Leading on Public Safety

4 Governors Share Lessons Learned from Sentencing and Corrections Reform

Leading on Public Safety


After nearly four decades of explosive growth in prison populations and spending, more and more states are taking important steps to rein in the size and cost of their corrections systems.

When it comes to public safety, leadership matters. In the past seven years, more than a dozen governors have spearheaded research-based sentencing and corrections reforms that slow the growth of prison costs while reducing reoffense rates and keeping communities safer.

Known as “justice reinvestment,” this approach is rooted in research about what works in corrections reform and is tailored to each state’s unique challenges. The Pew Charitable Trusts recently spoke with four governors—Mike Beebe of Arkansas, Nathan Deal of Georgia, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, and Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota—about why they believe justice reinvestment is right for their states and about the challenges they overcame to achieve consensus and enact policies that provide a better public safety return on state corrections dollars.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.