Giving Compass' Take:

• The Crime Report discusses recent reforms across the country which attempt to reduce incarceration, including issuing citations instead of pursuing arrests for lower-level offenses and overhauling some states' bail system.

• Early results are promising, with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh reporting a six percent decline in the state's jail population. Should nonprofit initiatives in the criminal justice sector be coordinating closer with policymakers in making sure the rates continue to trend in a positive direction?

• Another issue worth looking at is what happens after people are released from prison. This article explores.

Policies of prosecutors elected on progressive platforms around the U.S. show promise to reduce the nation’s incarceration totals, two experts told a gathering of state attorneys general.

Jeremy Travis of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation called “remarkable” and “stunning” a set of new policies announced by newly installed Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Krasner told his staff last month to offer shorter prison sentences in plea deals, decline to file marijuana possession and many prostitution charges, and explain case-by-case why taxpayers should pay thousands of dollars per year to incarcerate people.

Travis suggested that Krasner’s practices reflected some of the findings of a Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which he formerly headed. The project “seeks to understand the criminal justice response to lower-level offenses, from arrest to disposition.”

During a discussion of bail reform, Travis questioned why suspects charged with misdemeanors “should be put in jail [pretrial] if the typical sentence is non-custodial.”

Another panelist at the meeting, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, described the new prosecution trend in some cities as “smarter justice.”

Frosh noted that since 2013, police in his state have been empowered to issue citations instead of arresting people for many lower-level offenses, a change he said has “reduced the workload for judges, police and prosecutors.”

Read the full article about "smarter justice" and bail reforms across the U.S. by Ted Gest at The Crime Report.