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Research from past year

Emerging Adults and Police Killings

While many have known all too well that law enforcement has victimized communities of color throughout U.S. history, the intersection of police violence, the racially disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a rising right-wing white supremacist movement seemed to elevate the devastating effects of racism and police violence to a much broader slice of America. Calls for defunding the police and dismantling a racist criminal justice system echoed across communities, in state capitals and even across the world. As the issue of police violence is finally receiving the attention it justifiably deserves, it is critical that state and local leaders pay particular attention to its impact on young adults (increasingly being referred to as “emerging adults”), especially Black and Brown emerging adults.

[POLICY BRIEF 2020] Washington, DC's Young Adult Justice Reforms

Traditionally, criminal justice system involved young, or emerging, adults age 18-25 have been treated in the same ways as older adults. In recent years, jurisdictions around the country have been exploring new approaches to the treatment and care of emerging adults.

[POLICY BRIEF 2020] Sticker Shock: The Cost of Youth Incarceration

In 2014, when the Justice Policy Institute first analyzed the cost of secure youth confinement, 33 states and the District of Columbia reported an annual cost per youth that eclipsed $100,000. In 2020, despite more than a half-decade of falling youth arrests and declining rates of youth incarceration since 2014, 40 states and Washington, D.C. report spending at least $100,000 annually per confined child, with some states spending more than $500,000 per youth per year.

[Policy Brief 2020] The Presence of School Resource Officers (SROs) in America's Schools

Communities across the country have come together to demand meaningful
changes to law enforcement practices in the wake of the tragic murders of George
Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks at the hands of the police. The focus
has rightly been on how deadly police actions have had an outsized impact on
communities of color. This movement for reform extends beyond municipal police
departments. In fact, one of the first demands from community advocates in
Minneapolis was to remove police from within city schools.

[REPORTS 2020] The Child Not the Charge: Transfer Laws Are Not Advancing Public Safety

Over the last 20 years, elected officials and juvenile justice system stakeholders have changed policies and practices to create a more developmentally appropriate youth justice system, resulting in a reduction of the number of confined youth by 60 percent since the 1990s and reducing the number of youth automatically prosecuted as adults by 56 percent since 2007.

[REPORTS 2020] Maryland Faces COVID-19 Crisis in Prisons Without Immediate Steps to Decarcerate

The nonprofit Recidiviz has created an online model built specifically for institutional populations that projects transmission of the COVID-19 virus using state-specific data on the prison population, age distribution, and steps taken to mitigate the spread of the virus. The model predicts that Maryland’s prisons will soon be overwhelmed with individuals infected with COVID-19.

[REPORTS 2020] Restoring Local Control of Parole to the District of Columbia

In January 2019, the District of Columbia government enlisted the Justice Policy Institute to explore the feasibility of restoring local control of parole and make recommendations for how release decision making can be transferred from the federal government to DC government. The recommendations outlined in this report should guide the development and staffing of a new parole board, the criteria for release decision-making, and how individuals are supervised in the community.

JPI's work

Through a combination of groundbreaking research, communications strategies and technical assistance, we inform advocates, policymakers and the media about fair and effective approaches to justice and community well-being.

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We envision a society with safe, equitable and healthy communities; just and effective solutions to social problems; and the use of incarceration only as a last resort. Please help us end the #IncarcerationGeneration with a generous contribution.

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