Senior Policy Analyst
Program Director, State Policy Fellowship Program
With policymakers, law enforcement officials, and others increasingly discussing reforms to reduce the nation’s extremely high incarceration levels while protecting public safety, our 2014 report “Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education” provides important context.
Most states’ prison populations are near historic highs after decades of extraordinary growth. This growth, which continued even after crime rates fell substantially in the 1990s, has been costly, limiting economic opportunity for communities with especially high incarceration rates and taking critical resources from other important investments, such as education.
Click on the map below to learn more about the rise in prison populations and spending in each state. The downloadable data file also includes state-by-state information on recent criminal justice reforms. Click here for four ways states can reduce their incarceration rates.