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.”


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Model Policies

  • Resolution Supporting the Preservation of the Existing Nuclear Fleet and Deployment of Advanced Nuclear Technologies Final

    Model Resolution WHEREAS, The 93 nuclear reactors in 28 states are an economic, environmental and fiscal powerhouse for the United States of America, employing 100,000 skilled workers and providing clean electricity to nearly 20 percent of the nation’s homes and businesses, which amounts to more than half of all clean …

  • Statement of Principles on Policing and Community Engagement Final

    The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is strongly committed to expanding opportunity for all, understanding that no individual should feel threatened or be treated differently based on the color of their skin or ethnic background. Fairness, justice, equal protection and safety within our criminal justice system, and in communities, are …

  • Resolution on the Use of Virtual Hearings and Reporting Final

    WHEREAS, when defendants fail to appear in court and a warrant issues for their arrest, they often do not have an easy and simple way to get back on the court’s docket without being rearrested or taken back into custody; WHEREAS, missing a meeting with a probation or parole officer …

  • DUI Assessment & Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Final

    Section 1 If the person has two (2) or more prior Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions, the court shall order the person to undergo an assessment that uses a standardized evidence-based instrument performed by a provider to determine whether the person has a diagnosis for alcohol and/or drug dependence …

  • Resolution on Over Criminalization and Pandemics Final

    WHEREAS, epidemics and pandemics threaten public health and well-being, and thus justify expansions of the police power[1] that, in ordinary circumstances, would be intolerable infringements on individual liberty; WHEREAS, these expansions of power are nevertheless subject to reasonable limitations to ensure that government is no larger than necessary …

  • ALEC Model Resolution on Improving Community Supervision Policies and Practices Final

    ALEC Model Resolution on Improving Community Supervision Policies and Practices WHEREAS, probation dates back to England in the Middle Ages and stemmed from a public desire for alternatives for many offenses to harsh punishments by the King such as flogging and mutilation, and still serves …

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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

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