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Positive Social Investments

Rather than putting money into prisons and the criminal justice system, communities would benefit from stronger education systems, job training, youth-oriented programs, and other community-based initiatives. Investments in programs and services like these can prevent justice involvement, improve community well-being and save money in the long run.

Here, you can find JPI reports, briefs and factsheets discussing where scarce taxpayer dollars are best spent to support people and communities.

Billion Dollar Divide: Virginia's Sentencing, Corrections and Criminal Justice Challenge
Billion Dollar Divide points to racial disparities, skewed fiscal priorities, and missed opportunities for improvements through proposed legislation, and calls for reforms to the commonwealth…
Virginia's Justice System: Expensive, Ineffective and Unfair
Virginia's Justice System: Expensive, Ineffective and Unfair points to reforms that, if implemented, would result in relief for Virginians directly impacted by the justice system and taxpayers alike.
BAIL REFORM UPDATE 2013: Pretrial Services Programs Refined and Expanded Their Reach, while the Bail Industry Continued to Fight Forfeiture Collection and Non-financial Release
This brief provides an update on pretrial and bail reform over the last year as a follow up to JPI's 2012 Bail Month Report Series.
Incarceration Generation Timeline
The Justice Policy Institute's 2013 published "Incarceration Generation," a coffee-table book of essays detailing the rise of mass incarceration over the last 40 years, features this pull-out…
DC Council Testimony on CFSA Budget Oversight Hearing
Testimony by Paul D. Ashton Research & Grants Coordinator, Justice Policy Institute
Video: A Blueprint for Juvenile Justice in Washington, D.C.
This film is based on a series of briefs focusing on youth-serving systems in the District that include: education, mental health, employment and child welfare. When considered together, the research…
Fostering Change: How Investing In D.C.’s Child Welfare System Can Keep Kids Out of the Prison Pipeline
Children in Washington, D.C.’s child welfare system are at greater risk for involvement in the justice system due to abuse, neglect and home removal that stem from conditions of poverty,…
Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Have Improved Public Safety and Outcomes for Youth
Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut highlights the past two decades of Connecticut’s successful efforts to improve responses to youth who engage in delinquent behavior and to reduce the…
Two New Reports Show Juvenile Confinement Reform in Five States
Removing young people who engage in delinquent behavior from their homes and communities and incarcerating them, is no longer the status quo in five states, say two new reports by JPI.
Measured Responses: Why increasing law enforcement in schools is not an effective public safety response to the Newtown tragedy
In light of the horrific school shootings this month in Newtown, Connecticut, some have called for increasing armed police presence in schools. School safety should be a priority: it is not only…
Mindful of the Consequences: How Improving the Mental Health of D.C. Youth Benefits the District
This brief examines the intersection of youth mental health and the justice system in Washington, D.C.
Working for a Better Future: How expanding employment opportunities for D.C’s youth creates public safety benefits for all residents
This brief examines the intersection of youth employment and public safety in Washington, D.C.
The Education of D.C.: How Washington D.C.’s investments in education can help increase public safety.
This brief examines the intersection of education and public safety in Washington, D.C.
When More is Less: How a Larger Women’s Jail in Baltimore will Reduce Public Safety and Diminish Resources for Positive Social Investments
Despite declines in the number of women held in the Baltimore City Detention Center, Maryland is planning to build a large, new women’s facility.
Public Safety Brief: Housing and Public Safety
Studies found that substandard housing—particularly where exposure to lead hazards is more likely to occur—is associated with higher violent crime rates.
Employment, Wages and Public Safety
Increased employment is associated with positive public safety outcomes. Researchers have found that from 1992 to 1997, a time when the unemployment rate dropped 33 percent, "slightly more than 40…
Education and Public Safety Policy Brief
Graduation rates were associated with positive public safety outcomes. Researchers have found that a 5 percent increase in male high school graduation rates would produce an annual savings of almost…
Effective Investments in Public Safety: Drug Treatment
Whereas in 1980 only about 8% of federal and state prisoners were incarcerated for a drug offense, in 2003, 55 percent of the federal prison population and 20 percent of prisoners in state facilities…
Effective Investments in Public Safety: Education
There is evidence that suggests that education and graduation rates may relate to crime rates, and this new research comes at a time when education programs are receiving less and less funding, and…
Effective Investments in Public Safety: Mass Incarceration and Longer Sentences Fail to Make Us Safer
Places that did not increase their use of incarceration as much as others experienced bigger drops in crime.
Effective Investments in Public Safety: Unemployment, Wages, and the Crime Rate
Research studies focusing on unemployment rates and market wages have found relationships with the crime rate in the United States.
Education and Incarceration
As of May, 2003, 21 states were considering proposals that would affect funding levels for K-12 education including across the board cuts, reducing transportation funds, slashing state aid for…
Is Maryland's System of Higher Education Suffering Because of Prison Expenditures?
In a state which ranks fifth in the country in per capita wealth, Maryland's expenditures on higher education are not even in the top half of American states. In fact, in 1997, Maryland ranked 33rd…
Class Dismissed: Higher Education vs. Corrections During the Wilson Years
An increase in funding for Higher Education represents a step in the right direction, but this is an unusual year in that California had a 4 billion-dollar surplus at the end of the 1997-1998 budget.
From Classrooms to Cell Blocks: A National Perspective
Americans will soon be forced to spend their tax-free education funds on an ineffective, costly criminal justice system.