Equal Opportunity For All
End Mass Incarceration
Policy Library

Improve Public Safety And Reduce Incarceration Rates By Deepening Justice Reinvestment

American incarceration rates remain some of the highest in the world, even as crime rates have continued to decline nationwide. This mass incarceration is costing states billions of dollars and imposes incredible human costs, particularly on communities of color. There is widespread evidence that alternative approaches to criminal justice are not only more humane, but more effective—reducing the human cost that mass incarceration imposes, while providing a public safety dividend that can be used to improve the lives of all state residents. Numerous states have used evidence and data to reduce incarceration rates, and reinvest the money saved into strategies to reduce crime and recidivism and support communities.

The National Landscape

Passed in:

Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia (12), Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri (12), Mississippi (12), Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota (123), Nebraska (12), New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania (12), Rhode Island (123), South Carolina (12), South Dakota (12), Texas (1234), Utah (123), Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia (12)

In The News

“'If we reduce the level of incarceration, we can use the savings for mental health treatment,' said Del. Kathleen Dumais, a Montgomery County Democrat who led the fight for the justice reinvestment legislation in the House. 'That’s conceptually what we’re trying to do: Use the savings to help more people.'”
“More than 60% of people surveyed agreed that building more prisons and jails is not an effective means of improving the quality of life in their community, favoring strategies such as investment in youth programs, job training and community-based services.”


  • Prison and sentencing reform organizations and foundations
  • Criminal justice advocates


None noted
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The State Line


Who does this help?
This proposal serves the interest of all citizens by reducing state expenditures on incarceration , and redirecting the money saved to proven programs that advance public safety and support communities. As a result, it benefits everyone with an outsized benefit on communities of color and poor communities, which typically suffer the greatest human cost as a result of overly punitive sentencing laws and excessive incarceration rates.
Is this high-cost to the state?
No. By redirecting state funds from ineffective to effective criminal justice programs, it actually saves the state money.
Will this lead to an increase in crime?
No. Justice Reinvestment reforms are focused on improving public safety by targeting outdated policies that do do not reduce crime and instead redirecting funds to policies that have been shown through careful analysis to improve public safety outcomes.

Model Policy

Coming soon