Punishment

Sentencing decisions—from community orders in the UK to mental health courts, mandatory minimum sentences, and "three strikes" laws in the United States—are increasingly under the microscope to lower crime rates and reduce recidivism. RAND has conducted evaluations of specific sentencing and corrections policies since well before the first three-strikes laws passed in 1994, and has reported on the costs and benefits of various sentencing laws, including whether they do in fact reduce crime.

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    Project

    Crime and Justice Research at RAND Europe

    Using evidence-based analysis to help inform policymaking both in the UK and internationally, RAND Europe offers insights into a variety of issues from the size of illicit markets to how to tackle serious organised crime and reoffending.

    Sep 2, 2020

  • Scales of justice in front of computer monitors with code

    Commentary

    The Intersection of Algorithms and an Individual's Rights

    Data collection, and our reliance on it, have evolved extremely rapidly. The resulting algorithms have proved invaluable for organizing, evaluating and utilizing information. How do individuals' rights come in to play, when data about their lives is compiled to create algorithms, and the resulting tools are applied to judge them?

    Sep 29, 2017

  • A man being arrested for drug possession

    Commentary

    Should California Drop Criminal Penalties for Drug Possession?

    Californians have a lot to consider when it comes to decriminalizing possession. But now is the time for a rigorous discussion about removing criminal penalties for drug possession, rather than rushing to judgment in the heat of a future election season.

    Jul 20, 2017

  • News Release

    News Release

    Too Little Evidence Available to Determine Cost Savings of Crime Reform Initiative for Los Angeles County

    While a California ballot initiative reducing penalties for some criminal offenses promised to save local governments money, quantifying such savings will require significant changes in the way local agencies track workloads.

    Jun 15, 2017

  • Man opening a black box with a light inside

    Commentary

    No Company Should Be Able to Keep You from Checking Your Government's Math

    Data and computer models are becoming more and more important for making policy decisions on everything from prison sentences to tax bills. But citizens should be able to “check the math” on decisions that affect them.

    Jan 18, 2017

  • Handcuffed man standing in a courtroom

    Commentary

    Drug Dependence: Treatment Over Incarceration

    Drug dependence imposes significant costs to society and traditional criminal justice responses like imprisonment do not reduce crime. More quality research on alternative sanctions could help police, prosecutors, and judges expand their options while helping users get treatment.

    Oct 3, 2016

  • News Release

    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 deaths. The associations were most evident among causes of death related to excessive alcohol use, such as circulatory conditions.

    Feb 9, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • inmates outside the Orleans Parish Prison

    Commentary

    New Approach to Prison and the War on Drugs

    If you want to reduce cocaine consumption and drug-related crime, you get more bang for the buck if you put money into treatment rather than paying for the increase in incarceration produced by federal mandatory minimum sentences, writes Beau Kilmer.

    Aug 13, 2013

  • Teens working together at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

    Commentary

    Advancing Social Outcomes: Private Investors Could Be Part of the Solution

    Under a Social Impact Bond, private investors — rather than the government — provide up-front funding for programs that tackle such challenges as recidivism or homelessness. If these programs succeed, the government pays some of the savings back to the investors.

    May 14, 2013

  • Yasser Esam Hamdi in Camp X-ray, Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Cuba, April 4, 2002

    Commentary

    A Final Word on the NDAA

    While I have no doubt of Levin's determination to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens, incremental adjustments and seemingly small compromises, each sensible under the circumstances, can have a cumulative effect that erodes the very liberty we are trying to protect, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 7, 2012

  • President Barack Obama receives the Presidential Daily Briefing from Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration, in the Oval Office, Jan. 31, 2012

    Commentary

    The NDAA Makes It Harder to Fight Terrorism

    Much of the debate over this bill has focused on the political issue of executive authority versus rule of law. In doing so it has overlooked the indirect and insidious effects the new law may have on the United States' largely successful counterterrorist campaign, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Feb 1, 2012

  • A statue of Themis holding the scales of justice

    Content

    RAND Institute for Civil Justice

    The RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ), a part of the Justice Policy program, conducts research on all aspects of civil justice, from trends in litigation and jury verdicts to punitive damages, compensation systems, and alternative dispute resolution. Directly or indirectly, civil justice issues have an impact on us all.

    Oct 3, 2011

  • News Release

    News Release

    Mental Health Courts Have the Potential to Save Taxpayers Money, RAND Study for CSG Justice Center Finds

    March 1, 2007 news release: Mental Health Courts Have the Potential to Save Taxpayers Money, RAND Study for CSG Justice Center Finds.

    Mar 1, 2007

  • People