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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 17 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

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Urban Institute publishes Prison Population Forecaster

New tool empowers the public to engage the policy choices needed to end mass incarceration. Statistics degree not required.

by Peter Wagner, August 12, 2015

The Urban Institute just published the excellent Prison Population Forecaster:

screenshot of Urban Institute prison population forecaster which can't be embedded in an https page

This interactive tool and article uses data from 15 states to model the impact of various types of reforms to state criminal justice policies. The Forecaster brilliantly makes a very important point: There is plenty of low hanging fruit left that most states can use to lower their prison populations, but making a real dent in mass incarceration is going to also require some tough policy choices.

And now, with the Forecaster, you don’t need to have a degree in statistics to see what the results of particular policy changes might be. Anybody can do it. By empowering more people to access the data, the Urban Institute has made these critical policy choices all the more accessible.

Peter Wagner is Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative. (Other articles | Full bio | Contact)

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