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Finding Direction: Expanding Criminal Justice Options by Considering Policies of Other Nations

When it comes to criminal justice, there is much to be gleaned from the policies and practices in other democratic nations. Other nations protect public safety without imprisoning as large a percentage of their population, handle law-breaking behavior in ways less reliant on incarceration, and have different approaches to addressing complex social issues.

A country’s criminal justice policies and practices do not exist within a vacuum: they are a product of the larger social systems and political realities to which they are inextricably tied. For this reason, some policymakers may think other countries are too fundamentally different than the U.S. for these policies to be adopted.

This report compares and contrasts the criminal justice policies and social, economic, and governmental structures of five countries – Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Finland and Germany – to the United States. While each nation has a unique set of circumstances and realities, each has enough fundamental similarities to the U.S. that cross-national policy adoption could be considered. An evaluation of the various similarities and differences can broaden the existing dialogue and create more momentum for the types of systemic reforms that will reduce the burden of over-incarceration on communities, states, and the country as a whole.

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Full Report
Executive Summary
Press Release

Factsheets

It Can Work Here Too-Policy Opportunities for the United States
Juvenile Justice
Parole and Rentry
Pretrial Detention and Remand to Custody
Punitive Response to Drug Use
Sentencing 

For additional information visit:

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK): www.crimeandjustice.org.uk
National Research Institute of Legal Policy (Finland): www.optula.om.fi/en/Etusivu

Keywords: Community-Based Services, Crime, Criminal Justice, Drug policy, Education, Employment, Factsheet, Incarceration, Juvenile Justice, Mental Health, Positive Social Investments, Prison Population, Probation/Parole, Public Safety, Racial Disparities, Re-entry, Report, Sentencing

Posted in Criminal Justice (Adult)