Winning New Safety
Priorities, State by State

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The Truth About Crime and Incarceration

Research shows that increased incarceration does not make us safer and long prison sentences are ineffective as a crime control measure. So why do we spend billions of dollars on something that doesn’t work? Learn more about the dangerous myth that more prisons means more public safety.

What You Invest In Grows

Prison spending has grown seven times faster than funding for higher education over the past three decades. With the money we spend on incarceration each year, every kid could attend pre-school for free or we could eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities. Rather than continuing to invest in failed policies that waste lives and taxpayer dollars, let’s invest in families and our future. #SchoolsNotPrison

Safety and Justice in the States

The U.S. prison population has increased nearly 700 percent since 1972. Incarceration now costs more than $80 billion annually. For most states, increased prison spending has outpaced other investments that can help prevent crime and improve community health. Select a state to learn more about its imprisonment rate and see a comparison of corrections spending to education spending. More comparisons to come!

  • Data sources: Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Prisoner Series, National Association of State Budget Officers’ State Expenditure Report, and The Sentencing Project’s The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons

New Safety Priorities

Despite dramatic increases in prison spending, too many communities impacted by crime lack protection or help. It’s time for new safety priorities that replace prison waste with crime prevention, survivor support, rehabilitation, and community health.

Snapshots of Our State Partners

In many states, momentum for change is building. Community leaders, crime survivors, lawmakers, formerly incarcerated people, law enforcement and more are joining together to advance reform. Alliance for Safety and Justice is developing partnerships in states across the nation. Select a state below to get more information about safety and justice policy, the reform efforts emerging and our partners.

California is building on major reforms such as Public Safety Realignment, Prop 36, and Prop 47 to further reduce incarceration and invest in prevention and treatment.
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Bipartisan legislation to reform mandatory minimum sentencing in Florida is an important first step toward reducing the third largest state prison population.
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Policymakers and stakeholders are developing a plan to safely reduce the Illinois prison population 25 percent by 2025.
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To build on successful reforms to mandatory minimum sentencing, Michigan can expand parole opportunities for people who pose a low risk to public safety.
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Ohio's prison population continues to increase despite legislation aimed at slowing growth, indicating a need for more comprehensive reform.
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Corrections reforms and treatment investments have slowed prison growth in Texas, but opportunities remain to reduce the nation’s highest prison population.
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