Our Legislative Approach:
REFORM works with bipartisan coalitions and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to build more effective state parole and probation systems. We focus on common-sense legislative reforms that prioritize rehabilitation, accountability, families, and safe communities.
Our priorities are threefold — to safely shorten probation and parole terms, to reduce the overall number of people on supervision, and to modernize the system in line with evidence-based best practices.
REFORM has built bipartisan support for these priorities because both parties recognize the current system’s failings. We are proud to bring leaders together to change it.
Legislative Success to Date:
Championing laws that strengthen families and communities while promoting public safety for all is one of our core tenets. Since our founding in 2019, our bipartisan, solutions-based approach has enabled us to pass 17 bills in 11 states, creating pathways for nearly 700,000 people to exit the supervision system and transition to work and wellbeing, which is shown to reduce recidivism and increase the chances of success for individuals and their families.
These reforms, all of which received bipartisan support, will help move us toward a justice system that holds people accountable, incentivizes good behavior, encourages success, and saves taxpayers millions of dollars, all while making neighborhoods safer.
In 2022, REFORM passed legislation to improve outcomes and success rates for people on probation and safely reduce the overall size of Florida’s probation system.
REFORM formed the bipartisan Florida Safety Coalition, made up of directly impacted people, law enforcement, reentry service providers, and business leaders. Organizations such as the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Police Benevolent Association, Americans for Prosperity, American Conservative Union, and Operation New Hope played a critical role in the process.
After receiving unanimous support in both the Florida House and Senate, SB 752 was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.
In 2020, REFORM Alliance worked with a bipartisan coalition to pass some of the most progressive supervision reforms in the country. Our legislation reflects widely accepted, data-driven solutions that make supervision more effective, encourage success and stability in communities, and reduce recidivism. By placing evidence-based limits on probation and parole terms, increasing pathways for sick and elderly people to safely return home from incarceration, and expanding the use of effective alternatives to incarceration and supervision, REFORM’s work in California will save the state millions of dollars, impact hundreds of thousands of families, and and keep Californians safe. Thanks to our partners that helped make these victories possible American Conservative Union, Californians for Safety and Justice, #cut50, and Dream.org (formerly Dream Corps).
In 2020, REFORM joined a broad bipartisan coalition to pass a package of effective supervision reforms aimed at revamping Michigan’s probation and parole systems. These reforms are expected to have significant and positive effects in Michigan by not only increasing success, stability, and safety in the community, but also saving Michigan taxpayers at least $29.6 million over 5 years.
In 2021, REFORM Alliance formed the Georgia Safety Coalition and worked with advocates in Georgia to improve the state’s supervision system. REFORM’s bill, SB105, which was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp, closes loopholes in Georgia law and creates a pathway to early termination for tens of thousands of Georgians on probation. Thank you to our partners, including the Georgia Justice Project and RestoreHER, among many others.
In 2021, REFORM Alliance worked in partnership with New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) to evaluate New York’s parole system and establish effective and sensible solutions. The Less is More Act was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul and resulted in the immediate release of nearly 200 people held for technical parole violations on Rikers Island. The legislation will impact more than 35,000 people on parole across the state.
In 2020, REFORM Alliance helped pass one of the first bills in the country to expand remote reporting for people on supervision. The legislation also reduced unnecessary and complex conditions and limited never-ending and counterproductive supervision terms.
In 2021, REFORM Alliance partnered with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and organizations across the Commonwealth to support the passage of HB 2038. Thanks to the legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam, the state’s probation population will be reduced significantly, recidivism will be curbed, wasteful spending will be cut, and supervision will become more effective and efficient. Taken together these reforms will increase community safety and workforce stability.
In 2021, REFORM Alliance helped secure bipartisan legislation that will lower Mississippi’s disproportionately high imprisonment rate, reduce the state’s excessive prison population, and make Mississippi communities safer. Thank you to our partners FWD.us Mississippi, Empower Mississippi and Americans for Prosperity Mississippi, among others.
In 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, REFORM worked alongside a statewide coalition to increase pathways to freedom by broadening compassionate release and instituting public health emergency credits. In 2021, we supported legislation that would have eliminated harmful and wasteful mandatory minimums for several non-violent drug and non-violent property crimes. Although the legislation passed through the Assembly and the Senate, it did not become law. However, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal implemented most of the recommendations through an administrative directive, thereby safely reducing incarceration and providing a fair pathway to freedom and a meaningful second chance. Thank you to our partners the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, ACLU of New Jersey, and Salvation and Social Justice, among others.
REFORM is working to transform Pennsylvania’s supervision system, partnering with a strong bipartisan coalition, the Pennsylvania Safety Coalition, to safely reduce the number of people on probation, increase the use of incentives and early termination for probation, limit incarceration for technical violations, and lessen the burden of probation on individuals and their families.
In 2022, the legislature unanimously passed REFORM-authored legislation to authorize remote reporting and to ensure probation officers take into consideration an individual’s other obligations when setting up required supervision meetings.
In early 2023, we formed the Illinois Secure Communities Coalition to champion SB 423. As a result of our efforts, the bill received overwhelming bipartisan support, including unanimous passage by the Illinois House. By the summer, the bill was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2024 and is expected to benefit a total of 260,000 people and save $16.5 million over five years, while helping 27,000 people exit the system.