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The Growth of Incarceration in the United States
Exploring Causes and Consequences
 
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Related Reports

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Health and Incarceration: A Workshop Summary provides perspective on an important set of policy issues. Undertaken in conjunction with the report on the causes and consequences of high rates of incarceration in the United States, it is a valuable compendium of expert insights and policy ideas for health professionals and policy makers working on these issues.
 
After decades of stability, U.S. federal and state prison populations escalated steadily between 1973 and 2009, growing from about 200,000 people to 1.5 million. The increase was driven by changes in policy that imprisoned people for a wider range of offenses and imposed longer sentences.  Has this greater reliance on incarceration yielded significant benefits for the nation, or is a change in course needed? 

Aa committee of the National Research Council examined the best available evidence and found no clear evidence that greater reliance on imprisonment achieved its intended goal of substantially reducing crime. Moreover, the rise in incarceration may have had a wide range of unwanted consequences for society, communities, families, and individuals. The committee’s report, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, urges policymakers to reduce the nation’s reliance on incarceration and seek crime-control strategies that are more effective, with fewer unwanted consequences.

Watch a 3.5 minute overview of the report, which explains how incarceration rates increased in the United States and why the nation now needs a change in course.



 


 
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Related Events

Past Events
  • Brown University hosted a forum to discuss findings from the report and their implications.  
More Information  |  Watch the archived webcast

In the News

The Many Causes of America's Decline in Crime – The Atlantic (February 11, 2015)

In a Safer Age, U.S. Rethinks Its "Tough on Crime" System – The New York Times (January 13, 2015)

Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics – NPR (January 7, 2015)
Listen to the Story

Protests shine light on deeper issues with modern justice – The Boston Globe (December 16, 2014)

Guest Opinion: America's morally adrift prison policies – The Herald News (December 9, 2014)

State Lawmakers Want to Look at Alternatives for Non-Violent Offenders — Eyewitness News KOB4 (November 7, 2014)

Holder: "We Can't Incarcerate Our Way to Public Safety"The Crime Report (September 24, 2014)

Holder SpeechLHolder Cites Findings of Report
On May 8, at a symposium of the National Association of Attorneys General, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the report. Holder called it a "landmark study" that brings into sharp focus the importance of efforts to make the criminal justice system more efficient and effective.  Video Clip | Full Speech


Press Release (April 30, 2014)

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