Public Safety in Virginia

Virginia has four times as many prison inmates as it did 25 years ago. To accommodate this growing population, Virginia has been forced to add more than 22,000 state prison beds since 1990 at a cost of $1.1 billion in capital costs alone. The operating budget for the Virginia Department of Corrections now exceeds $1 billion, an increase of almost 74 percent since 1998.

The General Assembly established a task force in 2009 to develop recommendations for expanding less expensive, more effective alternatives to prison for non-violent, lower-level offenders. The Alternatives for Non-Violent Offenders Task Force brought together a diverse group of stakeholders and received technical assistance from Pew and the Vera Institute of Justice.

The task force developed a set of data-driven policies that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and control correctional costs. Many of the task force's recommendations were included in the state's 2010 budget legislation while others were implemented administratively by the state.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
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Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.

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States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.