Corrections

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Over two million adults are incarcerated in U.S. prisons, and each year more than 700,000 are released and return to communities. Within three years, 40 percent will be reincarcerated. RAND research has shown that correctional education programs improve inmates' future job prospects, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars. RAND also explores the juvenile justice system and innovations that can help corrections agencies respond more effectively in their role to protect the public.

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    Commentary

    If You Want Ex-Cons to Be 'Productive Members of Society,' Ban the Box

    Sep 5, 2014

    When an inmate is released, you often hear Americans say that he's “paid his debt” and can now become “a productive member of society.” But the reality is ex-cons pay for their crimes long after sentences end. On the outside, the stigma of incarceration makes it extremely difficult to land a job.

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    Report

    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn

    Feb 18, 2014

    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.

Explore Corrections

  • Man takes a breathalyzer test

    News Release

    Frequent Alcohol Testing Combined with Swift, Certain, and Modest Sanctions Is Associated with Drop in Mortality

    An innovative program that requires alcohol-involved offenders to abstain from alcohol and submit to frequent tests was associated with a 4 percent drop in mortality. The associations were most evident among causes of death related to excessive alcohol use, such as circulatory conditions.

    Feb 9, 2016

  • An open prison cell door

    Commentary

    Does Intervention or Investment Innovate? Social Impact Bonds at the Close of the Peterborough Prison Pilot

    There is limited evidence to support the assumption that social impact bonds offer a particularly effective way to spur innovation in service provision and will only have beneficial effects.

    Jan 25, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, January 12, 2016

    Blog

    State of the Union 2016: Insights on Obama's Last Address

    RAND research, analysis, and expertise provide context for many of the issues discussed in President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, including the threat of ISIS, global climate change, and bringing peace to Syria.

    Jan 13, 2016

  • Leader of a group of armed protesters Ammon Bundy talks to the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, January 8, 2016

    Commentary

    Oregon Standoff Shouldn't Have an Anti-Terrorism Twist

    Dwight and Steven Hammond were charged under a law enacted to fight terrorism, not rein in wayward ranchers. Anti-terrorist laws should not be used to strengthen prosecutors' hands in nonterrorist prosecutions—it makes national security needs look like an instrument of oppression.

    Jan 13, 2016

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2016

    This issue highlights RAND research findings on the effectiveness of correctional education in U.S. prisons; an exploration of how emerging technologies present an ongoing challenge to the criminal-justice community; and more.

    Jan 11, 2016

  • A student raises his hand during a class at the California Institution for Men in Chino, California

    Essay

    The Case for Correctional Education in U.S. Prisons

    Inmates who participate in any kind of educational program behind bars are up to 43 percent less likely to reoffend and return to prison. They also appear to be far more likely to find a job after their release.

    Jan 3, 2016

  • Jerome Boone shakes hands with members of the audience after graduating from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison in California, April 20, 2015

    Content

    The Impact of Correctional Education

    Policymakers are considering how to reduce mass incarceration in the United States. Correctional education programs can help reduce recidivism and improve post-release employment outcomes. This saves taxpayers money.

    Nov 10, 2015

  • Prisoner wearing handcuffs in a courtroom

    Commentary

    What's Next on the Convicted Terrorist's Timeline?

    As inmates near the end of their sentences for terrorism-related offenses, and with some individuals already freed, it's time to explore what considerations may be necessary.

    Nov 4, 2015

  • Offenders read books and write papers at a library in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison in Rosharon, Texas

    Content

    Correctional Education Policy Impact

    The impact of RAND's research into correctional education at a state, federal and international level.

    Sep 1, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Obama Commutes Sentences of 46 Drug Offenders. Now for the Hard Part

    Last month, President Obama commuted more sentences in a single day than any president since Lyndon Johnson. But commutation doesn't erase a criminal conviction.

    Aug 10, 2015

  • Soldiers escort Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman at the Navy's airstrip in Mexico City, February 22, 2014

    Commentary

    El Chapo's Prison Escape Should Come as No Surprise

    Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel and similar criminal organizations have long used tunnels to literally undermine security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Jul 24, 2015

  • Report

    Self-inflicted Deaths in NOMS' Custody Amongst 18–24 Year Olds: Staff Experience, Knowledge and Views

    This Report presents the findings of research into self-inflicted deaths in custody amongst 18-24 year olds in England and Wales. The research was undertaken in five UK prisons, and was commissioned by a national review examining deaths in custody.

    Jul 1, 2015

  • Report

    Public Safety Realignment in Twelve California Counties

    California legislation grants flexibility to counties in implementing public safety realignment. This report determines whether counties continued and expanded existing practices or took the opportunity to change correctional business as usual.

    Jun 29, 2015

  • Young man in handcuffs

    Report

    Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Report

    This annual report to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors outlines Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act success offering programs to high-need juvenile probationers and at-risk youth.

    Jun 24, 2015

  • Group of friends making a toast

    Commentary

    Could You Lose Your License to Drink?

    Criminal justice reform requires creating demand for bold ideas about simultaneously reducing incarceration and crime. Given the prominent role alcohol plays in crime — and the strong results from South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety program — suspending one's “license to drink” seems well worth considering.

    Jun 23, 2015

  • A man and his lawyer hear a ruling from a judge

    Journal Article

    Growing Support For a New Approach to Community Supervision

    Empirical support for the swift-certain-fair (SCF) approach to community supervision is growing. SCF provides an alternative to conventional community supervision programs (probation, parole, pretrial release) and may ultimately help reduce reoffending and the time participants spend behind bars.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • French special intervention police conduct a house-to-house search in Longpont, northeast of Paris, January 8, 2015

    Commentary

    Different Countries, Different Ways of Countering Terrorism

    France and the United States follow different approaches in dealing with terrorist suspects. This divergence reflects differences in the threat, historical experience, law, available resources, and public attitudes. France faces a more serious terrorist threat than the U.S. does.

    Mar 2, 2015

  • Criminal justice technology taxonomy web tool

    Tool

    Criminal Justice Technology Taxonomy Web Tool

    This tool presents a dynamic map populated by information on tools and practices that allow the user to explore the different areas of corrections technology and practice and to make comparisons between community and institutional corrections.

    Feb 2, 2015

  • News Release

    Options and Issues Regarding Marijuana Legalization in Vermont

    If Vermont chooses to remove its prohibition on producing and selling marijuana, lawmakers will have many choices to make about who will supply it, who can buy it, if and how it will be taxed, and how it will be regulated. There are pros and cons to all policy options as well as uncertainty about how different forms of legalization will affect public health and safety.

    Jan 16, 2015

  • Research Brief

    The Marijuana Legalization Debate: Insights for Vermont

    Marijuana policy should not be viewed as a binary choice between prohibition and the for-profit commercial model seen in Colorado and Washington. Legalization encompasses a wide range of possible regimes.

    Jan 16, 2015