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Incarceration

State Responses to Mass Incarceration

June 2011

Researchers have devoted considerable attention to mass incarceration, specifically its magnitude, costs, and collateral consequences. In the face of economic constraints, strategies to reduce correctional populations while maintaining public safety are becoming a fiscal necessity. This panel will present strategies that states have undertaken to reduce incarceration rates while balancing taxpayer costs with ensuring public safety.

Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better: Lessons from Community Courts

April 2011

Change doesn't come easy, particularly within an institution as large and complex as the criminal justice system. Greg Berman, Director of the Center for Court Innovation, offered lessons from several efforts to make reform stick in criminal justice settings. In particular, he focused on the development of community courts — experimental court projects that are attempting to reduce both crime and incarceration in dozens of cities across the U.S. and around the world.

Less Prison, More Police, Less Crime: How Criminology Can Save the States from Bankruptcy

April 2010

Professor Lawrence Sherman explains how policing can prevent far more crimes than prison per dollar spent. His analysis of the cost-effectiveness of prison compared to policing suggests that states can cut their total budgets for justice and reduce crime by reallocating their spending on crime: less prison, more police.

Going Home (or Not): How Residential Change Might Help Former Offenders Stay Out of Prison

October 2011

Dr. Kirk discusses how Hurricane Katrina affected ex-prisoners originally from New Orleans and their likelihood of returning to prison. Kirk also discussed potential strategies for fostering residential change among ex-prisoners, focusing specifically on parole residency policies and the provision of public housing vouchers.

Benefit-Cost Analysis for Crime Policy

February 2011

How do we decide how to allocate criminal justice resources in a way that minimizes the social harms from both crime and policy efforts to control crime? How, for that matter, do we decide how much to spend on the criminal justice system and crime control generally, versus other pressing needs? These questions are at the heart of benefit-cost analysis.

Reforming New Orleans' Criminal Justice System: The Role of Data and Research

September 2012

With its criminal justice system in disarray following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans invited the Vera Institute of Justice to examine the city's court and jail operations. For five years, Vera has been tracking arrest-to-first-appearance time, custodial arrests versus summonses, the granting of pretrial release, and many other decision-making points. Based on analysis of these data, Vera is making policy recommendations to assist with the implementation of new procedures and to ensure performance monitoring.

Addiction, the Brain, and Evidence-Based Treatment

March 2012

The criminal justice system encounters and supervises a large number of drug abusing persons. Punishment alone is a futile and ineffective response to the problem of drug abuse. Addiction is a chronic brain disease with a strong genetic component that in most instances requires treatment. Involvement in the criminal justice system provides a unique opportunity to treat drug abuse disorders and related health conditions, thereby improving public health and safety.