Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative
Aug 18, 2014
Challenged by high costs and concerns that the U.S. corrections sector is not achieving its goals, there has been a growing focus on approaches to reform and improve the sector's performance. To contribute to the policy debate on its future, RAND interviewed a group of prominent correctional practitioners, consultants, and academics. This report outlines their perspectives on the current state of corrections and their vision for the future.
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Challenged by high costs and concerns that the U.S. corrections sector is not achieving its goals, there has been a growing focus on approaches to reform and improve the sector's performance. Policies initiated during the tough-on-crime era led to aggressive prosecution, lengthier sentences, and an exploding correctional population. In recent years, the corrections sector has been gradually shifting toward efforts to provide treatment, alternatives to incarceration, and enhanced programs to facilitate offender reentry. Although judicial and policy decisions and public attitudes toward crime and sentencing determine the corrections population and the resources available for staffing and reform, the sector has a unique perspective and therefore can provide critical insight regarding what is working, what is not, and how things should be. To contribute to the policy debate on the future of the corrections sector, researchers interviewed a group of prominent correctional practitioners, consultants, and academics. This report outlines their perspectives on the current state of corrections and their vision for the future. These experts were specifically asked how they would redesign the corrections sector to better serve the country's needs. The findings offer both an assessment of what is and is not working now and potential solutions to better achieve justice policy goals going forward.
The research described in this report was prepared for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and conducted by the Justice Policy Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.
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