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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  • Examining Electronic Monitoring Technologies

    Each year, millions of pretrial defendants and convicted offenders are supervised in their communities as they await trial or serve periods of probation or parole. Local and state agencies are increasingly using electronic monitoring (EM) technologies to supplement supervision, tracking where offenders go and whether they are using alcohol or drugs. Read More

  • Prison Time Surges for Federal Inmates

    The average length of time served by federal inmates more than doubled from 1988 to 2012, rising from 17.9 to 37.5 months.  Across all six major categories of federal crime—violent, property, drug, public order, weapon, and immigration offenses—imprisonment periods increased significantly.  (See Figure 1.)  For drug offenders, who make up roughly half of the federal... Read More

  • Prosecutor Perspectives on Juvenile Justice

    Prosecutors serve on the front lines of the justice system, holding offenders accountable for their actions. Cases involving juvenile offenders present prosecutors with a unique set of challenges and opportunities. In recent years, a number of states have made policy changes to improve outcomes for youth offenders, and prosecutors have been important players in the deliberations. The Pew... Read More


The amount that the national imprisonment rate declined from 2009 to 2014.

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Media Contact

Darienne Gutierrez

Senior Associate, Communications