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State Criminal Justice Network

NACDL’s unique State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) provides a medium to exchange information, share resources, and develop strategies for promoting rational and humane criminal justice policies. In addition, it seeks to educate the general public about the many issues that influence, and policies that affect the criminal justice system. As a result, the Network does not require membership in the organization.

To join the Network, go to

What is the State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN)?

The State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) includes representatives from NACDL state affiliates, the defense bar, judges, policymakers, advocates and individuals, all working to promote progressive criminal justice reform in their jurisdictions. 

Through the SCJN, NACDL seeks to:

  • Facilitate communication on substantive issues and advocacy strategies among legislative contacts across the country;
  • Create national momentum and attention to high-priority criminal justice reform initiatives; and
  • Provide resources and support in the form of legislative action alerts, legislative tracking, model legislation, news updates, events, and more!

Post questions, share events and job opportunities, and gain valuable insight from fellow state criminal justice advocates. A newsletter is disseminated monthly via email to provide state legislative updates, new reports and other resources, action alerts, job opportunities, upcoming events, and more.

Join the Network

Programs and Initiatives

Upcoming Event: On Thursday, January 27th at 4:00pm ET, NACDL is partnering with the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD), Gideon’s Promise and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) to host Defenders Becoming DAs: Unpacking the Tension in Our Community, a conversation about public defense, elected prosecutors, and the power to transform the criminal legal system. The discussion will feature Professor Angela J. Davis, Distinguished Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law; Akhi Johnson, Acting Director, Reshaping Prosecution, Vera Institute for Justice; Jonathan Rapping, Founder & President, Gideon’s Promise; and Manohar Raju, San Francisco Public Defender. 

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Race and the Criminal Legal System Discussion Series: This ongoing webinar series seeks to highlight how race intersects with various issues in the criminal legal system, navigating these racial disparities, and ways to advocate for change. Previous events have focused on issues around policing, pretrial practices, public defense, collateral consequences, and prosecution. Please check the webinar resources page for access to recordings of previous discussions updates regarding additional events.

See Recordings and Resources


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SCJN National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation: These webinars and teleconferences feature issue area experts and are designed to educate criminal defense lawyers and advocates across the country on a variety of criminal justice issues. 

Listen to National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation

State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) Newsletter: This monthly e-newsletter features a snapshot of NACDL's state criminal justice priorities, as well as, recent internal and external reports, information on upcoming events, webinars, current state legislative reform efforts, legislative tracking, action alerts and more!

SCJN Newsletter

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Featured Products


NACDL Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference: Every year, NACDL brings together advocates from around the country for our annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. This conference offers participants the opportunity to hear from experts on state criminal justice reform and the opportunity to network of like-minded advocates. The 2021 State Criminal Justice Network Conference was held as a live virtual event on August 18-20, 2021.  

More on SCJN Conference

Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award: The NACDL Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award recognizes an individual or group whose exceptional efforts have led to positive changes to reform a state criminal justice system. The award is presented each year at NACDL's Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. On August 19th, 2021, the 2021 Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award was presented to Illinois State Senator Robert J. Peters, Illinois State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr., and Illinois State Representative Justice Slaughter for ushering in the passage of the SAFE-T Act. 

Award Nomination Guidelines and Past Recipients 



NACDL State Advocacy Resources: See how NACDL can assist you in your legislative and advocacy efforts!

State Advocacy Resources

State Legislative Victories: Each year, NACDL’s goal is to highlight the various legislative victories in numerous jurisdictions. Legislative victories from 2021 will be available soon! 

Grassroots Mobilization: Find advocacy tools, guides, and services to get in contact and build relationships with your elected officials.

Grassroots Mobilization

State-Level Reports: A compilation of reports which focus on state-level policies across the country.

State Level Reports

Electronic Recording Project: Find statutes, legislation, and case law on the electronic recording of custodial interrogations in each state. 

Electronic Recording Project