Reports 2023 and 2024

The Second Look Movement: A Review of the Nation’s Sentence Review Laws

The Sentencing Project, By Becky Feldman, May 15, 2024

Legislatures in 12 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government have enacted “second look” judicial review policies to allow judges to review sentences after a person has served a lengthy period of time.


Shadow Budgets: How mass incarceration steals from the poor to give to the prison

Prison Policy Initiative, By Brian Nam-Sonenstein, May 6, 2024

Revenues from communication fees, commissary purchases, disciplinary fines, and more flow into “Inmate Welfare Funds” meant to benefit incarcerated populations. However, our analysis of prison systems across the U.S. reveals that they are used more like slush funds that, in many cases, make society’s most vulnerable people pay for prison operations, staff salaries, benefits, and more.

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Mass Incarceration Trends (New Update)

The Sentencing Project, By Ashley Nellis, Ph.D., May 21, 2024

Report findings include:

  • Nearly two million people are living in prisons and jails instead of their communities. Compare this figure to the early 1970s when this count was 360,000 people.
  • Black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Latinx men are 2.5 times as likely.
  • One in 7 people in prison has a life sentence.
  • 4.4 million Americans are barred from voting due to laws restricting this right for those with felony convictions.

The social, moral, and fiscal costs associated with the large-scale, decades-long investment in mass imprisonment cannot be justified by evidence of its effectiveness. Misguided changes in sentencing law and policy – not crime – account for the majority of the increase in correctional supervision.

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Advancing Transgender Justice
Illuminating Trans Lives Behind and Beyond Bars

Vera Institute of Justice, February 20, 2024, By Kelsie Chesnut and Jennifer Peirce, Illustrated by Bea Hayward

Transgender people are especially at risk for contact with the criminal legal system and, once in detention, at risk of harassment and violence inside prison. According to a 2022 survey of LGBTQ+ people in the United States, 31 percent had been in some form of incarceration at some point in the last five years.

Read the Report

New data and visualizations spotlight states’ reliance on excessive jailing

Prison Policy Initiative, by Emily Widra, April 15, 2024

We've updated the data tables and graphics from our 2017 report to show just how little has changed in our nation's overuse of jails: too many people are locked up in jails, most detained pretrial and many of them are not even under local jurisdiction.

Pretrial policies have a warehousing effect
Renting jail space: a perverse incentive continues to fuel jail growth

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The steep cost of medical co-pays in prison puts health at risk

Prison Policy Initiative, by Wendy Sawyer, April 19, 2017

When we consider the relative cost of medical co-pays to incarcerated people who typically earn 14 to 62 cents per hour, it's clear they can be cost-prohibitive. Co-pays that take a large portion of your paycheck make seeking medical attention a costly choice.

In West Virginia, a single visit to the doctor would cost almost an entire month’s pay for an incarcerated person who makes $6 per month.

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Prison Policy Initiative, By Mike Wessler, March 2023

Over the last twenty years, advocates and regulators have successfully lowered the prices of prison and jail phone rates. While these victories garnered headlines and attention, the companies behind these services quietly regrouped and refocused their efforts.

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Fact Sheet: Californians Deserve Solutions to Retail Theft, Not Misinformation and Ineffective Policies

Vera factsheet, March, 2024

Reshaping the Narrative on Retail Theft

For months, the issue of retail theft has dominated California’s media and public discourse, despite a lack of data showing a meaningful increase statewide. Some elected officials have suggested carceral approaches to address the perception of increased retail theft, alongside moneyed efforts to overhaul Proposition 47, a popular initiative passed by California voters in 2014, which reclassified some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors and redirected public funds toward community-based services. Research shows that enacting harsher penalties and rolling back Proposition 47 won’t work.

Fact Sheet

Protect and Redirect: America’s Growing Movement to Divert Youth Out of the Justice System

The Sentencing Project, By Richard Mendel, March 20, 2024

Jurisdictions across the country are advancing reforms to expand and improve diversion, demonstrating diversion’s potential to transform youth justice in ways that protect public safety and enhance youth success.

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Research spotlight: equips the fight for accountability in jails and prisons


Prison Policy Initiative, by Brian Nam-Sonenstein, March 25, 2024

The United States' massive practice of incarceration goes almost entirely unchecked. This new resource aims to change that by centralizing news, educational resources, legislative updates, and more to support movements for independent corrections oversight.

Fortunately, is working to answer questions like these, providing critical resources to a movement for more oversight

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Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2024

Prison Policy Initiative, By Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner, March 14, 2024

Can it really be true that most people in jail are legally innocent? How much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs, or the profit motives of private prisons? Have popular reforms really triggered a crime wave? These essential questions are harder to answer than you might expect. The various government agencies involved in the criminal legal system collect a lot of data, but very little is designed to help policymakers or the public understand what’s going on.

