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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.

Recent Changes in Corrections and Reentry: Thoughts from Two Leaders in the Field

August 2019

What changes are you seeing in corrections and reentry?
Terri McDonald, chief probation officer, Los Angeles County Probation Department and John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections talk about recent changes in corrections and reentry. Wetzel elaborates on what the Pennsylvania DOC is facilitating with housing and how it individualizes its reentry programs. McDonald remarks on Los Angeles County’s systems approach to reentry and the idea of treating the whole person. 

Evaluating Reentry Programs Using Data and Science

August 2019

How do you use data and science to measure program success?
John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Grant Duwe, Ph.D., director of research and evaluation, Minnesota Department of Corrections explain how their agencies evaluate programs using data and science. Duwe details how the most effective programs provided by the Minnesota DOC have been those that focus on known risk factors for recidivism. 

Reentry Discussion: Overcoming Challenges When Leaving Incarceration

August 2019

Alix McLearen, Ph.D., acting assistant director, Reentry Services Division, Federal Bureau of Prisons and John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections discuss programs and services that their agencies offer to help individuals overcome the challenges encountered when leaving incarceration. These various programs and services address the individuals’ needs in areas such as physical and mental health, addiction, education, vocation, and life skills. 

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.

Research on Returning Offender Programs and Promising Practices

It’s a rare event to have so many influential parts of the government convened in one room, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to address you today.

My name is David Muhlhausen and I am the director of the National Institute of Justice, which is the research, development, and evaluation arm of the Department of Justice.

I’ve also been recently appointed by the Attorney General to be the Executive Director of the President’s Federal Interagency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry.

Alternative Sentencing Policies for Drug Offenders

June 2009

The panel presentations from the 2009 NIJ Conference are based on an NIJ-sponsored evaluation of the effectiveness of Kansas Senate Bill 123, which mandates community-based drug abuse treatment for drug possession by nonviolent offenders in lieu of prison. 

Cell Phones in Prison

June 2010

Criminals are using cell phones illegally in prisons and jails to conduct their business and intimidate witnesses. Although technology solutions to this problem are available, they can create new challenges, such as legal and implementation issues associated with cell phone use in correctional facilities. Panelists will discuss various aspects to consider from how prisoners use cell phones, to day-to-day and operational aspects, to legal and regulatory concerns.

Familial DNA Searching: Issues and Answers

June 2011

Familial DNA searching is the practice of creating new investigative leads in cases where DNA evidence found at the scene of a crime strongly resembles that of an existing DNA profile but is not an exact match. Panelists will explain how the technology works, provide examples of successful convictions obtained through familial searches, and discuss the various misconceptions and concerns regarding this practice.

An Examination of Justice Reinvestment and Its Impact on Two States

June 2010

Funded in part by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Pew Center on the States, the justice reinvestment project is a data-driven strategy aimed at policymakers to "reduce spending on corrections, increase public safety and improve conditions in the neighborhoods to which most people released from prison return." Representatives from two states where the justice reinvestment strategy is currently being implemented will discuss how it is being used to reduce the rate of incarceration and how states can reinvest in local communities.

What Works in Probation and Parole

June 2009

How can we prevent reoffending and reduce costs? Research points to a number of solutions. At the Tuesday plenary, Judge Steven Alm from Hawaii will describe his successes with hard-core drug offenders. “Swift and sure” is his motto. West Virginia Cabinet Secretary James W. Spears will discuss the issues from his state's perspective, and Adam Gelb, Director of the Pew Charitable Trust's Public Safety Performance Project, will lend a national overview.

What Works in Offender Supervision

June 2009

This NIJ Conference Panel highlights findings from NIJ projects that evaluated strategies to enhance the supervision of offenders in the community. Researchers discuss the effectiveness of fair, swift and certain sanctions for high-risk probationers in the Hawaii HOPE program. Panelists also provide empirical evidence on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring — including the use of GPS tracking — for medium- and high-risk offenders on supervision and upon completion of their supervision sentence.