Mass Incarceration: Prisoners of Time

Despite the enactment of justice reforms in many states, the nation’s prison and jail population has dropped only slightly in recent years. Well over two million people remain behind bars, and there has been little dent in the “mass incarceration” that that has been criticized by many on both the left and the right. A new report from the Urban Institute tells much of the reason why: Prisoners sentenced to long terms under laws passed in previous decades still are locked up, and there is … [Read more...]

Harnessing County Level Prop 47 Savings

Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act, passed by California voters in November 2014, effectively reduced the status of several low-level property and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. While Prop 47 mandates that state budget savings, resulting from a drop in prison populations, be transferred to a fund that supports mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, school truancy, drop-out prevention, and victim services; there is no mandate that Prop 47 county … [Read more...]

New Report Reveals Huge Variations in Correctional Control Among States

Prisons are just one piece of the correctional pie. Some of the seemingly less punitive states are actually the most likely to put their residents under some other form of correctional control, finds a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative. Correctional Control: Incarceration and supervision by state builds off of the Prison Policy Initiative’s popular report, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie, to provide the big picture of mass incarceration. “We often get requests for versions of the … [Read more...]

Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2016

Wait, does the United States have 1.4 million or more than 2 million people in prison? Are most people in state and federal prisons locked up for drug offenses? Frustrating questions like these abound because our systems of confinement are so fragmented and controlled by various entities. There is a lot of interesting and valuable research out there, but varying definitions make it hard — for both people new to criminal justice and for experienced policy wonks — to get the big picture. This … [Read more...]

America Has Locked Up So Many Black People It Has Warped Our Sense of Reality

For as long as the government has kept track, the economic statistics have shown a troubling racial gap. Black people are twice as likely as white people to be out of work and looking for a job. This fact was as true in 1954 as it is today. The most recent report puts the white unemployment rate at around 4.5 percent. The black unemployment rate? About 8.8 percent. But the economic picture for black Americans is far worse than those statistics indicate. The unemployment rate only measures … [Read more...]

How New York City Really Reduced Mass Incarceration

In a report recently published by the Brennan Center for Justice, two nationally renowned criminologists examined the connection between arrest rates in New York City and the state’s overall correctional populations. The report, How New York City Reduced Mass Incarceration: A Model for Change?, makes two essential findings: A reduction in felony arrests in New York City over the course of the last 10-15 years caused a dramatic reduction in state-wide prison, jail, probation, and parole … [Read more...]

Amid Mass Incarceration Debate, California Jails Get $500M To Expand, Build New Correction Facilities

Despite a declining inmate population in California, around a dozen jails were expected to be given millions in financing to expand their facilities. About $500 million was awarded Monday to expand and build new jails across the state, according to TeleSUR, a Latin American television network. About 15 counties are set to receive money for jail construction at the recommendation of the California Board of State and Community Corrections, the board that oversees funding for California jails. … [Read more...]

Life in Lockup

An In-depth Look at Reasons for Incarceration in the U.S. Source: CriminalJusticeDegreeHub.com The United States jails more of its citizens than any other country in the world. And the rate of incarceration has surged in recent decades. What’s behind the trend of mass incarceration? In the Lead (But Not for a Good Reason) The U.S. outpaces all other nations in incarceration rate — and it’s not even close. But mass incarceration wasn’t always part of the American way of life. Prisoners … [Read more...]

Escaping the Mass-Incarceration Trap

f we want to get our disgraceful incarceration rate back to our own historical level – let alone the lower levels enjoyed by other economically advanced democracies – we have to reduce the prison-plus-jail headcount by about 80%. You read that right: line up five prisoners, and let four of them out. There are innocent people in prison, and guilty people who didn’t do anything seriously wrong and who wouldn’t threaten public safety if released. But you can’t get from where we are to where we … [Read more...]

The Worrying State of the Anti-Prison Movement

After declining for three consecutive years, the US prison and jail population increased in 2013. The widely declared victory over mass incarceration was premature at best. Below I raise four areas of particular concern about the state of the anti-prison movement. A tendency to cozy up to the right wing, as though a superficial overlap in viewpoint meant a unified structural analysis for action. early 40 years ago, Tony Platt and Paul Takagi (1977) identified as “new realists” the … [Read more...]