Sound strategies for combating crime and promoting public safety

Our Issues

Our scholars conduct research and evaluations to improve justice policy and practice at the national, state, and local levels. We examine the development, implementation, and impact of policing, crime prevention, and gang disruption initiatives. As America’s prisons and jails face unsustainable growth and dangerous overcrowding, we are finding ways to reduce the prison population while preserving public safety. And we are assessing whether new and emerging criminal justice technologies are effective, how they are used, and what their implications are for privacy and civil liberties.

Our Approach

  • We work closely with governors and mayors, state and federal policymakers, police chiefs and corrections directors, and community groups and service pro­viders to improve public safety and find smarter ways to spend scarce criminal justice resources.
  • We conduct rigorous evaluations and in-depth data analyses—and we give context to the data through interviews with victims, perpetrators, and the practitioners who interact with these groups. This hands-on work allows us to hear from the people most affected by justice policy decisions and makes our findings more relevant and useful.
  • We use our knowledge of the federal, state, and local correctional systems to guide concrete, real-world solutions.
  • We produce reports and provide technical assistance that translate complex research into actionable strategies to enhance the safety and well-being of individuals and communities. 

Our Impact

The Justice Policy Center is best known for groundbreaking work on prisoner reentry. Our comprehensive studies of prisoners reentering society have played a major role in getting cities, states, and the federal government to invest in constructive interventions. Our findings have informed priorities for federal funding to states and localities in support of reentry programs and policies ensuring a safer return—from resources to combat health problems or substance abuse to programs that line up employment or education.

A Note about Language

We at the Justice Policy Center recognize that language has the power to impact people by either reaffirming their humanity or stigmatizing them in relation to particular experiences or conditions. As researchers, we acknowledge that our work presents both a responsibility and an opportunity to contribute to the language used in our field about the populations impacted by the policies and programs we study, as well as public discourse more broadly. Whenever possible, we aspire to use terms preferred by the people involved in our work. Moving forward, we consciously strive to choose words that respect the dignity of all individuals.