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November 17, 2005

New report on incarceration and crime

Via e-mail, I received notice of this interesting new report from The Sentencing Project, entitled Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship.  The e-mail states that the report "challenges the widely held misperception that the decline in crime rates since the 1990s resulted from an increasing reliance upon incarceration," and that the report "provides a comprehensive analysis of research conducted on the relationship between incarceration and crime, and concludes that assertions of prison's impact on criminal offending have been overstated."

The e-mail also states that main "findings of the report include":

  • Key elements leading to the decline in crime include the economy, changes in drug market patterns, strategic policing initiatives, and community engagement in public safety efforts.

  • Incarceration exhibits diminishing returns on crime rates as a larger proportion of prison space is occupied by persons convicted of non-violent and low-level offenses.

  • There is no correlation between increasing rates of incarceration and reduced crime rates; during the 1990s Texas increased incarceration levels by 144% while New York's rate only grew by 24%, yet both experienced similar reductions in crime.

  • Record incarceration rates have a corrosive impact on families and communities by destabilizing personal and professional bonds and increasing the risk of recidivism.

November 17, 2005 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

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