End Mass Incarceration Now

This May 25, 2014 Op Ed in the New York Times
doesn’t mince words. Speaking of America’s
politically-driven penchant for prisons, the Times
states unequivocally: “The insanity of the situation
is plain to people across the political spectrum…
The research is in, and it is uncontestable. The American
Experiment in mass incarceration has been a moral, legal,
social and economic disaster. It cannot end soon enough.”
New York Times Op Ed
May 26, 2014

A new white paper from the Vera Institute’s Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice is a must-read for criminal justice professionals entering the world of social impact bond and pay-for-success financing for criminal justice. The publication provides guidance on some of the more complicated areas of cost-benefit analysis in criminal justice such as measuring social benefits and addressing data limitations.

Advancing the Quality of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Programs
Vera Institute of Justice
March 2014

A Rare Opportunity on Criminal Justice

A seminal March 15, 2014 editorial in the New York Times documents the bipartisan national recognition of a changing tide in U.S. opinion on criminal justice reform.

Read Article

Why America Has A Mass Incarceration Problem, While Germany and the Netherlands Don’t

Reporter Mike Riggs of  The Atlantic Cities provides a stark look at how the U.S. prison system differs from those in Germany and the Netherlands.

“Resocialization and rehabilitation, says Riggs, are central to the Dutch and German models, whereas the American model focuses on retribution and isolation from society. In addition to having more humane prison conditions and shorter sentences, America’s European counterparts have laws governing solitary confinement – “it cannot exceed in any given year four weeks in Germany and two weeks in the Netherlands per individual offender.”

You can read Riggs’ enlightening, and disturbing,  article here. 

Background on New York’s 2013 Criminal Justice SIB

“Investing in What Works” is a must-read for anyone interested in SIB development. The report provides a concise explanation of the infrastructure used to develop a New York State criminal justice SIB focused on reducing recidivism by increasing employment opportunities for ex-offenders. The report outlines the steps taken by the provider, the Center for Employment Opportunities “CEO,” and Social Finance, the intermediary retained to raise the necessary funding. This report answers many of the questions which professionals new to the SIB world will raise, including queries about metrics, control groups, random control components, and performance-based payments.

Investing in What Works:
“Pay for Success” in New York State
March 2014

The Past, Present, and Future of Mass Incarceration
in the United States

In this report, Marie Gottschalk  takes a candid and deep look at troubling statistics and trends in mass incarceration in the United States in this 2011 paper published by the American Society of Criminology. Surveying historic trends, Gottschalk provides answers as to how US. Prison have grown so large, and what effects mass incarceration is having on our most vulnerable communities. Of particular interest is Gottschalk’s description of the “now deeply institutionalized debt collection regime” that pervades the U.S. criminal justice system. Penal fines and fees are added to child support, restitution, and other encumbrances which, she asserts, makes it almost impossible for stigmatized ex-offenders to make their way back into society.

Marie Gottschalk, University of Pennsylvania
Criminology and Public Policy, Volume 10 Issue 3