About the Safety and Justice Program
The RAND Safety and Justice Program conducts research on topics related to public safety and the performance of the U.S. criminal justice system for federal law enforcement and other agencies, urban police departments, and other clients. Policy and research areas include policing, law enforcement, and corrections; crime, gangs, and violence prevention; drug abuse and drug policy; administration of justice, law, courts, and governance; and occupational and transportation safety.
Featured Research: California's Prisons
With the health care safety net in California under stress from the state's continuing financial crisis, jurisdictions across the state face unprecedented challenges caring for the health and social service needs of people released from state prisons.
PRGS professors Greg Ridgeway and Lois Davis joined senior California officials at a recent RAND Policy Forum to discuss "California's Prisoners Dilemma": how cash-strapped local governments can meet the basic medical needs of the thousands of early-release prisoners.
Selected News and Publications
Due to budget concerns the federal government just shut down a critical data source that provides insights into abuse, dependence on, and spending on heroin and other hard drugs like crack and methamphetamine.
Each year, drug users in the United States spend on the order of $100 billion on cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. This has been stable over the decade, but there have been important shifts. In 2000, users spent much more on cocaine than marijuana; in 2010, the opposite was true.
Large states cut spending on prison education programs by an average of 10 percent between the 2009 and 2012 fiscal years, while medium-sized states cut spending by 20 percent. While the drop appears to have resulted from budget cuts prompted by the economic downturn, evidence suggests that the curtailment of prison education could increase prison system costs in the longer term.
In Washington state, marijuana consumption likely will range from 135 to 225 metric tons during 2013. Understanding the current market should help state policymakers with decisions about the number of marijuana sales licenses to issue, to project tax revenues, and provide a foundation for assessments of legalization.
A comprehensive literature review enabled the examination of the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment upon release from prison, and the cost-effectiveness of correctional education.
There are two sides of the debate over whether or not state and local enforcement of federal immigration laws is effective and appropriate.