Resources

The following are resources and links that discuss the criminal justice system and many smart justice reforms. We attempt to keep the links current. Please contact us if a link is no longer accurate or working so that we can correct it.

Alternatives to Incarceration

  • Brennan Center for Justice:The Brennan Center’s Justice Program seeks to create a rational and effective criminal and civil justice system that treats all people fairly and equally by reducing mass incarceration, closing the justice gap, and ensuring racial equality within these systems.
  • Center for Court Innovations: Provides reviews and research related to many alternatives to incarceration and comprehensive support services.
  • Municipal Research and Services Center for Washington: Provides information and links to county and city criminal justice programs in Washington.
  • Justice Policy Institute (JPI): JPI is dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies. JPI envisions a society with safe, equitable, and healthy communities; just and effective solutions to social problems; and the use of incarceration only as a last resort.
  • Pew Center on the States, Prison Count: Identifies reasons why alternatives to incarceration can reduce the prison population.

Cost of Incarceration and Alternatives to Incarceration

  • Center for Economic and Policy Research: The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration, June 2010. “In 2008, federal, state, and local governments spent about $75 billion on corrections, the large majority of which was spent on incarceration” (p. 2).
  • Pew Center on the States: State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons, April 2011. “The national average cost per day to house an inmate is $78.95. This is “more than 20 times the cost of a day on probation” (p. 6).
  • Washington State Institute of Public Policy: Conducts research and publishes reports on the cost-benefit analysis of alternatives to incarceration and comprehensive support services.
  • The Human Toll of Jail, Vera Institute of Justice.

Drug Courts

Legal Financial Obligations

Mental Illness

Non-Violent Offenders

  • Center for Economic and Policy Research, “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration”:
    • 8 % of individuals incarcerated in 2008 (1,424,238 people) were incarcerated in jails or state or federal prison for non-violent offenses (p. 9).
    • “Arrests and convictions for drug offenses have increased dramatically over the last three decades, with non-violent drug offenders now accounting for about one-fourth of all offenders behind bars” (p. 8).
    • “Reducing the number of non-violent offenders in our prisons and jails by half would lower [the cost to taxpayers] by $16.9 billion per year, with the largest share of these savings accruing to financially squeezed state and local governments” (p. 2).

Number of Individuals Incarcerated

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics: Provides many reports and publications related to criminal justice statistics. In 2010, 2,266,800 individuals were incarcerated in the United States in local jails or in state or federal prisons.
  • Center for Economic and Policy Research, The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration: “The United States … incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country in the world.” In 2008-09, it was estimated that the incarceration rate in the U.S. was 753 individuals per 100,000, which “was three times higher than the country with the next-highest incarceration rate, Poland, with a rate of 224.” By way of contrast, Iceland’s rate is 44/100,000 and Canada’s rate is 116/100,000 (pp. 1, 4).

Pretrial Services

Procedural Justice

Racial & Ethnic Disparity in Criminal Justice System

Restorative Justice

Recidivism

Pew Center on the States (State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door or America’s Prisons):

  • “Recidivism rates [for state prisoners] between 1994 and 2007 have consistently remained around 40 percent.” That means that 4 of 10 prisoners were returned to prison within 3 years of their initial release. Recidivism can be reduced by the use of “sophisticated risk assessments, meticulous reentry planning, and post-release supervision carefully tailored to each offender’s circumstances.” Oregon used these means to reduce recidivism to 22.8% (p. 2-3, 19-20).
  • Washington State released 8,093 inmates between 2004 and 2007 with a recidivism rate of 42.9% (p. 11).

Reentry

Research Based Criminal Justice Reforms

Sentencing

Spokane County