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Following the kidnapping and murder
of six-year-old Adam Walsh, his father,
JohnWalsh, createdandhostedthe popular
Fox TV show, Americas Most Wanted
which proles at-large fugitives.8
The Reagan administration repeals
the Mental Health Systems Act and cuts
mental health funding by about 25%.9

Corrections Corporation of America
incorporates and launches its rst
detention center in 1984, opening the
private prison market and inuencing
the business of prisons.12
Drug Abuse Resistance Education
(D.A.R.E.) is foundedby the Los Angeles
Police Department to teach K-12
students to avoid drugs. Despite
D.A.R.E.s presence in75%of national
school districts, the programhas not
provenefective inpreventing drug use
among students; several districts across
the nationhave droppedthe program.13

The Atlantic Monthly publishes
inuential article Broken Windows,
theorizing that unaddressed crimes
in cities can lead to the degradation
of those cities. It claimed that even
brokenwindows vandalismor graf ti
crimes must be prosecutedbecause
they lead to more serious crimes.10
During an anti-drug tour, First Lady
Nancy Reagan rst uses the phrase
Just say no, when asked by a little girl
what to do if someone ofers her drugs.
By 1988, 12,000 schools nationwide
adopt the slogan.11

Congress passes the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of
1986. It established mandatory minimums
for drug offenders and imposes harsher
sentences for crack cocaine thanfor powder
cocaine, whichhas hada devastating efect on
minority populations who come into contact
with the criminal justice system.16

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 set
a drug-free America as a policy goal.18
The GEO Group, originally Wackenhut
Corporation, incorporates, creating a
multi-national private prison company
the second largest of its kind to operate
in the United States.19

Drug courts emerge as an alternative to
incarcerationwiththe intentionof clearing
court dockets, diverting drug users torehabilitative
treatment insteadof incarceration.20
COPS is released on FOXs primetime lineup.21
One year later, Law and Order airs its pilot
episode, creating a new stream of popular
culture surrounding crime, police work, the
legal process, and the criminal justice system.22

The FBI announces the Safe Streets
Violent Crime Initiative, whichcreated
a series of specializedgang task forces
around the country.25
The American Bail Coalition is
formedtopromote the use of for-prot
commercial bail bondsmen in the
criminal justice system.26

Washingtonstate passes Initiative 593,
the nations rst three strikes law,
which mandates life without parole
for defendants convicted of certain
felonies for the third time.27

The Central Park Jogger case and other cases
involving youth sparked speculation about
youth violence, leading to the birth of the term
super predator and predictions of heinous
violence among youth inthe early 1990s. The
predictions did not play out; nonetheless, laws
enabling easier prosecutionof youth as adults
were implemented inmany states.17

As part of Congress 1998 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the
Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program
(JAG) is administered by the U.S. Department of
Justices Bureau of Justice Assistance to provide
federal funding primarily aimed at combating
drug abuse and drug traf cking to state and local
policing jurisdictions.33

Two Columbine, Colorado, high
school students shoot and kill 12
students, a teacher and injure several
others before committing suicide.
The massacre sparked controversy
over school safety, ushering
metal detectors and school
resource of cers into
many schools.34

In Atkins v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme
Court decided that the death penalty
for mentally retarded individuals is
a Constitutional violation.38

no data
Aschool shooting inSandy Hook, Connecticut,
has renewed the guncontrol debate with the
NRA pushing pro-policing and pro-gun
policies while former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle
Giffords, victim of the 2011 Tucson, AZ,
shooting announces the formation of a
political action committee, Americans for
Responsible Solutions, to counteract the
influence of the gun lobby.


In United States v. Booker, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that when imposing a sentence,
federal judges must only consider the facts
admitted or proven beyond a reasonable
doubt at trial. This ended judges ability to
impose harsher sentences due to federal
sentencing guidelines.40

Jena High School in Louisiana makes
major headlines over a prosecutor allegedly
targeting students on racial grounds.41
The AdamWalsh Child Protection and Safety
Act of 2006 expands sex ofender registries
andincreases federal punishments for crimes
against children.42

