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Harm Reduction Practice and Innovation in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in San Francisco

Executive Summary Amid a significant spike in deaths among individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco, including a rise in overdose deaths, expanded harm reduction practices and substance use treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown promising results in reducing death and harm from opioid use. The interventions include providing emergency shelters for higher-risk adults and […]

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Voters Support Reforming Systems of Incarceration, Probation, and Parole in the United States

Executive Summary American voters believe our legal system should prioritize helping and supporting people over incarcerating them—and probation and parole programs must be reformed to serve that function, new polling shows. Voters want fewer people in jails and prisons, and fewer people subject to surveillance and control by law enforcement. Instead, they want probation and […]

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Gunnigle Leads Maricopa County Attorney Race As Voters Trust Her On Priority Reforms

Executive Summary In the race for Maricopa County Attorney between Democrat Julie Gunnigle and Republican Allister Adel, both candidates have claimed the mantle of “reformer,” as polls consistently show broad support for policies that will reduce Arizona’s reliance on prisons and hold police officers accountable for misconduct. In the state’s most populous county, appearing to be the most “tough […]

Sample legislation on Probation

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON PROBATION Introduction This nation’s probation system was devised as an alternative to incarceration that permitted convicted individuals to remain in their communities while participating in rehabilitative interventions. By addressing the root causes of crime, targeted interventions were able to keep individuals out of jail on two fronts—by avoiding incarceration initially and reducing […]


Majority of Maricopa County Voters Don’t Support Prosecuting or Criminalizing Marijuana Possession

Executive Summary A new Data For Progress and The Justice Collaborative Institute poll shows that Maricopa County residents would be more likely to vote for a Maricopa County Attorney (head prosecutor) if she supported ending the prosecution of marijuana possession offenses, commuting sentences currently being served for marijuana possession, and expunging previously convicted possession convictions. […]


Texas Voters Support Community-Based Investments in Public Safety as an Alternative to Policing

Executive Summary In the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a powerful nationwide movement emerged calling to divert money from the police as a solution to police brutality and the systemic racism inherent in current policing methods. In the movement’s view, diverting money would mean passing local policies that take funds originally earmarked […]


Bipartisan Majority of Maricopa County Voters Want Prosecutor Candidates to Not Criminalize Abortion

Executive Summary A Data For Progress and The Justice Collaborative Institute poll shows a bipartisan majority of Maricopa County voters—including 71% of Democrats and 51% Republicans—are more likely to vote for a county attorney who pledges to not prosecute women for seeking an abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.  These results make clear that Maricopa County […]


We Can’t Be Free Until We Fully Abolish Slavery

Through a loophole in the 13th Amendment, governments and corporations profit from cheap, incarcerated labor. This analysis is part of our Discourse series. Discourse is a collaboration between The Appeal and The Justice Collaborative Institute. Its mission is to provide expert commentary and rigorous, pragmatic research especially for public officials, reporters, advocates, and scholars. The […]

Sexual Assault Victims Want Services Tailored to Their Needs

Executive Summary For decades, prosecutors and advocates strove to make the criminal legal system more victim-centered. This resulted in more money being funneled towards prosecutions and policing as well as laws that now require harsher penalties and more regular notifications for victims. But it has also produced, paradoxically, a downgrading of social services, counseling, medical […]

Voter Support for Federal Marijuana Reform Remains Strong

Executive Summary In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and classified marijuana under Schedule I, a designation reserved for drugs considered to be highly addictive and that have no accepted medical use. But the decision to classify marijuana alongside heroin and PCP (fentanyl and cocaine, for comparison, are classified under Schedule […]


Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Executive Summary Racial disparities in health and wellbeing are well documented. In 2003, the Institute of Medicine issued the landmark report Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, which connected racism in mortgage lending, access to housing, employment, and criminal justice to racial health disparities. This report and the World Health Organization’s 2008 […]

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The Case for Comprehensive Marijuana Reform – Policies & Public Opinion

Executive Summary In a national poll, we asked voters whether they support comprehensive marijuana reform that would legalize marijuana and begin to address the historic, intergenerational harms wrought by decades of racially disparate enforcement. We specifically asked about the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level […]

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The Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Department of Defense Priorities Are Popular With Voters

Executive Summary When voters are provided two options regarding cutting or maintaining current levels of defense spending and provided arguments for and against, they support a ten percent decrease by a 14 percentage point margin.  If defense spending was decreased by ten percent, healthcare (40 percent) and responding to the coronavirus pandemic (37) were the […]


