What is the Public Safety Performance Project?
The Public Safety Performance Project helps states advance fiscally sound, data‐driven policies and practices in the criminal and juvenile justice systems that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and control corrections costs. An initiative of The Pew Center on the States, the project launched its adult corrections work in 2006 and its juvenile work in 2012.
What does the project do?
The project supports efforts in select states that want a better public safety return on their corrections spending. Along with our partners, we identify drivers of cost and growth and conduct system assessments to identify options for reform, drawing on solid research, promising approaches and best practices in states. The project also helps state officials, practitioners and others across the country share state‐of‐the‐art knowledge and innovative ideas through national research and publications; policy evaluations; public opinion surveys; national, regional, multi‐state, and state‐level policy forums; and online information about what works.
What does it mean for a state to participate in the Public Safety Performance Project?
The project collaborates with a small number of states each year that demonstrate commitment to a data-driven “justice reinvestment” process. Selected states receive intensive nonpartisan research, analysis and assistance from Pew staff and other respected experts in the field, including the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The project does not advocate predetermined solutions to a state’s problems, but rather works in partnership with its leaders to pinpoint the state’s particular challenges, draw on the best research and lessons learned from other states, and tailor cost‐effective, data‐driven policy options.
What does that assistance look like?
Technical assistance is matched to each state’s circumstances, but generally is provided in three phases:
In some states, technical assistance also is supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. BJA also supports implementation by providing assistance to states that have adopted criminal sentencing and corrections reforms.
What are some examples of the project’s work in states?
A few examples of our state successes in the criminal justice system include:
What are some examples of the project’s research?
The project has produced groundbreaking research on the size and cost of America’s corrections system (1 in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, 1 in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections, and Prison Count 2010), trends in national and state recidivism rates (State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of American Corrections), and trends in length of stay in prison (Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms). Project‐sponsored public opinion research has revealed overwhelming bipartisan support for a variety of policy changes that shift many non-violent offenders from prison to more effective, less expensive alternatives. Other project publications highlight the perspectives of business leaders, corrections directors, and survivors of crime.
For links to these documents and more information about the project, visit www.pewstates.org/publicsafety.