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National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
Committee on Law and Justice
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Project Scope


A sharp, sustained rise in the rate of incarceration, beginning in 1973, has raised the proportion of the U.S. population in state or federal prison to a level five times the rate between 1930 and 1970 and higher than the rate in any other society today. The study will explore the causes of the dramatic increases in incarceration rates since the 1970s, the costs and benefits of the nation's current sentencing and incarceration policies, and whether there is evidence that alternative policies would more effectively promote public safety and community well-being.




This project is sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 


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Committee Members


Jeremy Travis (Chair), John Jay College of Criminal Justice 

Bruce Western, (Vice-chair) Harvard University
Jeffrey A. Beard, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Robert D. Crutchfield, University of Washington 
Tony Fabelo, Council of State Governments Justice Center 
Marie Gottschalk, University of Pennsylvania 
Craig W. Haney, University of California, Santa Cruz 
Ricardo H. Hinojosa, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas 
Glenn C. Loury, Brown University
Sara S. McLanahan, Princeton University 
Lawrence M. Mead, New York University 
Anne Morrison Piehl, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, New York Public Library
Daniel S. Nagin, Carnegie Mellon University
Devah Pager, Princeton University
Josiah D. Rich, Miriam Hospital, Brown University
Robert J. Sampson, Harvard University
Heather A. Thompson, Temple University
Michael Tonry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Avelardo Valdez, University of Southern California

For committee member bio sketches, see the National Academies' Current Project site



Committee Staff


F. Stevens Redburn, Study Director

Malay Majmundar, Program Officer

Julie Schuck, Sr. Program Associate

Barbara Boyd, Administrative Coordinator 

The National Academies