What Drove Expansion of the Corrections System, and How Can It Be Safely Reversed?

Series of major reports examines national and state criminal justice trends

What Drove Expansion of the Corrections System, and How Can It Be Safely Reversed?

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 time that offenders serve in prison, and improving the performance of other parts of the criminal justice system.

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'After the Fact' Podcast
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Less Incarceration, Less Crime

Crime, Incarceration Down—What's Changed?

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States are finding new ways to get smart on crime and, in the process, changing how America views crime and punishment. After decades of rising prison populations, reforms in 33 states have helped cut the national incarceration rate by 13 percent since 2007. That data point drives this episode’s conversation about the new approaches, informed by research-based sentencing and corrections policies, that are slowing prison growth and helping communities become safer. Host Dan LeDuc speaks with Adam Gelb, director of Pew’s public safety performance project, as well as two leaders in South Carolina—state Senator Gerald Malloy (D), who has led his state’s reform efforts; and Bryan Stirling, state corrections director, who is implementing these transformative changes.

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