Friday, September 21, 2018

This Tool Shows Exactly how to Reduce a State's Prison Population
"In the conversation around lowering the prison population in the United States–which incarcerates people at the highest rate in the world–one solution always floats to the top: decriminalizing drugs. In the U.S., police arrest around 1.5 million people per year on drug offenses, 80% of whom are detained for possession alone. Rolling back penalties for drug-related activities would allow the money saved on incarcerating people to instead go toward rehabilitation programs and mental health assistance, which have shown to be drastically more effective at addressing root causes of drug use than putting someone in a cage.
But would drug decriminalization substantially reduce the overall prison population? The question is more complicated than it seems when accounting for the radically different ways individual states incarcerate people....

To help policymakers at the state level understand the various levers they could pull to reduce their respective prison populations–and how effective those levers would be–the Urban Institute has released the Prison Population Forecaster, an interactive tool that models how different policies would impact state prison populations up until the year 2025...."



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