Public Safety Performance Project

Public Safety Performance Project



Pew's Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP) works with states to advance data-driven, fiscally sound policies and practices in the criminal and juvenile justice systems that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs.


Why Public Safety Policy Matters

America's prison population skyrocketed over the past few decades, largely as a result of state laws and policies that placed more offenders behind bars and kept them there longer. But proven strategies are available that offer a better public safety return on taxpayer dollars. PSPP and our partners have worked directly with more than a dozen states to help them develop research-based sentencing and corrections policies and practices that slow the growth of prison costs while reducing reoffense rates, and keeping communities safer.

How We Conduct Our Work

The project supports efforts in select states that want better results from their sentencing and corrections systems. Along with partners, we diagnose the factors driving prison growth in those states and provide policy audits to identify options for reform, drawing on solid research, promising approaches, and best practices in other states. The project also helps state officials, practitioners, and others across the country share state-of-the-art knowledge and ideas through policy forums; public opinion surveys;  multi-state meetings; national, regional, and state-level convenings; and online information about what works. Read our FAQ.


January 24, 2014

Judging for Public Safety

The American judiciary traditionally has played only a supporting role in shaping criminal justice policy, believing that such work was appropriately left to the legislative and executive branches. More
December 19, 2013

States Cut Both Crime and Imprisonment

Over the past five years, the majority of states reduced both crime and imprisonment rates. The relationship between crime and incarceration is complex, but states are showing that it is possible to reduce them at the same time. More
December 2, 2013

The Impact of Parole in New Jersey

Nearly 700,000 offenders were released from U.S. prisons in 2011. Ensuring their successful re-entry into the community remains a critical issue for public safety. More
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August 8, 2013

U.S. Prison Population Drops for Third Year

After reaching a high of 1 in 100 adults behind bars in 2008, the U.S. prison population has now declined for three consecutive years as states adopt new policy strategies. More
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