State Fact Sheet

Public Safety in Pennsylvania



Public Safety Performance Project > State Work > Pennsylvania

Spurred by a 40 percent return-to-prison rate that was driving up the size and cost of Pennsylvania’s corrections system, state leaders unanimously enacted a set of comprehensive sentencing and corrections reforms in 2012 designed to break the cycle of recidivism and make communities safer.

The new laws are expected to save the state approximately $253 million over the next five years by slowing prison growth through a variety of measures: reducing costly inefficiencies in the parole process; increasing the accountability of community corrections facilities; imposing swift and certain sanctions for probation violations; and requiring low level non-violent misdemeanor offenders be sentenced to prison alternatives.

Passed as two separate bills in July and October, the reform package requires reinvestment of large share of the prison savings into crime victim services, innovative policing, improvements in county probation systems, and other public safety strategies.  It also reimburses counties a portion of the costs for retaining lower-level felony offenders instead of sending them to state facilities.

Fact Sheet | June 6, 2012
Time Served in Pennsylvania   arrow

Fact Sheet | January 2012
The Price of Prisons   arrow

Fact Sheet | March 2, 2009
1 in 31: The Long Rearch of American Corrections   arrow  

Brief  | January 2008
Work in the States: Sentencing and Corrections in Pennsylvania  arrow

Presentation | June 2007
Increasing Public Safety and Managing the Growth of Pennsylvania's Prison Population  arrow


Oregon News

Media Coverage | July 17, 2012
Patriot-News: Prisoner Reform: Legislation Holds Key for Grant Money
For years, Pennsylvania leaders have talked about problems with an overcrowded, expensive prison system. Building more prisons or sending prisoners to other states was always considered a big part of the solution.  arrow

Media Coverage | July 15, 2012
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Judges, Others Laud New Pennsylvania Law to Lower Prison Population
The latest attempt in Harrisburg to reduce the state prison population by changing criminal law is being welcomed by judges and others involved in the criminal justice system.   arrow   

Media Coverage | June 26, 2012
Patriot-News: Prison Reform Bill Awaits Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's Signature
Sweeping reform of the state’s prison system requires just one more step.  arrow

Media Coverage | June 18, 2012
PR Newswire: Governor Corbett Highlights Goals of Justice Reinvestment Initiative
Governor Tom Corbett today highlighted new efforts to make Pennsylvania's criminal justice system more effective and efficient during a gathering of corrections, probation and parole workers at a conference in Hershey. arrow

Media Coverage | May 23, 2012
Associated Press: State Could Save Millions on Prison System, Report Says
Pennsylvania could save tens of millions of dollars a year by keeping low-level offenders out of the prison system and instead reserving state prison beds for criminals convicted of the most serious crimes and serving longer terms, consultants said in a report released today.  arrow  

September 26, 2012
Public Safety Performance Project
One in 31