Reforms without Results: Why States Should Stop Excluding Violent Offenses from Criminal Justice Reforms
Date:  04-10-2020

Prison Policy Initiative finds people convicted of violence have lower recidivism rates
From Prison Policy Initative:

States are increasingly recognizing that our criminal justice system is overly punitive, and that we are incarcerating too many people for too long. Every day, 2.3 million incarcerated people are subject to inhumane conditions, offered only limited opportunities for transformation, and are then saddled with lifelong collateral consequences. Yet as states enact reforms that incrementally improve their criminal justice systems, they are categorically excluding the single largest group of incarcerated people: the nearly 1 million people locked up for violent offenses.

The staggering number of people incarcerated for violent offenses is not due to high rates of violent crime, but rather the lengthy sentences doled out to people convicted of violent crimes. These lengthy sentences, relics of the “tough on crime” era, have not only fueled mass incarceration; they’ve proven an ineffective and response to violence in our communities and run counter to the demands of violent crime victims for investments in prevention rather than incarceration.

Moreover, cutting incarceration rates to anything near pre-1970s levels or international norms will be impossible without changing how we respond to violence because of the sheer number of people — over 40% of prison and jail populations combined — locked up for violent offenses. States that are serious about reforming their criminal justice systems can no longer afford to ignore people serving time for violent offenses. Continue reading >>>