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.

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  • Maryland’s 2016 Criminal Justice Reform

    On May 19, 2016, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) signed into law S.B. 1005, the Justice Reinvestment Act, which advances research-based sentencing and corrections policies. Developed by the bipartisan Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council and passed unanimously in the Senate and with strong support in the House of Delegates, the bill is projected to cut the state’s prison population... Read More

  • Juvenile Confinement Drops by Half

    From 2006-15, the rate at which adjudicated youths were sent to out-of-home placement by juvenile courts fell 50 percent, according to data recently released by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Rates declined in states across the country, including decreases of at least 50 percent in 24 states. The nationwide reduction is matched by a 49 percent drop in juvenile... Read More

  • Congress Should Study the States as It Considers Reviving Criminal Justice Reform

    Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this month by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and others and a hearing held this week in the House of Representatives are part of a renewed push among lawmakers to improve the federal criminal justice system. As Congress revisits the issue, its efforts should be informed by the experiences of states across the country where... Read More


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.

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