Crime and correctional control—any court-ordered supervision of an individual, whether in the community, as with probation or parole, or in a facility, such as a jail or prison—create substantial burdens for governments and taxpayers, as well as for people in confinement or under supervision and their families. But decades of research have revealed a range of strategies that are more effective for achieving public safety.
Since 2005, The Pew Charitable Trusts and its partners have conducted research, provided technical assistance and legislative support to governments, and made strategic grants to advance fiscally sound, data-driven criminal and juvenile justice policies and practices that protect public safety and reduce correctional populations and costs.
Building on this record, Pew is working with state and local officials and community stakeholders around the country to reform jail, community supervision, and juvenile legal systems by:
- Safely reducing admissions to and the length of time people spend in jail, expanding strategies to ensure that people accused of crimes appear in court, reducing the likelihood of re-arrest while awaiting trial, supporting crime victims, and better aligning public safety practices and investments with research and constitutional principles.
- Decreasing the size of probation and parole populations so that community supervision agencies can focus their limited resources on the individuals with the greatest needs, implement best practices to increase successful outcomes, and reduce returns to jail and prison for new offenses and technical violations (i.e., noncompliance with one or more supervision rules).
- Reducing the number of young people who enter the juvenile court system and are subjected to its orders and sent away from their families to residential facilities.
- Aligning the amount of time young people stay in residential facilities with research on effective practices, and improving the quality of supervision, services, and supports available in their home communities.
- Identifying and reforming policies and practices that contribute to disparities based on gender, race, class, ability, and ethnicity in people’s experiences and outcomes within the criminal and juvenile legal system, and that limit opportunities for people of color and disabled people to avoid becoming embroiled in the criminal and juvenile legal systems or to exit those systems.
Through these strategies, Pew aims to help policymakers enact data-driven reforms that deliver lasting results.