The Case for Racism Response Funds – A Collective Response to Racist Acts

Through this mechanism, communities can accept accountability for the racism they allow to flourish by failing to disrupt it. This research and analysis is part of our Discourse series. Discourse is a collaboration between The Appeal, The Justice Collaborative Institute, and Data For Progress. Its mission is to provide expert commentary and rigorous, pragmatic research […]

The Role of Overdose Prevention Sites in Coronavirus Response

Executive Summary The coronavirus pandemic has compounded North America’s overdose crisis. Just in the United States, drug overdoses have already claimed nearly a half million lives since 1999. Now authorities across the country are reporting a surge in overdose deaths as part of the pandemic fallout, with fatality rates rising by 100% in some counties. […]


The Case For Universal Healthcare During A Pandemic

An overwhelming majority of Americans support the federal government paying all healthcare costs for the duration of the coronavirus emergency. This research and analysis is part of our Discourse series. Discourse is a collaboration between The Appeal, The Justice Collaborative Institute, and Data For Progress. Its mission is to provide expert commentary and rigorous, pragmatic […]

Rep. Rashida Tlaib: The Case For An Emergency Responder Corps

As the coronavirus crisis continues to expand, it is clear that America needs a robust assistance program for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and physically disabled, to ensure they have what they need to survive. The health, safety, and stability of all communities depend on it. This research and analysis is part of […]

Protecting Rural Jails From Coronavirus

Executive Summary Rural communities have certain traits that make them particularly vulnerable in a pandemic. On the whole, people living in rural regions are poorer, older, and less healthy. One in three rural counties has a poverty rate over 20%. More than half of all births at rural hospitals are covered by Medicaid. Rural communities […]

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Report: Emergency Action Plan

Executive Summary Forced in this moment to reflect on this new reality—and this new recognition of our shared vulnerability—the vast majority of Americans believe that many of our responses to this crisis have, so far, been woefully inadequate and left too many people behind. Indeed, while the virus poses a threat to us all, we […]


California’s Sheriffs Must Do More to Save Their Communities From the Ravages of Coronavirus

Executive Summary California has quickly become one of the epicenters for the coronavirus pandemic. To date, the state has one of the highest infection rates and over 500 deaths from the coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control currently predicts that the United States will see around 200,000 deaths even if citizens practice “social distancing,” which […]


California Prosecutors Must Do More To Protect Their Communities From COVID-19: Policies and Polling

Executive Summary In recent weeks, the humanitarian disaster that doctors and public health experts predicted has turned into reality: COVID-19 has reached prisons and jails in California and across the country, sparking outbreaks that threaten the lives of incarcerated people, staff, and surrounding communities. California’s elected prosecutors — the district attorney in each county — […]


When Every Sentence is a Possible Death Sentence: Public Defenders Speak From the Front Lines About COVID-19

Executive Summary Public defenders are tasked with the unenviable job of representing some of the most vulnerable people in society when they are accused of crimes with insufficient resources and limited public support. Premal Dharia, founder and director of the Defender Impact Initiative, said, “Public defenders are on the front lines of the devastation wrought by […]


Governors Must Use Clemency Powers to Slow the Pandemic

Executive Summary Nearly 3 in 4 Americans have now been ordered to stay home and remain indoors, while many states have ordered non-essential businesses to shutter.  These steps may seem drastic, but they are being taken in order to safeguard public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government actors who are truly serious about protecting people […]


California Voters Support Releasing People from Jails and Prisons to Protect Communities from COVID-19

Executive Summary We asked California voters if they support releasing people from California jails and prisons in response to the coronavirus threat, and found broad bipartisan support: 58 percent of Californians, including a majority of Republicans, support releasing anyone charged with an offense that does not involve a serious physical safety risk to the community. […]


Coronavirus and America’s Immigrant Detention Crisis

Executive Summary Today, tens of thousands of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are at risk of contracting the coronavirus because of the current punitive immigration enforcement regime in the United States. Amidst the calls for “self-isolation,” thousands of immigrants are herded into detention facilities, which, for all intents and purposes, are prisons, where we know […]

Reducing Excessive Prison Terms

Executive summary The U.S. is a world-leader in incarceration, and the unprecedented number of people serving decades-long and life sentences is a major reason for America’s outlier status. In recent years, despite an emerging bipartisan consensus around the need for criminal justice reform, there has been insufficient action to address people serving lengthy sentences who […]

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