Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime

This paper does a great job in explaining how your criminal justice system can greatly reduce incarceration while ensuring community safety. "We [the authors] argue that states should reevaluate their policy choices and reduce the scope and severity of several of the sentencing practices that they have implemented over the past twenty-five or thirty years. We propose that states introduce a greater degree of discretion into their sentencing and parole practices through two specific reforms: (1) a reduction in the scope and severity of truth-in-sentencing laws that mandate that inmates serve minimum proportions of their sentences, and (2) a reworking and, in many instances, abandonment of mandatory minimum sentences. We also propose that states create incentives for localities to limit their use of state prison systems" (p. 2). Five chapters follow an abstract: introduction; mass incarceration in the United States; a proposal to reduce incarceration through smarter use of prisons; questions and concerns; and conclusion.