Californias Proposition21, the Gang Violence
and Juvenile Crime Prevention Initiative
revamps the states juvenile justice systemby
increasing the prosecutors authority to choose
whether or not a childis triedas anadultat
the cost of juvenile judges discretion.35
The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention
Act (Proposition 34) passes in California,
permanently changing state law to allow rst
and second-time drug violators to receive
treatment rather than imprisonmentthe
nations most ambitious drug rehabilitation
treatment experiment.36

The World Trade Centers towers in New
York City and the Pentagon in Washington,
D.C. are attacked by three hijacked airplanes,
with a fourth maneuvered into crash-landing
in Pennsylvania. These attacks lead to the
creation of the Department of Homeland
Security, which is dedicated to fighting
terrorism domestically and the increased
enforcement of immigration laws.37

InGrahamv. Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court rules
that juveniles cannot be sentencedto life without
parole for crimes inwhichno one is killed.45
Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was passed to reduce
the 100 to 1 disparity between crack and powder
cocaine possessions laws to 18 to 1. Mandatory
minimum sentencing around crack cocaine
possession convictions is also eliminated. This
has tremendous implication in reducing racial
disparities in the criminal justice system.

no data
In Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court ruled
that juveniles convicted of murder cannot be
sentenced to life in prison without parole.46
The fatal shooting of teenager Treyvon Martin by
a local vigilante sparked a national outcry against
potentially racist motivations in the way the case
was handled and led to a re-examination of
Floridas Stand Your Ground law, a gun policy
promoted by the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC).
During the November elections, voters in state
elections in Colorado and Washington state
support the legalization of marijuana while
Massachusetts voters allowed for the use of
medical marijuana. California revised its three
strikes law so that third strike misdemeanors
do not qualify a 25-to-life sentence.

In Ewing v. California, the U.S. Supreme
Court upholds three strikes laws.39

Justice Policy Institute founded to report
on justice reforms and reduce the justice
systems reliance on incarceration.32

Prop 215 passed in California legalizing
medical marijuana. This is the first in
a string of California initiatives intended
to reduce penalties and increase treatment
for drug use.31

President Clintonsigns the Violent Crime Control
andLawEnforcement Act of 1994whichgranted
funding to police departments for increased
personnel and presence on the streets, directly
increasing the police presence by over 100,000
in the rst two years following passage,28 and
gave federal grants tostates that provedtheir laws
ledtoinmates serving at least 85percent of their
sentence.29 Asectionof this legislation, the Violence
Against Women Act, allocated $1.6 billion to
enhance investigationandprosecutionof violent
crimes against women. Another section, the
WetterlingAct, requiredstates toinstate registries
for sex ofenders andcrimes against children.
The American Bail Coalition joins forces with
the American Legislative Exchange Council.30

The Mental Health Systems Act signed
into law to provide funding for community
mental health programs in the face of
deinstitutionalization of mental health
CNN begins 24/7 news coverage, leading to
the increase of media inuencing policy. 6

President Nixon creates the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) and declares an all
out global war on the drug menace, officially
endorsing a wave of legislative and police
actionthat beganunder President Eisenhower.
Forty-nine percent of the U.S. federal prison
population is now directly related to the
War on Drugs, and costs the country more
than one trillion dollars.1
New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller introduces
legislation to stifen drug ofense sentences.
The laws passed determined that possession
convictions would yield a minimum of 15
years to life.2

no data
Deinstitutionalization of mental
health hospitals began with the
implementation of the Lanterman-
Petris-Short Act in California,
with all other states following suit
by the early 1990s.7


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Gregg v.
Georgia that capital punishment was not
unconstitutional and reinstated states
ability to sentence and execute. This
contributed greatly to the incarceration
and sentencing practices in the 1980s.4

