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National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation Overview

SCJN National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation 

NACDL’s State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN), conference call series entitled National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation (NACDL), feature an expert(s) on a variety of criminal justice issues. Key to the calls is informing participants of any legislation or litigation pending that seeks progressive reform on the issue, and serves as a call to action for advocates interested in developing strategies for legislative reform or litigious efforts in their jurisdictions. 

If you have ideas for future calls, please send an email to scjn@nacdl.org.

Upcoming Call

In 2003, The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed in Congress with unanimous support from both parties.  The act was to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.”

Via the act, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission was created and charged with developing draft standards for the elimination of prison rape.

Please join the National Advocacy Call on Developing Legislation on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 12:00 pm ET as we welcome PREA Commissioner Brenda V. Smith. Ms. Smith will lead us in a discussion on the 10th Anniversary of the passage of PREA and the role state advocates should take in ensuring the guidelines are adhered to in their respective jurisdictions. To RSVP please send a message to scjn@nacdl.org.


Brenda V. Smith teaches in the Community Economic Development Law Clinic. She is also the Project Director for the Project on Addressing Prison Rape.  In November, 2003, Professor Smith was appointed to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission by the United States House of Representatives Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12th). Professor Smith is an expert on issues at the intersection of gender, crime, class and sexuality. She is widely published and received the Emmalee C. Godsey Research Award for her scholarship.  Recent articles include, Uncomfortable Places, Close Spaces: Theorizing Female Correctional Officers’ Sexual Interactions with Men and Boys in Custody, 59 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 1690 (2012) and After Dothard: Female Correctional Workers and the Challenge to Employment Law, 8 FIU L.Rev. 469 (2013). In addition to teaching in the WCL Clinical Program, Professor Smith also teaches a seminar on Women, Crime and the Law.

Previous Calls

September 2013 

On September 10, 2013, we celebrated Bail Reform Month with the Justice Policy Institute and the Pretrial Justice Institute. The presenters included Michael Jones, a senior project associate for PJI, and Spike Bradford, who serves as JPI's juvenile justice expert. The recording of the call will be available shortly.

June 2013 

On Wednesday, June 5, 2013 our advocacy call featured a discussion on sentencing and re-sentencing JLWOP cases post Miller featuring, LaShunda Hill, state strategist for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth and Marc Bookman, Director of Atlantic Center for Capital Representation. You can listen to the call here.

March 2013  

March’s advocacy call focused on unmanned aircraft commonly known as drones, and featured a discussion of pending legislation across the country. The panel included, Mason Clutter, National Security and Privacy Counsel to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Steven R. Morrison, assistant professor at the University of North Dakota School of Law, and Christopher Calabrese the legislative counsel for privacy-related issues in the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office (WLO). 

You may listen to the recording of this call here and view NACDL Federal draft drone legislation. Please also visit NACDL's new Domestic Drones Information Center 

February 2013 

February’s advocacy call was Wednesday February 13 at 12:00 p.m. EST and focused on legislation that passed around the country on medical and personal use marijuana.  In particular the call focused on the state responses based on federal policies.  An audio recording of the call is available here Go to audio 

January call 2013 Our January National Advocacy Call on Developing Legislation on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at  featured a discussion about death penalty moratorium legislation pending in several states. Jeremy Schroeder, National Strategy Counsel with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty discussed efforts in Maryland, Colorado, Deleware, Kansas, and Montana to abolish the death penalty.  For more information about NCADP please visit the website at www.ncadp.org.

Bail Reform Wednesday September 19, 2012 12:00-1:00 pm EDT  

This Advocacy Call featured a discussion on bail, for-profit bail bonding and legislation and advocacy efforts behind the issue. Presenters were Professor Shima Baradaran's, professor at BYU whoseteaching and scholarship focuses on criminal law, criminal procedure, and international law, Professor Adele Bernhard a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Pretrial Justice Task Force and its Problem-Solving Courts Task Force and Spike Bradford  Senior Research Associate at the Justice Policy Initiative. 

September 12, 2012 National Advocacy Call on Developing Legislation (NACDL) a discussion on Prison-Based Gerrymandering 

Featured a discussion on prison-based gerrymandering. Our presenters were Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative and Maryland Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk. Please visit www.prisonersofthecensus.org for more information about prison-based gerrymandering. Please find language for model bill here. 

Bail Reform Advocacy Call Audio 



Reports and Journal Articles 

Model Legislation 

National Advocacy Call on Developing Legislation (NACDL) a discussion on Discovery Reform. 

In 1963, the Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland required prosecutors to provide evidence to the defense that could potentially save a client from a conviction and help discourage prosecutorial misconduct. More and more cases, however, are being overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct. Witness the case of Mr. Juan Smith of New Orleans whose life sentence was recently overturned by the Supreme Court, primarily due to the fact that his conviction was based solely on eyewitness testimony. Another case in Texas was overturned after DNA evidence cleared Michael Morton, who spent 25 years in prison after being convicted of killing his wife. In Mr. Morton’s case, the prosecutor withheld evidence from the defense that would have in essence led them to another perpetrator.

Attorneys Ellen Yaroshefsky, (NY); Ian Friedman, (OH); and Brad Bannon (NC), presented on the January’s National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation (NACDL) for a discussion about discovery reform efforts around the country. Please see documents referenced in the call, as well as NACDL’s proposal on discovery reform. 

NACDL will be working on this issue extensively, so if you are interested in discovery reform in your jurisdiction please contact Angelyn for additional information on how to get involved at afrazer@nacdl.org or (202) 465-7642.


November's Conversation 

On Wednesday November 16, 2011 from 2:00-3:00 pm (EST), our National Advocacy Call on Developing Legislation featured Lori Albin, Director of National Juvenile Justice Network’s Fiscal Policy Center. The call was designed to provide advocates with an understanding of state budget processes.

September’s Conversation 

On Wednesday, September 21, 2011, from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. NACDL's State Criminal Justice Network resumed the National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation. The conversation focused on the Justice Policy Institute’s recent report, Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies.

Gaming the System explores how private prison companies may try to present themselves as just meeting existing demand for prison beds and responding to current market conditions, but they have in fact worked over the past decade to create markets for their product. As revenues of private prison companies have grown over the past decade, the companies have had more resources with which to build political power, and they have used this power to promote policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration. 


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