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.

  • Prisoners gather around a computer following a graduation ceremony from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California April 20, 2015

    Report

    Higher Education Programs in Prison Reduce Recidivism

    Aug 28, 2019

    Evidence shows that correctional education programs are effective—and cost-effective—at improving employment outcomes for participants and at helping to keep them from returning to prison. But given limited budgets, how can the long-term funding of these programs be sustained?

  • A woman taking a call in prison, photo by Thinkstock Images/Getty Images

    Report

    Many Detainees with Mental Illness Could Be Safely Diverted to Community Care

    Jan 7, 2020

    In June 2019, more than 5,500 people in Los Angeles County jails were in mental health housing units and/or were taking psychotropic medications. Based on legal and clinical factors, 61 percent of these individuals were likely eligible for release into community-based treatment.

Explore Corrections

  • A man is hand-cuffed by the New York Police Department before New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square

    Journal Article

    Previously Removed Immigrants Are More Likely to Be Rearrested After Leaving Jail

    Unauthorized immigrants who previously have been removed from the United States are more than 2.5 times more likely to be rearrested after leaving jail, and are likely to be rearrested much more frequently than those who have never been removed.

    Dec 16, 2014

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs official arrests an undocumented immigrant

    Commentary

    Prior Removal and Recidivism

    President Obama's executive action on immigration includes a new program that targets immigration enforcement at those arrested for more serious offenses and those deemed to be risks to national security. Research shows that unauthorized immigrants who have been previously deported are more likely to be rearrested after jail release, so local public safety interests and federal immigration enforcement priorities may well align around immigrants with a record of prior removal.

    Dec 11, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Community Justice Center in San Francisco Is Associated with Lower Rearrest Rates

    San Francisco opened the Community Justice Center in 2009 to serve the city's Tenderloin district and adjacent neighborhoods. Those arrested for an eligible offense in the Center catchment area after it opened were 8.9 to 10.3 percent less likely to be rearrested within one year.

    Oct 8, 2014

  • A gavel and handcuffs

    Report

    Community Justice Center in San Francisco Is Associated with Lower Rearrest Rates

    San Francisco opened the Community Justice Center in 2009 to serve its Tenderloin district and adjacent neighborhoods. Those arrested for an eligible offense in the Center catchment area after it opened were 8.9 to 10.3 percent less likely to be rearrested within one year.

    Oct 8, 2014

  • Offenders read and write papers inside the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary library located in the Darrington Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison in Rosharon, Texas

    Commentary

    Using Education to Stop the Prison Revolving Door

    Providing education and vocational training to inmates is a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism rates, thus shrinking prison populations and easing the strain on prison budgets. Education is far less expensive than incarceration.

    Sep 30, 2014

  • An adult classroom

    Commentary

    The State of Washington and Its Focus on Rehabilitation

    California can learn a great deal from the state of Washington, which has implemented a series of reforms focused on rehabilitation—on diverting offenders to treatment and other options and making serving time in prison the last option.

    Sep 16, 2014

  • Yes and no boxes on a clipboard

    Commentary

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

    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.

    Sep 5, 2014

  • Report

    Report

    Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2012–2013 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.

    Aug 8, 2014

  • Report

    Report

    Phase 2 report from the payment by results Social Impact Bond pilot at HMP Peterborough

    This report is the second from the evaluation of the Social Impact Bond pilot at Peterborough prison. Based on stakeholder interviews it looks at the operation of the pilot over the last four years.

    Jul 18, 2014

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Commencement Weekend Policy Dialogue on Criminal Justice

    In this podcast, recorded during the Pardee RAND Graduate School’s 2014 commencement weekend, Susan L. Marquis, the school’s dean, moderates a policy discussion on criminal justice with a panel of experts.

    Jun 20, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Is Multisystemic Therapy (MST) Effective for Hispanic Youth? An Evaluation of Outcomes for Juvenile Offenders in Los Angeles County

    Multisystemic Therapy improves outcomes for Hispanic youth in the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system. Although initial program costs are high, decreased criminal justice costs over time for high-risk youth could eventually outweigh them.

    Jun 17, 2014

  • Serving Time or Wasting Time?

    Infographic

    Correctional Education Can Make a Difference

    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 are more likely to find a job, and the social stability that comes with it, after their release. Every dollar invested in correctional education saves nearly five in reincarceration costs over three years.

    May 22, 2014

  • Report

    Report

    Substance Use Treatment and Reentry (STAR) Program: Final Evaluation Report

    Homeboy Industries, Inc., collaborated with Behavioral Health Services, Inc., and the RAND Corporation to provide recovery services to newly released juvenile offenders in Los Angeles through the Substance Use Treatment and Reentry (STAR) Program.

    Apr 28, 2014

  • a man holding a book on his lap

    Commentary

    Sending Prisoners to College Will Save You Money

    Correctional education works for states because it saves money and shrinks prison populations. It works for prisoners, the public, law enforcement, and the judicial system because educated prisoners are less likely to return to their criminal ways once released.

    Apr 11, 2014

  • prisoner graduating holding a diploma

    Report

    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn

    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.

    Mar 18, 2014

  • man being arrested for drunk driving after an accident

    Commentary

    California's Misguided Approach

    Despite the frequency with which people are convicted of multiple DUI offenses, California continues to require that all individuals with a DUI attend a 30- or 60-hour education program. However, these programs aren't that effective.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • Pencil and notebook with crumpled paper

    Research Brief

    How Correctional Education Could Move Forward

    Correctional education improves the chances that inmates released from prison will not return and may improve their chances of postrelease employment. A survey of U.S. state correctional education directors and a review of programs offers recommendations for improving correctional education.

    Mar 4, 2014

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

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

    In this February 2014 Congressional Briefing, Lois M. Davis shares results from a new RAND study on correctional education, conducted for the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice and funded under the Second Chance Act of 2007.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn; More Work Is Needed to Better Focus Spending

    State-level spending on prison education programs declined sharply during the economic downturn, with the sharpest drop occurring in states that incarcerate the most prisoners.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Effectiveness of Multisystemic Therapy for Minority Youth: Outcomes Over 8 Years in Los Angeles County

    This paper examines juvenile justice outcomes and costs for 757 Multisystemic Therapy (MST) participants and 380 comparison group youth over an 8-year period in Los Angeles County.

    Jan 1, 2014