Our mission is to empower activists, journalists, and policymakers to shape effective criminal justice policy, so we go beyond our original reports and analyses to curate a database of virtually all the empirical criminal justice
research available online.
Tips: If you know what you are looking for, you may also search the database. We also have an email newsletter (at right)(at bottom) for new research library updates.
- COVID-19 (69) The pandemic’s impact on prisons and jails
- Community Impact (250) Impact of justice system on communities, includes housing, employment, schools
- Conditions of Confinement (376)
- Crime and Crime Rates (380) Information on type of crime/frequency
- Death Penalty (160) Data, policy, and analysis of the death penalty
- Disability (26)
- Drug Policy (218) Analysis of drug policy and its effects on the prison system
- Economics of Incarceration (287) The economic drivers and consequences of mass incarceration
- Education (123) Correctional education and the school-to-prison pipeline
- Families (139) The justice system's impact on families.
- Felon Disenfranchisement (101) Barring people from the polls because of criminal convictions
- General (159) Atlases, indices, and broad-based source material
- Gun Control (47) Statistics on gun violence, suggestions for gun control
- Health impact (267) Public health, access to healthcare, and mortality
- Immigration (67) Detainment practices and statistics
- Incarceration Rates Growth Causes (471)
- International Incarceration Comparisons (58)
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Some of the most recently added reports are:
Thursday, May 25 2023:
- Coping With Limited Prosecutorial Resources: An Assessment of the
Case Processing and Community Impact From the Perspective of Prosecutors and Staff in a Southeaster, Paywall :(
Christi Metcalfe and Joseph B. Kuhns.
"Results suggested that Mecklenburg County...suffered more broadly from criminal justice funding challenges, and faced staffing shortages and turnover that were perceived as affecting case dispositions, office morale, and community trust."
- Sentencing Reform for Criminalized Survivors:
Learning from New York's Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act,
Sentencing Project and Survivors Justice Project.
"Since its passage, the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA) has freed people who otherwise would have spent considerably more time behind bars, but compromises...have limited its impact."
- Lower-Level Enforcement, Racial Disparities, & Alternatives to Arrest:
A Review of Research and Practice from 1970 to 2021,
Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College.
(This policy review considers five key models of alternatives to arrest: citations, diversion programs, legalization, police-involved crisis response models, and non-police response models.)
- Banning Torture:
Legislative Trends and Policy Solutions for Restricting and Ending Solitary Confinement throughout the United States,
Unlock the Box Campaign.
"Given that even a brief time in solitary can cause devastating harm--without any benefit--policymakers should finally and fully end solitary confinement for all people, other than for periods of minutes or hours for purposes of emergency de-escalation."
- You're Out!:
Three Strikes Against the PLRA's Three Strikes Rule,
"At a minimum, the PLRA has failed to achieve Congress's goal of garnering "better prisoner suits." The overall decrease in the proportion of wins by prisoner-plaintiffs...also suggests that more meritorious claims are being excluded from the courts."
- Jail Populations, Violent Crime, and COVID-19:
Findings from the Safety and Justice Challenge,
CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance.
"The public narrative that jail population reform leads to an increase in violent crime makes for attention-grabbing headlines, but it is not backed by any evidence-based research."
- Reduction or Elimination of Costs and Fees Charged to Inmates in State Correctional Facilities
Virginia Department of Corrections.
"The 9% commission [on commissary purchases] collected by VADOC, in addition to high prices and sales tax, collected to fund these services places an unfair cost on some of the Commonwealth's poorest families."
- Heat-related mortality in U.S. state and private prisons:
A case-crossover analysis,
Julianne Skarha et al.
"A 10-degree (F) increase was associated with a 5.2% increase in total mortality and a 6.7% increase in heart disease mortality. The association between temperature and suicides was delayed, peaking around lag 3 (exposure at three days prior to death)."
- Estimated Costs and Outcomes Associated With Use and Nonuse of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
During Incarceration and at Release in Massachusetts,
Avik Chatterjee et al.
"We found that initiating and continuing MOUD treatment during incarceration could avert a substantial number of opioid overdose deaths at a relatively low cost ($8 million over 5 years) and would be a highly cost-effective intervention."
