The think tank the Council on Criminal Justice has established a "Task Force on Long Sentences" that is examining how long prison terms affect public safety, crime victims and survivors, prisoners and their families, communities, and correctional staff. The task force says it is developing recommendations that will strengthen public safety and advance justice. Based on research and data, and informed by the experiences of victims and survivors of violent crimes and those who have been incarcerated, the task force will assess the drivers of growth in the number of people sentenced to 10 years or more and the impact of such sentences on racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in the prison system.
It will look at ways to improve the post-release success of people serving long prison terms, most of whom return to the community. The task force is co-chaired by former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who was served as U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, Trey Gowdy, a long-time federal and state prosecutor who served four terms in the House of Representatives as a Republican from South Carolina. Joining them are 14 other members, including crime victims and survivors, former inmates, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and representatives of the law enforcement, courts, and corrections fields. Funders of the effort include Arnold Ventures, the Ford Foundation, Southern Company Foundation, Stand Together Trust, #StartSmall, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.