Public Safety Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access Public Safety research and analysis that is relevant to current Congressional agendas. For additional information, to request documents, or to arrange a briefing, contact the RAND Office of Congressional Relations at or (703) 413-1100 x5395.

Recent Findings

  • Commentary

    The Allure of ISIS for Young Recruits

    Mar 20, 2015

    Poverty and oppression may explain why people in some countries embrace violent extremism, but it does not account for the flow of Western volunteers or the dreamy allure of fighting for a faraway cause. Biographies of those who have reached out to participate in jihad suggest a variety of motives, including alienation, personal crises, dissatisfaction with empty spiritual lives, and adolescent rebellion.

  • Commentary

    When It Comes to Police-Community Relations, “Expect What You Inspect”

    Mar 17, 2015

    As the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing report suggests, local governments should evaluate police on more than crime statistics, and police departments and officers should be held publicly accountable for meeting the community's expectations. Adding new dimensions of performance metrics would help.

  • Report

    Visions of Law Enforcement Technology in the Future

    Mar 16, 2015

    The Law Enforcement Futuring Workshop identified ten possible future scenarios and 30 high-priority technology needs for law enforcement based on consideration of current and future trends in society, technology, and law enforcement.

  • Commentary

    To Serve and Collect? Police Department Funding, Effectiveness, and Legitimacy

    Mar 16, 2015

    Like so many issues in public policy, one of the factors shaping the complex policing challenges facing America—and a potential lever to help address them—is simple and unsurprising. That factor is money.

  • Commentary

    Want Better Policing? Bring on the Horses

    Mar 10, 2015

    Neighborhood patrols by mounted police in the UK are associated with comparatively higher levels of public trust and confidence than patrols by police on foot. Members of the public engage with mounted police over six times as much as they engage with police on foot.


  • Correctional Education: How Effective Is It and What Can We Do to Make It Better?

    Feb 18, 2014

    Ex-offenders do not have the knowledge and skills to support a successful return to their communities. Trying to reduce re-incarceration rates is partly why states devote resources to educating and training individuals while in prison. Lois Davis will present results from a comprehensive RAND study on the effectiveness of correctional education.

  • Marijuana Legalization: What We Know and What We Don't

    Jul 17, 2012

    This November, voters in multiple states will be asked to consider propositions concerning decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. Join RAND experts for a panel discussion on marijuana laws and policies at both the state and federal level.

  • Prisoner Reentry and Public Health: Is Your State Ready?

    Jun 21, 2012

    Lois Davis discusses prisoner reentry—how health affects reentry into a community; the critical roles that health care providers, other social services, and family members play in successful reentry; and recommendations for improving access to care for this population in the current fiscal environment.

  • Police Departments' Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

    Jul 20, 2011

    In this July 2011 Congressional Briefing, Lois Davis discusses adjustments made by law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counterterrorism and homeland security capabilities, and the new funding challenges faced by police departments since 9/11.

  • Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

    Mar 14, 2011

    This briefing will focus on how governments and nongovernmental organizations can work together to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends alerts and newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about public safety issues.

  • Improving Community-Police Relations in Ferguson's Wake

    Oct 6, 2014

    While the Ferguson incident serves as a flashpoint for heated discussion, policymakers representing areas facing similar tensions should not delay their own serious examination of potential policing problems and the pursuit of effective solutions. RAND provides objective analysis and offers effective solutions for police and community leaders.

  • RAND Experts Available to Discuss Hurricane and Natural Disaster Preparedness

    Aug 26, 2014

    Although this year's hurricane season has been mild, communities should not be lulled into a false sense of security. Experts from the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute are available to discuss how communities can best prepare for and recover from hurricanes.

  • Lessons for Marijuana Legalization from Alcohol and Tobacco Regulation

    May 29, 2014

    It is one thing for a jurisdiction to decide that it no longer supports the prohibition of marijuana; it is another to figure out how to establish and regulate a legal market. RAND researchers examined some of the issues that have to be considered when establishing a market.

  •'s Redesign: New Homepage and Navigation Optimization for All Devices

    Mar 20, 2014 has been reimagined to make high quality research and insights more accessible to Hill staff like you. The new homepage and updated navigation optimize content delivery for your preferred device and place our most timely content at your fingertips.

  • Drugs and Drug Policy in America: What's Next for Policymakers?

    Mar 13, 2014

    RAND has research and experts available to provide information for policymakers preparing legislation related to drug policy. Topics include substance use and trends, marijuana policy, drug treatment programs, prevention strategies, economics of drugs markets, and more.

