Sentencing Reform

Our new research brief, “Incarceration & Crime: A Weak Relationship,” highlights how 46 U.S. states have reduced both incarceration and crime levels in the past decade. The brief also notes the limited contribution of mass incarceration to the historic crime drop since the 1990s.

This evidence underscores the fact that we don’t have to return to a punitive playbook in the face of recent crime upticks.

Sentencing Reform

Key Publications

There may be those who make the argument that someone has been incarcerated so long that they cannot function in society, so they should remain in prison. Shame on us if we’ve incarcerated someone so long that it becomes a reason why they need to continue to be incarcerated. Shame on us if we’re not preparing people to come out into society.

Andrew Hundley
Executive Director of the Louisiana Parole Project

Oversight Hearing on Clemency and the Office of the Pardon Attorney

Senior Fellow William “Bill” Underwood testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the need for Congress to provide more opportunities for second chances for people serving extreme sentences.


Why Are We Incarcerating Domestic Violence Survivors?

This webinar reflects on how the growth of mass incarceration drives the criminalization of survivors of domestic violence.

Click here to watch.


Sentencing Reform

Prison sentences are longer and imprison more people in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Modern use of mass incarceration began 50 years ago leading to an unprecedented and expensive prison build up, inadequate investment in social structures, limited improvement in public safety, and the upheaval of families and communities, particularly for Black and brown Americans. Help us spread the word on social media about ending mass incarceration to advance racial justice and to create a criminal legal system rooted in justice.

  • Over half

    Over half of the U.S. prison population is serving a sentence of 10 years or longer.

  • 1 in 7

    people in U.S. prisons are serving a life sentence.

  • 475%

    The number of imprisoned women increased from 26,000 in 1980 to 153,000 in 2020—a 475% increase.

Get involved

The COVID-19 Safer Detention Act and the First Step Implementation Act

Two bipartisan bills have the potential to reduce mass incarceration, reunite families, and better guarantee the health and safety of the federally incarcerated population.

Take action