Americans' quest for "a more perfect union" starts with safe, healthy communities. Developing policies that are firmly grounded in facts and research is critical to building a vibrant civic life.  Strong communities also require an understanding of our country’s history and immigration trends, participation in arts and culture, and concern for those who need a helping hand. These endeavors—all part of Pew’s mission—shape our national character, bring us together as a people, and help assure that our communities thrive.

Recent Work

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  • Federal Drug Sentencing Laws Bring High Cost, Low Return

    More than 95,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug-related offenses—up from fewer than 5,000 in1980.1 Changes in drug crime patterns and law enforcement practices played a role in this growth, but federal sentencing laws enacted during the 1980s and 1990s also have required more drug offenders to go to prison— and stay there much longer—than three decades ago.2 (See... Read More

  • Victims' Voices for Reform

    In a growing number of states, crime victims and survivors are actively participating in the development of sentencing and corrections policies and funding decisions to help prevent others from being victimized. The reforms, many of which are part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), use data-driven strategies to hold offenders accountable, control costs, and protect public safety. In... Read More

  • Sheriffs Back Effective Adult and Juvenile Sentencing and Corrections Policies

    The National Sheriffs Association (NSA) has adopted two resolutions to support the use of data-driven policies in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The organization, which represents more than 3,000 sheriffs in all 50 states, endorsed reforms that prioritize costly incarceration for serious offenders while expanding alternatives for lower-level offenders. Both resolutions are aimed at... Read More