Reconsidering Incarceration New Directions for Reducing Crime

Reconsidering Incarceration

Overview

Little empirical study had been done to confirm or refute the effectiveness of incarceration in reducing crime rates when America began its historic reliance on prisons in the 1970s. Today, conversely, policymakers are faced with a large, complex, and sometimes contradictory body of research. This paper seeks to help officials make sense of this information and offers an up-to-date understanding of what works best. It also examines research on several of the other factors that might be developed as part of an expanded notion of public safety. Informed by this more inclusive understanding of current research, it suggests that effective public safety strategies should move away from an exclusive focus on incarceration to embrace other factors associated with low crime rates in a more comprehensive policy framework for safeguarding citizens.

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Photo by Lucy Nicholson (REUTERS)

People in Jail and Prison in Spring 2021

Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) researchers collected data on the number of people in local jails and state and federal prisons throughout 2020 and into spring 2021. Vera researchers estimated the incarcerated population using a sample of approximately 1,600 jail jurisdictions, 50 states, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service (U ...

Publication
  • Jacob Kang-Brown, Chase Montagnet, Jasmine Heiss
June 07, 2021
Publication