to carry their federally permitted and authorized firearms during a lapse in funding or furlough.
May 16, 2016
Op-Ed
"We're putting a priority on identifying mental illness and identifying these folks who need extra help, and also helping our law enforcement folks be better able to serve because they have better tools."
May 12, 2016
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"By providing this comprehensive guide to resources, we hope families will find the support they need to deal with these issues."