Congress passes the Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, which
prevents youth involvement in the justice
systemthrough a unied national program.
It also establishes the Of ce of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention.3
1 Claire Suddath, Brief History: The War onDrugs, Time Magazine, March25, 2009. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1887488,00.html. 2 The NewYork Times, Times Topics: Rockefeller Drug Laws, April 2011. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/d/drug_abuse_and_traf c/rockefeller_drug_laws/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=rockefeller%20drug%20laws&st=cse. 3 Of ce of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Authorizing Legislation, October 28, 2011. www.ojjdp.gov/about/legislation.html 4Lesley Oelsner, Supreme Court Ends DeathPenalty BaninCases of Murder; Executions May Resume Soon: Justices Agree to Decide Whether Capital Punishment May Be Imposed onRape Charge Supreme Court Lifts BanonStates Use of the DeathPenalty for Murder, NewYork Times, October 5, 1976. 5Jimmy Carter: Mental HealthSystems Act Remarks
on Signing S. 1177 Into Law, October 7, 1980. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=45228. 6 Tony Silvia, CNN: The Origins of the 24-Hour, International News Cycle. Global News: Perspectives on the Information Age, (Blackwell Publishing, 2001) 45f; Brookings Institute, The CNNEfect: How24-Hour News Coverage Afects Government Decisions and Public Opinion, Event Summary, 2002, http://www.brookings.edu/events/2002/01/23media-journalism. 7 E. Fuller Torrey, Out of the Shadows: Confronting Americas Mental Illness Crisis (NewYork: John Wiley &Sons, 1997). 8 Associated press, Questions linger in AdamWalsh probe, msnbc.com, December 19, 2008. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28314608/. 9 Chris Koyanagi, Learning fromHistory: Deinstitutionalization of People with Mental Illness
as Precursor to Long-TermCare Reform, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 2007, 8. 10 George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson, Broken Windows: The police and neighborhood safety, The Atlantic, March 1982. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1982/03/broken-windows/4465/. 11 Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Nancy Reagan Drug Abuse Center Benet Dinner in Los Angeles, California, January 4, 1989. Online by Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1989/010489a.htm. 12 U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons, Private Prisons in the United States, 1999: An Assessment of Growth, Performance, Custody, Standards, and Training Requirements (Washington, DC, March 2000). http://www.bop.gov/news/research_projects/published_reports/pub_vs_priv/oreprcg2000.pdf. 13 Drug Abuse Resistance Education,
What is D.A.R.E.? accessed November 28, 2012, http://www.dare.com/home/Curriculum/what_is_DARE.asp; Edward Shepard, The Economic Costs of D.A.R.E., Research Paper Number 22, Institute of Industrial Relations, November 2011, accessed November 28, 2012, http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/DAREnalRP.pdf. 14 U.S. Library of Congress Thomas, Bill Summary &Status 98th Congress (1983 - 1984) H.J.RES.648 CRS Summary, April 2011. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d098:HJ00648:@@@D&summ2=m&. 15 Radley Balko, Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America (Washington D.C.: Cato Institute, 2006). http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/balko_whitepaper_2006.pdf p. 26 16 Eric E. Sterling, Esq., Drug Laws and Snitching: APrimer, 2011. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/primer/. 17 Jesenia Pizarro and others, Juvenile
Super-Predators inthe News: AComparisonof Adult andJuvenile Homicides, Journal of Criminal Justice andPopular Culture, 14(2007); HowardSnyder, Not This Time: AResponse tothe Warnings of the Juvenile Superpredator, ResearchNotes Corrections TodayArticles, April 2007. 18Eric E. Sterling, Esq., Drug Laws andSnitching: APrimer, 2011. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/primer/. 19The GEOGroup, Inc., Historic Milestones, accessedNovember 28, 2012, http://www.geogroup.com/history. 20Of ce of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Courts, April 2011. http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/enforce/drugcourt.html. 21 IMDB: The Internet Movie Database, COPS, July2011. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096563/. 22 IMDB: The Internet Movie Database, LawandOrder, April 2011. http://www.imdb.com/nd?s=all&q=Law+and+Order. 23Linda Deutsch,
Cameraman Describes King Beating - Trial: George Hollidays videotape again is at the center of the case against four LAPDof cers. The defense says the missing rst minute of the incident is vital, Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1993. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-03-02/local/me-0_1_george-holliday. 24 The NewYork Times, Court TV, 1991-2007, In Photos, The NewYork Times, January 1, 2008. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/01/court-tv-1991-2007-in-photos/. 25 The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Violent Gang Task Forces, http://www.fi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/gangs/violent-gangs-task-forces. 26 The American Bail Coalition, Newsletter, October 2010, http://www.americanbailcoalition.com/documents/ABC_Newsletter.pdf. 27 Paul Wright, Three Strikes Racks EmUp, Journal of Prisoners on Prisons 6, no. 2 (1995): 4. 28 David Johnston and Tim
