view of an open prison cell door
Project

Public Safety Performance Project

America's prison population skyrocketed over the past few decades, largely as a result of state laws and policies that placed more people behind bars and kept them there longer.

But proven strategies are available that offer a better public safety return on taxpayer dollars. Pew works with states to advance data-driven, fiscally sound policies and practices in the criminal and juvenile justice systems that protect public safety, ensure accountability, and control corrections costs.

Apartment balconies
Apartments
Report

Policy Reforms Can Strengthen Community Supervision

Quick View
Report

Policy Reforms Can Strengthen Community Supervision

Since 1980, the nation’s community supervision population has ballooned by almost 240 percent. As of 2016, 1 in 55 U.S. adults (nearly 4.5 million people) are on probation or parole, more than twice the number incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails.

Getty Images
Getty Images
Article

Why Hasn’t the Number of People in U.S. Jails Dropped?

Quick View
Article

Why Hasn’t the Number of People in U.S. Jails Dropped?

Federal statistics show that from 2010 to 2017, crimes, arrests, and resulting jail admissions fell by 14, 20, and 18 percent, respectively. In fact, there were 2 million fewer admissions to jails nationwide in 2017 than seven years earlier. Still, despite these positive trends, the total number of people in county and municipal jails remained virtually unchanged.

PSPP
PSPP
Fact Sheet

Comprehensive Policies Can Improve Probation and Parole

Quick View
Fact Sheet

The Pew Charitable Trusts convened an expert advisory council to review evidence on best practices and make recommendations on policies and practices that can help deliver better outcomes for people under supervision, their families, and communities.

Our Work

Article

The Public Strongly Supports Cost-Effective Alternatives to Incarceration

Quick View
Article

The Public Strongly Supports Cost-Effective Alternatives to Incarceration

Voters’ top priority is keeping communities safe, but large majorities also believe that the nation imprisons too many people for too long.  A body of national- and state-level public opinion research dating to 2010 has found overwhelming support across political parties, regions, ages, genders, and racial/ethnic groups for policy changes that shift nonviolent offenders from prison to more effective, less expensive alternatives.

19x9 placeholder
Podcast

Reform in the Most Incarcerated State

Quick View
Podcast

Louisiana has the highest imprisonment rate in the U.S., but that may change as a result of comprehensive criminal justice reform passed this summer. Through a tremendous bipartisan effort, state leaders passed a package of bills that aims to reduce crime and incarceration through innovative, evidence-based means. That includes steering less serious offenders away from prison, strengthening alternatives to incarceration, and removing barriers to success during re-entry to society. Terry Schuster of Pew's public safety performance project speaks with host Dan LeDuc about why this change was important and what its impact could be. For more information on public safety, listen to the episode “Less Incarceration, Less Crime” to find out what two leaders in South Carolina did to slow prison growth and make communities safer.