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?
A 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.
Holder 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