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The Council on Criminal Justice Task Force on Long Sentences is examining how long prison terms affect public safety, crime victims and survivors, incarcerated individuals and their families, communities, and correctional staff and developing recommendations that will strengthen public safety and advance justice.  

Guided by research and data, and informed by the experiences of victims and survivors of violent crimes and those who have been incarcerated, the Task Force is assessing 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 also is considering 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 also U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and Trey Gowdy, a long-time federal and state prosecutor who served four terms in the House of Representatives. Joining them are 14 other members representing a broad range of experience and perspectives, including crime victims and survivors, formerly incarcerated people, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, courts, and corrections. 

Launched in spring 2022, the Task Force on Long Sentences follows CCJ’s Violent Crime Working Group, which released a series of bulletins on strategies to address community violence and in January produced aroadmap of 10 essential actions that policymakers can take to reduce violence now.  

Task Force Members

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Trey Gowdy
Former US Representative
South Carolina 4th District
Co-Chair
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Sally Yates
Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General
Co-Chair
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Kathryn Bocanegra
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois Chicago
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Lisa D. Daniels
Founder
Darren B. Easterling Center for Restorative Practices
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Angela_Davis, WCL, faculty
Angela Davis
Professor
American University
Washington College of Law
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Amy Fettig
Executive Director
The Sentencing Project
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April Grayson
Statewide Coordinator
Young Women's Freedom Center
Sister Warrior's Freedom Coalition
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Timothy Head
Executive Director
Faith and Freedom Coalition
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Bernette Joshua Johnson
Chief Justice (ret.)
Louisiana Supreme Court
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Paul Larkin
John, Barbara & Victoria
Senior Legal Research Fellow
The Heritage Foundation
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Sam Lewis
Executive Director
Anti-Recidivism Coalition
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Chiquisha Robinson
Deputy Chief
Prisoner and Reentry Legal Services, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
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Anne Seymour
National Victim/Survivor Advocate
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Tarra Simmons
Executive Director
Civil Survival Project
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Bryan Stirling
Director
South Carolina Department of Corrections
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Benjamin Tucker
First Deputy Commissioner (Ret.)
New York Police Department
John M.4082 (2)
John Maki
Director
Task Force on Long Sentences

About the Art

The banner design was created by an adult in custody designer in the Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) Graphic Design program. The mission of OCE, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Corrections, is to promote public safety by providing adults in custody with work and training opportunities in a self-sustaining organization.

Supporters

Support for the Task Force comes from Arnold Ventures, the Ford Foundation, Southern Company Foundation, and Stand Together Trust, as well as #StartSmall, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and other CCJ general operating contributors.