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August 31, 2007

New policy brief on education and public safety

The Justice Policy Institute this week released "a new policy brief summarizing recent findings on educational attainment as it relates to crime trends and public safety."  This interesting document is available at this link, and here is how it begins:

The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. There are currently more than 2 million people in American prisons and jails. Overall, individuals incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails report significantly lower levels of educational attainment than do those in the general population.  Research has shown a relationship between high school graduation rates and crime rates, and a relationship between educational attainment and the likelihood of incarceration.  The impact of policies related to education and public safety are concentrated among people of color, who are less likely to have access to quality educational opportunities, more likely to leave educational systems earlier, and more likely to be incarcerated.

This research brief summarizes recent findings on what is known about educational attainment as it relates to crime trends and public safety. JPI has compared state-level education data with crime rates and incarceration rates and found that those states that have focused the most on education tend to have lower violent crime rates and lower incarceration rates.  While there is no silver bullet that will guarantee reductions in criminal activity or crime rates, the research suggests that increased investments in quality education can have a positive public safety benefit.

August 31, 2007 at 09:14 PM | Permalink

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