Seeds of Liberation - Works alongside Arkansas' marginalized communities to create a just, equitable and empowering criminal justice system.

CURE - (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) - A membership organization that works hard to provide members with the information and tools necessary to help them understand the criminal justice system and to advocate for changes.

Prison Book Program - Prison Book Program mails books to people in prison to support their educational, vocational and personal development and to help them avoid returning to prison after their release. We also aim to provide a quality volunteer experience that introduces citizens to issues surrounding the American prison system and the role of education in reforming it.

Compassion Works for All - Compassion Works for All offers healing and hope by living and teaching compassion, especially to the disenfranchised and people in prison. 

Arkansas Advocates For Children & Families - The mission of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is to ensure that all children and their families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and to realize their full potential.

Equal Justice Initiative - The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

Arkansas Citizen First Congress - The Arkansas Citizens First Congress is a multi-issue and non-partisan coalition of organizations who work together for progressive changes in state policy. Coalition members come from all corners of the state and work on many different issues. At the Arkansas Legislature, the coalition members lobby together on a common agenda. They also watchdog the legislature and lobby against threats to progressive policy. The Arkansas Citizens First Congress has lobbied lawmakers at the Arkansas Legislature since 1999.

Campaign for Youth Justice - The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is a national initiative focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. The policy goals of CFYJ are:

  • To raise awareness about the negative impact of prosecuting youth in the adult criminal justice system as well as incarcerating youth in adult jails and prisons; 

  • To reduce the number of youth who are tried, sentenced, and incarcerated in the adult system, rather than adjudicated in the juvenile justice system; 

  • To decrease the harmful impact of trying youth in adult court; and 
  • To promote research-based, developmentally appropriate rehabilitative programs and services for youth as an alternative to the adult system.

National Conference of State Legislature (Juvenile) - Since 1975, NCSL has been the champion of state legislatures, who have helped states remain strong and independent by giving them the tools, information, and resources to craft the best solutions to difficult problems. They've fought against unwarranted actions in Congress and saved states more than $1 billion. They've conducted workshops to sharpen the skills of lawmakers and legislative staff in every state.


Criminal Behavior and the Brain: When Law and Neuroscience Collide, a symposium hosted by the Fordham Law Review and cosponsored by the Fordham Law School Neuroscience and Law Center. Deborah W. Denno, Foreword, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 399 (2016). Available at:

"The authors begin by asking how neuroscience evidence could be effectively applied in the context of sentencing. Their answer provides the article’s theme that neuroscience can be used to show how certain actions may result from developmental problems associated with the brain, like the effects of complex trauma on children. . . . ." CLICK TO READ MORE

The child abuse accommodation syndrome, by Roland C. Summit, M.D.  This article appeared in Child Abuse & Neglect Vol 7, pp. 177-193, 1983

"Child victims of sexual abuse face secondary trauma in the crisis of discovery.  Their attempts to reconcile their private experiences with the realities of the outer world are assaulted by the disbelief, blame, and rejection they experience from adults.  The normal coping behaviour of the child contradicts the entrenched beliefs and expectations typically held by adults, stigmatizing the child with charges of lying, manipulating or imagining from parents, courts, and clinicians.  Such abandonment by the very adults most cruci8al to the child's protection and recovery drives the child deeper into self-blame, self-hate, alienation, and revictimization....." CLICK TO READ MORE

 Extending Sentencing Mitigation for Deserving Young Adults  Kelsey B. Shust, Extending Sentencing Mitigation for Deserving Young Adults, 104 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 667 (2014).

"While considerable literature discusses sentencing policy for young offenders, this Comment focuses on the Supreme Court’s trio of categorical decisions to examine the justifications for a bright-line rule and, ultimately, to lend support for defendants’ abilities to seek out the mitigating force of youthfulness up to age twenty-five. By continuing to categorically exclude those over eighteen in homage to society’s traditional demarcation point of adulthood, the Court loses sight of the exceptionality of criminal punishment compared to other rights-allocating areas of the law, such as voting. Furthermore, setting a bright line at eighteen unjustly disregards offenders over eighteen who, in many instances, would likewise be deemed less responsible under the scheme of justifications the Court has set forth." CLICK TO READ MORE 

Young Adulthood As a Transitional Legal Category Science, Social Change, and Justice Policy    Elizabeth S. Scott, Richard J. Bonnie, and Laurence Steinberg, Young Adulthood as a Transitional Legal Category: Science, Social Change, and Justice Policy, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 641 (2016).

"In the past decade, much attention has focused on developmental brain research and its implications for the regulation of crime. Public and policy interest has been directed primarily toward juveniles. In light of recent research, courts and legislatures increasingly have rejected the punitive response of the 1990s and embraced a developmental approach to young offenders.1 Of particular importance in propelling this trend has been the framework offered by the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of Eighth Amendment opinions that have rejected harsh adult sentences for juveniles.2 These decisions, supported by adolescent brain research,3 rested on two empirically based principles: First, juvenile offenders, due to their developmental immaturity, typically are less culpable and, therefore, deserve less punishment than their adult counterparts. Second, because their criminal conduct is the product of immaturity, most juveniles have a greater potential to reform than do adults. " 

"More recently, advocates and some policymakers have argued that developmental research should shape the law’s response to young adult offenders.6 Over the past decade, developmental psychologists and neuroscientists have found that biological and psychological development continues into the early twenties, well beyond the age of majority."CLICK TO READ MORE

The General Assembly Proposed Bill to Amend Current Law:  Sentencing of a Person Under Twenty One Years of Age

American Bar Association - Death Penalty Due Process Review Project Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice; Report to the House of Delegates


State unveils redo of defendant mental exams - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 1, 2019, John Lynch