Key Points
  • ALEC members have led efforts in the states to protect and enhance public safety, while simultaneously addressing overcriminalization and preventing unnecessary prison stays.
  • The historic FIRST STEP Act was driven by ALEC members who had seen the successes in the states of sound policies on prisoner reentry programs and reducing prison sentences for certain individuals not convicted of a crime of violence. It also highlighted the successes in the states on justice reinvestment and mandatory minimum sentencing reform.

The American Legislative Exchange Council is proud to be a leader on criminal justice reform. For over a decade, the ALEC task force on criminal justice has brought state legislators and stakeholders together for the purpose of driving sound criminal justice policies. ALEC members focus on new and innovative state policies that address overcriminalization, reform civil asset forfeiture, reform mandatory minimum sentences, reduce the rates of incarceration, reform policing, and help rehabilitate and restore individuals with a criminal history.


The ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force includes a diverse coalition of allies that offer research and experience to achieve the shared goal of a more fair and impartial criminal justice system. Notable members include Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), Prison Fellowship, Right on Crime, The ACU Foundation for Criminal Justice Reform, and the American Bail Coalition. In 2019, ALEC and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined forces on addressing the pervasiveness of burdensome fines and fees in the criminal justice system. A part of our work includes this New York Times op-ed discussing the impact of fines and fees on the lives of individuals. Over the last few years, ALEC and its members have led efforts in states such as Montana and Mississippi to pass laws addressing the issue of fines and fees and driver’s license suspensions.


ALEC members played an instrumental role in helping pass the historic FIRST STEP Act in 2018, which was modeled after successful criminal justice legislation passed in states such as Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Texas. In essence, this was the federal government’s effort to mimic the successful solutions that have been demonstrated in the laboratories of democracy. ALEC joined organizations such as the American Conservative Union, the ACLU, #cut50, and Right on Crime in driving support for the law. It was also based off of several ALEC model policies, including the Justice Safety Valve Act, the Resolution in Support of Justice Reinvestment, and the Resolution in Support of Reentry Programs.


ALEC members will continue to advance innovative ideas that improve lives and balance budgets. All criminal justice research and model policies are available on, and examples of work include the reports, “The Time to Hesitate is Through: The Number of Laws Criminalizing Innocent Conduct is a Touch Too Much”, “The Latest Trends of Asset Forfeiture Transparency and Juvenile Justice”, and “2016: A Successful Year for Criminal Justice Reform and Path to the Future.”


+ All Criminal Justice Publications

Model Policies

  • Child Protection Investigations Reform Act Final

    A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to notifying a person accused of child abuse or neglect of the person’s rights in connection with an investigation conducted by the Department of Family and Protective Services [or replace with appropriate name of state child welfare agency]. BE IT ENACTED BY…

  • Resolution in Support of a Criminal Justice Ombudsman Program Final

    Model Resolution WHEREAS, when there is a law enforcement related shooting or in-custody death, a police department conducting its own investigation or appointing another police department in the region to do so only leads to a potential conflict of interest and undermines community trust in the process. An independent entity…

  • Fines and Fees Reporting Act Final

    Model Policy 1. Purpose. Under municipal, county and state law, governmental entities can impose criminal and civil fines and fees. This authority can be misused to unjustly generate revenue. It is the responsibility of state legislators to monitor the use of fines and fees to ensure that they…

  • Resolution on Faith-Based Programming Final

    Model Resolution Whereas, [insert state] is committed to improving the lives of those serving their sentences in correctional facilities and upholds the First Amendment right concerning freedom of religion; and Whereas, access to rehabilitative programming while incarcerated contributes to a safe and constructive correctional culture and successful reentry; and Whereas,…

  • Resolution in Support of Enhancing Police Officer Training, Wellness, and Support Mechanisms Final

    Model Resolution WHEREAS, basic officer training requirements vary widely, ranging from 404 hours in Georgia to slightly more than 1,000 in Hawaii; and WHEREAS, a Department of Justice report examining the content of police training in the U.S. found a greater focus on physical and technical skills than on human…

  • Resolution in Support of Police Data Transparency Final

    Model Resolution WHEREAS, police officers fulfill one of the most challenging and important roles in our society, carrying out their mission to serve and protect all Americans even at great risk to themselves, and, though the vast majority of officers perform exceptionally, transparency and accountability are valuable both to promote…

+ All Criminal Justice Model Policies

Task Forces

Criminal Justice

Currently, nearly one in every 100 American adults is behind bars and once released from prison more than four in…

Press Releases

+ All Criminal Justice Press Releases