Weiner, Seizing the Crime Issue, ClintonBlurs Party Lines, NewYorkTimes, August 1, 1996. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/01/us/seizing-the-crime-issue-clinton-blurs-party-lines.html?scp=1&sq=COPS+Crime+Bill&st=nyt. 29WilliamJ. Sabol, Katherine Rosich, Kamala MallikKane, DavidP. Kirk, GlennDubin, the Inuences of Truth-in-Sentencing Reforms onChanges inStates Sentencing Practices andPrisonPopulations (Washington, DC: UrbanInstitute Justice Policy Center, 2002). http://www.urban.org/uploadedPDF/410470_FINALTISrpt.pdf. 30 The AmericanBail Coalition, Newsletter, October 2010, http://www.americanbailcoalition.com/documents/ABC_Newsletter.pdf. 31 Drug Policy Organization, California Overview, 2011. http://www.drugpolicy.org/california. 32Justice Policy Institute, About: JPIs Work, 2011. http://www.justicepolicy.org/About1.html. 33 Department
of Justice, Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) ProgramFact Sheet, 2005, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/pdf/JAG_Fact_Sheet.pdf, p.1. 34 The Columbine Generation: Adecade later, the school shooting is still causing collateral damage, Newsweek, March 28, 2009. http://www.newsweek.com/2009/03/28/the-columbine-generation.html. 35 Jennifer Taylor, Californias Proposition21: ACase of Juvenile Injustice, SouthernCalifornia LawReview, no. 75 (2002): 983-1020. 36 Michael Welch, Corrections: ACritical Approach (NewYork: McGrawHill, 2004). 444 37 Michael Grunwald, Terrorists Hijack 4 Airliners, Destroy World Trade Center, Hit Pentagon; Hundreds Dead:Bush Promises Retribution; Military Put onHighest Alert, WashingtonPost, September 12, 2001. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2001/09/12/AR2005033107980.html. 38 Atkins v. Virginia,
536 U.S. 304(2002). 39Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11 (2003). 40United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220(2005). 41 Todd Lewan, Locals Dispute Growing Story of Jena 6, WashingtonPost, September 24, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/24/AR2007092400348.html. 42 Of ce of Sex Ofender, Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending,Registering, and Tracking, Legislative History, accessed November 28, 2012, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/smart/legislation.htm. 43 National Reentry Resource Center, Second Chance Act, accessed November 28, 2012, http://www.nationalreentryresourcecenter.org/about/second-chance-act. 44KeithRichburg, N.Y. Governor, Lawmakers Agree To SoftenDrug Sentencing Laws, March28, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/27/AR2009032702834.html. 45 Grahamv. Florida, 560U.S. ___ (2010).
President Bush signs the Second Chance Act of
2007, which increases the programs that people
have access to in prison and reforms the re-entry
process to give those released a second chance
at success.43
The Great Recession hits U.S. nancial markets
leading to government bail outs of major companies
in the banking and automobile industries. State
budgets are strained across the nation causing
a re-examination of correctional spending.
The 98th U.S. Congress passes and President
Reagan signs the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984
which abolishes the federal parole system while
still providing a supervised release program for
sentences longer than one year. This greatly
affects the number of people in prison.14
The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984
permits policing agencies to seize assets, such
as homes, cars and personal nances, incurred
following drug-related arrests. Seized property
was often used by police departments to buy
vehicles, buildings, equipment and to run
Rodney King is brutally beaten by four white
Los Angeles Police Department ofcers after
a car chase. An amateur video of the event was
slipped to the media, exposing police brutality
and starting a campaign to expose police
practices. The ofcers were acquitted, resulting
in race riots in Los Angeles and the subsequent
deaths of 50 people.23
truTV, originally CourtTV, is formed as a network
dedicated to live trial coverage. The network gets
its start covering the Menendez Brothers and O.J.
Simpson murder trials, features shows such as
Homicide: Life on the Street, and Forensic
Files. It eventually introduces controversial,
tough-on-crime personalities like Nancy Grace
to the public.24


These numbers show how many people
were in state or federal prisons
for each year from 1970 2011. 1970 2011.

New York state lawmakers eliminate
mandatory minimum sentences for first-
time drug ofenders, efectively dismantling
the 36-year-old Rockefeller drug laws.44