Public Safety Performance Project

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America's prison population skyrocketed over the past few decades, largely as a result of state laws and policies that placed more offenders behind bars and kept them there longer. But proven strategies are available that offer a better public safety return on taxpayer dollars. Pew works with states to advance data-driven, fiscally sound policies and practices in the criminal and juvenile justice systems that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs.

Our Work

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  • Juvenile Commitment Rate Falls by Half Nationally in 10 Years

    Over the past decade, the nation’s juvenile commitment rate—the share of adjudicated youths in residential facilities—dropped by half, falling to the lowest level since the federal government began tracking it in 1997, according to a new analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts.  Read More

  • Reform in the Most Incarcerated State

    Louisiana has the highest imprisonment rate in the U.S., but that may change as a result of comprehensive criminal justice reform passed this summer. Through a tremendous bipartisan effort, state leaders passed a package of bills that aims to reduce crime and incarceration through innovative, evidence-based means. That includes steering less serious offenders away from prison, strengthening... Read More

  • Data Trends: South Carolina Criminal Justice Reform

    Sentencing and corrections reforms, passed by a substantial legislative majority in 2010, are having a significant impact on the South Carolina criminal justice system. The reforms reduced penalties for less serious drug and property offenses, expanded release options, strengthened community supervision, and established legislative oversight and accountability. Six years later, six prisons had... Read More

13%

The amount that the national incarceration rate declined from its peak in 2007 to 2015.

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'After the Fact' Podcast

Louisiana has the highest imprisonment rate in the U.S., but that may change as a result of comprehensive criminal justice reform passed this summer.

Hear the full story