Over the past few years, more than a dozen states have taken significant steps to rein in the size and cost of their corrections systems. Pew and its partners have worked with many of them, selecting states that have demonstrated a commitment to producing a better public safety return on their corrections spending.
We provide nonpartisan research, analysis, and assistance to officials in each participating state to explore sentencing and corrections reforms that will reduce reoffending and cut costs. The project does not advocate preset solutions, but rather works in partnership with policy leaders to develop data-driven policy options based on analysis of the state’s particular challenges and lessons learned from other states.
Review a summary of policies adopted by states engaged in this "justice reinvestment" process, and visit state links below for more details about each.
Featured Work in the States
Despite spending more than $90,000 annually per bed at its secure residential facilities, Georgia’s recidivism rate remains shockingly high, with six in 10 juveniles readjudicated within three years of their release. The Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians is working to produce data-driven policy recommendations that will help the state get a better public safety return on its juvenile justice spending.
Oregon projects that its prison population will grow by more than 2,000 beds in the next decade -- fueled mostly by nonviolent offenders—at the cost of $600 million for taxpayers. The Oregon Commission on Public Safety is developing recommendations for sentencing and corrections policy reforms that will head off this unsustainable growth, while protecting public safety and holding offenders accountable for their actions.
Since 1977, South Dakota’s prison population jumped over 500 percent from just a few hundred inmates to more than 3,600 today. The Criminal Justice Initiative analyzed the state’s sentencing and corrections data and developed recommendations for the legislature to control this growth and produce more public safety at less cost for taxpayers.