- Reformers Looking To Intervene in Mass Incarceration Must Understand the Role of Rural County Jails
"In communities that lack alternatives, jails may become a catchall solution to local health and economic crises...healthcare facilities, schools, employers, and housing agencies are all necessary partners in addressing rising rural jail incarceration."
(Read more in Sarah Walton, "The Gateway to Mass Incarceration: A County-Level Analysis of Jails in the United States," Ohio State University, forthcoming.)
- Protected & Served?
2022 Community Survey of LGBTQ+ People and People Living with HIV's Experiences with the Criminal Legal System,
Lambda Legal and Black and Pink National.
"In terms of both expectations and real experiences, trans people, gender nonconforming/ nonbinary people, and people of color were more likely to say that police were or would be very hostile, very skeptical, and very unfair to them."
- Justice Navigator Public Assessments
Center for Policing Equity.
(This platform contains analyses of policing data from seven participating departments across the country, to identify which policing practices have patterns of racial disparities, and what factors may be contributing to those disparities.)
- Punishment Beyond Prisons 2023:
Incarceration and supervision by state,
Prison Policy Initiative.
"Understanding how each state fares in probation and parole in addition to its systems of confinement gives us a more accurate and complete picture of its reliance on punishment."
(This is an update to our 2018 report,)
- Excessive, unjust, and expensive:
Fixing Connecticut's probation and parole problems,
Prison Policy Initiative and the Katal Center for Equity, Health and Justice.
"Those who are on probation and parole live in fear of arrest and incarceration for nearly any action that could constitute a violation -- a gross misuse of resources and a disservice to families in Connecticut."
- Criminal Convictions in New York State, 1980-2021
Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College.
"Relative to their representation in the residential population, the conviction rate in 2019 for Black people statewide was 3.1 times higher than for white people."
- Employment Application Criminal Record Questions and Willingness to Apply:
A Mixed Method Study of Self-Selection, Paywall :(
Mike Vuolo, Lesley E. Schneider, and Eric G. LaPlant.
"[Job] applicants may self-select out rather than divulge their record...In interviews, participants described self-selecting out due to anticipatory stigma, often resulting in long-term burnout. Still, some respondents would apply..."
- Race, work history, and the employment recidivism relationship
Simon G. Kolbeck, Paul E. Bellair, and Steven Lopez.
"Our findings imply that employment contributes to racial disparities in recidivism via racialized barriers to labor market participation rather than via differential effects."
- The Poor Reform Prosecutor:
So Far From the State Capital, So Close to the Suburbs,
John F. Pfaff.
"In many ways, the county is a distinctly awkward jurisdiction for those who hope reform-minded prosecutors can play a significant role in reversing our decades-long investment in mass punishment and mass incarceration."
- How Long is Long Enough?
Task Force on Long Sentences Final Report,
Council on Criminal Justice.
"While drug crimes account for a minority of the nation's long sentences, the Task Force believes that long prison terms are especially ineffective in addressing substance use disorders and related or co-occurring mental health disorders."
- Cost of Discretion:
Judicial Decision-Making, Pretrial Detention, and Public Safety in New York City,
Scrutinize, QSIDE Institute, and NYU School of Law.
"The estimated impact of these judges' disproportionately carceral decisions over 2.5 years amounts to 580 additional people detained, 154 additional years of pretrial detention, and over $77 million of additional costs borne by New York City taxpayers."
- Evidence Rules for Decarceration
"As we envision a path towards decarceration, we must consider the barriers created by evidence rules, even if defendants often are effectively dissuaded from exercising their right to trial and the rules are never applied."
- Women's Pathways Into and Out of Jail in Buncombe County
Vera Institute of Justice.
"Very high bond amounts present an insurmountable challenge, leaving women with no other option but pretrial incarceration. Many women with bond amounts less than $10,000 found this sum impossible to pay, even when required to post only 10 percent..."
- A Statewide Analysis of the Impact of Restitution and Fees on Juvenile Recidivism in Florida Across Race & Ethnicity
Alex R. Piquero, Michael T. Baglivio, and Kevin T. Wolff.
"The current study demonstrates youth assigned fees evidence significantly higher recidivism than similarly situated youth not assigned fees, as measured by an adjudication for a new criminal offense committed within 365 days."