Crime and incarceration rates are down in the United States.
According to the Department of Justice Bureau of Statistics, the national violent and property crime rate has declined by 14.6 percent in the last five years. During that same time, the U.S. incarcerated population rate fell by 8.4 percent.
It appears that letting people out of prison doesn't necessarily increase crime.
BY THE NUMBERS
Ten states which experienced the largest imprisonment declines saw their crime rates fall 14 percent. These states have also seen the most prison reform. They offer low-level offenders alternatives to incarceration. They also support programs and legislation designed to reduce recidivism.
However, the ten states which had the biggest growth in prison population saw only a little over eight percent decline in crime.
"States are continuing to defy the common assumption that crime would keep shrinking only if prisons kept expanding," explains Adam Gelb, director of Pew's public safety performance project. "The numbers are showing that we can have less crime and less incarceration."
THE IMPACT OF PRISON REFORM
The Department of Justice's findings are encouraging to Prison Fellowship®.
"Since our founding 40 years ago, Prison Fellowship has worked to reform the way America uses incarceration," says Craig DeRoche, Prison Fellowship's senior vice president of advocacy and public policy. "This reports validates our work and the progress that we have made. It is a call to action to seek more evidence-based reforms in the states and federal government.
"The values of our faith have been demonstrated time and again to be effective in advancing justice that restores."
With Prison Fellowship active in all 50 states and in over a thousand prisons, we have seen lives transformed. With support and encouragement, many prisoners have been able to follow a positive path for the life that is full of purpose.
Prior to release, prisoners who participate in Prison Fellowship programs have a chance to learn responsibility, the value of hard work, and how to care for others and property. This helps the formerly incarcerated to thrive outside of prison and be successful.
To find out more about Prison Fellowship's outreach to prisoners and their families, visit "Our Approach" section. If you would like to volunteer with Prison Fellowship or make a donation, please visit our volunteer and donation pages.