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 WorkView All
Voters’ top priority is keeping communities safe, but large majorities also believe that the nation imprisons too many people for too long. A body of national- and state-level public opinion research dating to 2010 has found overwhelming support across political parties, regions, ages, genders, and racial/ethnic groups for policy changes that shift nonviolent offenders from prison to... Read More
Since 2006, Pew has conducted national and state research chronicling the expansion of the American corrections system and the policies and practices that fueled the growth. The reports in this collection document the high cost to taxpayers and the low public safety returns of incarcerating many lower-level offenders. They also establish frameworks for reducing recidivism, moderating the... Read More
Most criminal justice research focuses on the effectiveness of programs that seek to reduce recidivism by changing offender attitudes and behavior. Pew’s research, in contrast, has targeted the laws and practices that control who goes to prison and for how long. The publications in this collection evaluate policies that have been frequent components of state reforms and identify... Read More