Mass Incarceration Task Force

In September 2015, the New York City Bar Association released a report on Mass Incarceration and announced the formation of a Task Force to examine ways to reduce mass incarceration in the United States.

In the report, the City Bar urges federal and state leaders “to make the reduction of mass incarceration a top priority” and calls on Congress and state legislatures to

  • repeal or reduce mandatory minimum sentencing provisions;
  • reduce the sentences recommended by sentencing guidelines and similar laws for non-violent offenses;
  • expand the sentencing alternatives to prison including drug programs, mental health programs and job training programs; and, in cases of incarceration, expand the availability of rehabilitative services, including counseling and educational opportunities, during and following incarceration so that individuals can successfully reenter society and avoid recidivism;
  • eliminate or reduce financial conditions of pretrial release;
  • provide opportunities for individuals with misdemeanor and non-violent felony convictions to seal those records to prevent employment and other discrimination;
  • and, in New York, enact legislation to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18 years old.

Over the last twenty years, the City Bar has been a key voice on the criminal justice issues implicated by the rising rate of incarceration and the post-release difficulties facing those who have served time in prison. To view the work of the Task Force on Mass Incarceration, click on the “Reports” tab on the left hand side of this page; to view reports and comments related to issues of mass incarceration authored by other City Bar committees, click here.

This Web page is intended as a resource on the topic, where relevant reports, legislative initiatives, data and other information relevant to the continuing debate on mass incarceration can be found.

mass incarceration

Report Press Release


Related Resources


Prisoners in 2015 – U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics (Dec. 2016)

Alternatives to Incarceration in the Eastern District of New York: The Pretrial Opportunity Program and The Special Options Services Program – Second Report to the Board of Judges, E.D.N.Y., U.S. Pretrial Services Agency (Aug. 2015)

Update: Changes in State Imprisonment Rates – Brennan Center for Justice (June 2016)

Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility – The Pew Charitable Trusts (2010)

Fact Sheet: Trends in U.S. Corrections – The Sentencing Project (updated Apr. 2015)

Of Interest

Criminal Justice, Police Reform and Civil Rights sectionaddresses the intersection of criminal laws, policing and racial justice, and contains information regarding City Bar reports and programming on those subjects.

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