Smart Reform is Possible: States Reducing Incarceration Rates and Costs While Protecting Communities

Source: American Civil Liberties Union, August 2011

From the press release:
Bipartisan reforms in historically “tough on crime” states have significantly reduced incarceration rates, saved taxpayers billions of dollars, lowered crime rates and should be emulated nationwide, according to a new report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The report, “Smart Reform is Possible: States Reducing Incarceration Rates and Costs While Protecting Communities,” underscores the need for states to enact cost-effective and evidence-based policies that save states money and combat the nation’s addiction to incarceration. The nation’s pre-trial, sentencing and parole systems have made the U.S. the largest incarcerator in the world, hitting communities of color the hardest. One in 99 adults is living behind bars in the U.S., and though whites commit crimes at comparable rates and make up a majority of the country’s population, 60 percent of prison inmates are people of color….The ACLU’s report highlights six states – Texas, Mississippi, Kansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio – that have passed significant bipartisan reforms that promote alternatives to incarceration. It documents ongoing reform efforts in four more states – California, Louisiana, Maryland, and Indiana….

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