More than half of US states have taken steps in the past decade to reduce the number of people under correctional control and control skyrocketing costs without jeopardizing public safety. Many of these states have supported this goal by investing money up front or reinvesting the money saved into policies intended to reinforce those goals. Typically, this has taken the form of strengthening law enforcement and correctional strategies. But simply reinvesting in the criminal justice system may not necessarily align with the needs of the community, and overusing police and prisons causes harm, particularly when concentrated in certain neighborhoods.
In contrast, neighborhoods are safer and experience less crime when residents are engaged and able to work toward shared goals. Local, community-based organizations strengthen neighborhoods by providing services and facilitating engagement. Some jurisdictions are pursuing community-based reinvestment strategies that channel public resources or savings from policy reforms to community organizations. Collaborating with community members and organizations to develop public safety strategies ensures that those directly affected have a voice in the process and can advocate for priority concerns.
About this project
The Urban Institute, with the support of the Public Welfare Foundation, is documenting strategies to achieve expansive, community-driven public safety investment and supporting jurisdictions interested in this model.
For more information about the project, explore results of a recent national poll and read our overview landscape brief, "Public Investment in Community-Driven Safety Initiatives: Landscape Study and Key Considerations."