  • Predictive Policing: An Effective Tool, but Not a Crystal Ball

    Jan 16, 2014

    As policymakers and governments attempt to trim budgets, methods that might help police solve crimes with fewer resources are needed. “Predictive policing” uses statistical techniques to identify promising targets for police intervention with the goals of preventing crimes, solving past ones, and identifying potential offenders and victims.

  • Is Correctional Education Cost Effective?

    Sep 16, 2013

    Prison inmates who receive general education and vocational training are significantly less likely to return to prison after release and are more likely to find employment than peers who do not receive such opportunities.

  • Firearms, Gun Control, and the Science on Gun Research

    Mar 4, 2013

    With Congress beginning to consider several gun policy bills and executive actions in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, RAND researchers look at what the current state of research can tell us about gun policy and mental health.

  • SOTU Policy Preview

    Feb 11, 2013

    Preparing for the State of the Union address? Here is a preview of topics from President Obama's inaugural address that he may cover on Tuesday night, along with helpful links to related RAND analyses, reports, and commentary.

  • Gun Safety, Community Recovery, and Student Mental Health

    Jan 23, 2013

    As lawmakers grapple with how to best implement laws that would ensure that a tragedy like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School never happens again, RAND experts describe what we know and what we don't about firearm-related deaths in the United States and offer insights into mental health and community recovery.

  • Surveying the Drug Policy Landscape: A Non-Partisan Primer

    Oct 26, 2012

    In just over a week, voters in three states—Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—will decide whether to legalize the production, distribution, and possession of marijuana. Passage would be historic as no modern jurisdiction has ever fully removed the prohibitions on marijuana for recreational purposes and allowed it to be taxed and regulated like alcohol.

  • Looking at the Issues Surrounding Marijuana Legalization

    Aug 2, 2012

    Three states (Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) will have marijuana legalization measures on the ballot this November. But legalization is more complex than just a single "yes" or "no" proposition—it is a whole series of questions.

  • How Much Does Your Lawyer Affect the Outcome of Your Case?

    Feb 23, 2012

    Since April 1993, every fifth murder defendant in Philadelphia has been randomly assigned at the preliminary arraignment to the public defender, while the other four were assigned appointed private counsel. This allowed researchers to isolate the effects of representation types in cases from 1994 to 2005.


2010 and prior

June 11, 2010
Public Health Implications of Prisoner Reentry in California

Lois M. Davis

Testimony presented before the California State Assembly, Select Committee on Re-Entry.

Testimony unavailable — oral remarks only.

April 14, 2010
An Assessment of the Scientific Support Underlying the FY2011 Budget Priorities of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy.

March 18, 2010
Public Health Implications of Prisoner Reentry in California

Lois M. Davis

Testimony presented before the California State Assembly, Select Committee on Re-Entry.

Testimony unavailable — oral remarks only.

April 30, 2009
Summary of the RAND Report on NYPD's Stop, Question, and Frisk

Greg Ridgeway

Testimony presented before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Civil Rights.

March 12, 2008
What Research Tells Us About the Reasonableness of the Current Priorities of National Drug Control

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy.

February 20, 2008
Investigating the Costs of the Death Penalty in California: Insights for Future Data Collection from a Preliminary RAND Effort

Susan S. Everingham

Testimony presented before the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice.

January 4, 2007
Nanomaterials in the Workplace: A Summary of the RAND Policy and Planning Workshop on Occupational Safety and Health

Eric Landree

Testimony presented to Public Meeting on Research Needs Related to the Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanoscale Materials.

March 17, 2005
School-Based Drug Prevention and Other Strategies For Reducing Drug Use

Susan M. Paddock

Testimony presented to the Oregon State Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

February 10, 2005
An Assessment of ONDCP's Budget Concept

Peter H. Reuter

Testimony presented to the House Committee on Government Reform.

June 1, 2001
School Violence Prevention

Jaana Juvonen

Testimony presented to the California State Assembly Select Committee on School Safety.

June 15, 2000
Should the U.S. Direct More Law Enforcement Effort at XTC?

Jonathan P. Caulkins

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives.

April 4, 2000
Testimony on Drug Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration

Martin Y. Iguchi

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.

February 17, 2000
What Is SAMHSA Doing to Help Communities Make Good Decisions About the Allocation of Scarce Treatment Resources?

Martin Y. Iguchi

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.

October 21, 1999
Effects of Substance Abuse Parity in Private Insurance Plans Under Managed Care

Roland Sturm

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.