Challenged by high costs and concerns that the U.S. corrections sector is not achieving its goals, the sector has placed an increasing emphasis on approaches to reform and improve performance. Policies initiated during the tough-on-crime era led to aggressive prosecution, lengthier sentences and an exploding correctional population. In recent years, the corrections sector has been gradually shifting toward efforts to provide treatment, alternatives to incarceration and enhanced programs to facilitate offender reentry. To contribute to the policy debate on the future of the corrections sector, researchers from the RAND Corporation interviewed a group of prominent correctional practitioners, consultants and academics. This report outlines their perspectives on the current state of corrections and their vision for the future. These experts were specifically asked how they would redesign the corrections sector to better serve the country's needs.
The Price of Prisons: Examining State Spending Trends, 2010-2015, Vera Institute of Justice, 2017
Even as the national prison population has been declining over the past several years, this trend has not necessarily translated to reduced spending. This Vera Institute of Justice report examines the complexities of the issue and why some states have been able to simultaneously downside prison populations and spending while others have struggled.
Opioid overdoses are rising in the general population. The trend is also reaching alarming numbers among incarcerated and recently released individuals. Probation and parole officers are key first responders in the community and are increasingly relying on naloxone kits to treat overdoses. Read the article by Joe Russo, JTIC’s Corrections Technology Lead, in Perspectives, published by the American Probation and Parole Association.
An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Prison Work Release Programs on Post-Release Recidivism and Employment, National Institute of Justice, 2015
This study evaluates the effectiveness of prison-based work release centers in terms of reducing post-prison recidivism and employment, and determines whether privately operated work release centers produce different outcomes compared to state-operated programs under the Florida Department of Corrections. Findings indicate that inmates released from work release facilities compared to the control group of non-participants have significantly lower levels of recidivism as measured by arrest for any new crime, arrest for a new felony offense or conviction for a new felony offense; however, they have higher rates of returning to prison. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/249845.pdf
State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education – U.S. Department of Education, 2016
This policy brief examines state-by-state trends to compare the extent to which state and local governments are investing in education and in corrections. More specifically, this brief uses extant data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau and other sources to present a snapshot of the changes in state and local expenditures for corrections and education between two points in time: 1979–80 to 2012–13, both nationally and by state.
California’s Historic Corrections Reforms, Public Policy Institute of California, 2016
California leads the nation in correctional reforms and reduced reliance on incarceration. In 2011, the state enacted public safety realignment, which shifted the management of lower-level felons from the state prison and parole systems to county jail and probation systems. Three years later, voters approved Proposition 47, which further reprioritized correctional resources and lowered incarceration. This report describes the impact of these historic changes.
This report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Health statistics presents selected findings on the provision of health care services in U.S. state prisons, including admissions testing for infectious disease, cardiovascular risk factors, and mental health conditions. It also looks at the location of the provision of care and telemedicine.
This report provides a broad overview of key findings from the United States Sentencing Commission’s study of recidivism of federal offenders. The Commission studied offenders who were either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005. Nearly half (49.3%) of such offenders were rearrested within eight years for either a new crime or for some other violation of the condition of their probation or release conditions.
Correctional Populations In The United States, 2014 — Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2015 (PDF)
This report presents statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at year-end 2014, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prisons or local jails.
Probation And Parole In The United States — Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014 (PDF)
Presents data on adult offenders under community supervision while on probation or parole in 2014. The report presents trends over time for the overall community supervision population and describes changes in the probation and parole populations.
Managing Corrections Costs — National Conference of State Legislatures, 2014 (PDF)
States will spend $40 billion to incarcerate and supervise offenders in fiscal year 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) State Budget Actions: FY 2013 & 2014. This report examines corrections budget trends, cost-conserving changes to sentencing and corrections policies, actions taken to operate prisons more efficiently and federal initiatives that provide support and assistance to states.
The Potential of Community Corrections to Improve Safety and Reduce Incarceration — Vera Institute of Justice, 2013 (PDF)
This report provides an overview of the state of community corrections, the transformational practices emerging in the field and recommendations to policymakers on realizing the full value of community supervision to taxpayers and communities.
The Effects of Prison Visitation on Offender Recidivism — Minnesota Department of Corrections, 2011 (PDF)
This study examines the effects of prison visitation on recidivism among 16,420 offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2003 and 2007. Using multiple measures of visitation and recidivism, the study found that visitation significantly decreased the risk of recidivism.