Read More

How Mandatory Minimums Perpetuate Mass Incarceration and What to Do About It

The Sentencing Project Fact Sheet, By Ashley Nellis, Ph.D., February 14, 2024

Eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing laws is essential to creating a more just and equitable criminal justice system

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Private Prisons in the United States

The Sentencing Project, By Kristen M. Budd, Ph.D., February 21, 2024

Private for-profit prisons incarcerated 90,873 American residents in 2022, representing 8% of the total state and federal prison population. Since 2000, the number of people housed in private prisons has increased 5%.

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With Four Deaths in New Year Already, LA Jails Continue to Be Deadly in 2024

Vera, Sam McCann Senior Writer, Feb 07, 2024

Four people have died in Los Angeles County jails just over a month into the new year. Their deaths continue a deadly trend; 49 people have died in the system’s custody since the start of 2023.

What’s killing people in LA County jails?

Overcrowded facilities are the most significant single factor driving jail deaths in Los Angeles. The jail system has operated as high as 16.7 percent over capacity since the start of last year. This means that not only are the facilities physically crowded, but resources are also being stretched beyond their breaking point.

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Cheap Jail and Prison Food Is Making People Sick. It Doesn’t Have To.

Vera, by Elizabeth Allen Editorial Assistant, Feb 27, 2024

Penny-pinching on food services fleeces incarcerated people and their families and has adverse health impacts, all while lining the pockets of corporations. Better ways exist.

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You Can Make Your Campus More Welcoming to Justice-Involved Students

Vera Report, Feb, 2004

Reinstating Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students means that more than 760,000 people in prison will have an easier time affording college behind bars. However, the limited number of college-in-prison programs available means that many prospective students still cannot access it. In order to realize the full potential of this change, more schools across the United States must work toward creating college-in-prison programs and ensure that they are fostering supportive, welcoming environments for justice-involved students.

Read on to find five actions you can take to advocate for a more inclusive, equitable campus.

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Download PDF Toolkit

You Can Make Your Campus More Welcoming to Justice-Involved Students

Vera Report, Feb, 2004

Reinstating Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students means that more than 760,000 people in prison will have an easier time affording college behind bars. However, the limited number of college-in-prison programs available means that many prospective students still cannot access it. In order to realize the full potential of this change, more schools across the United States must work toward creating college-in-prison programs and ensure that they are fostering supportive, welcoming environments for justice-involved students.

Read on to find five actions you can take to advocate for a more inclusive, equitable campus.

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Download PDF Toolkit

Electronic Monitoring Is an Extension of Mass Incarceration

Vera, by Nazish Dholakia Senior Writer, Jan 30, 2024

New Vera report finds that the use of electronic monitoring—which perpetuates many of the harms of mass incarceration—has exploded in recent years.

The number of people on electronic monitoring has increased exponentially in recent years. A new Vera report estimates that, from 2005 to 2021, the number of people on electronic monitoring increased fivefold to more than 250,000. And, in 2022, nearly half a million people were on electronic monitoring—ten times the number of people on electronic monitoring in 2005.

“Unlike jail and prison data, there’s no federal effort to track even partial information on electronic monitoring,” said Jacob Kang-Brown, a senior research fellow at Vera and one of the report’s authors. “Many localities and states have no mechanism for reporting information out.”

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As California closes prisons, the cost of locking someone up hits new record at $132,860

Cal Matters, By Kristen Hwang And Nigel Duara, Jan. 23, 2024

The cost of imprisoning one person in California has increased by more than 90% in the past decade, reaching a record-breaking $132,860 annually, according to state finance documents. That’s nearly twice as expensive as the annual undergraduate tuition — $66,640 — at the University of Southern California, the most costly private university in the state.

California’s spending per inmate jumped steeply during the COVID-19 pandemic and it continued to increase despite recent cost-cutting moves, including Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent move to close three state prisons.

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A Matter of Time

The Case for Shortening Criminal Debt Collection Statutes of Limitations, a 50-State Survey

Vera Institute, January 2023

Read the Report

Dignity Principles
A Guide to Ensure the Humane Treatment of People in U.S. Carceral Settings

Vera Publication, January 2024

This set of principles serve as a guide to a field that is ever-changing. As the field changes, the principles will continue to adjust, taking into consideration the ways in which humanity and the needs within prisons also evolve.

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Going back to Cali: Revisiting California’s parole release system

Prison Policy Initiative, by Emmett Sanders, December 19, 2023

In 2019, we graded parole release systems across the US. Though no state performed particularly well, the 16 states that have mostly abolished discretionary parole since 1976 received our lowest grade, an F-. California was among them. Advocates from California asked us, however, to take a closer look at California’s parole system. Unlike other states that have abolished discretionary parole, California’s discretionary parole system since 2014 has significantly expanded eligibility for a large number of incarcerated people who meet certain criteria, and more become eligible each year.

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Winnable criminal justice reforms in 2024

Prison Policy Innitiative, By Sarah Staudt, November 2023

We list some high-impact policy ideas for state legislators and advocates who are looking to reform their criminal justice system without making it bigger.

  1. Expand alternatives to criminal legal system responses to social problems
    Redirect public funds to community organizations that provide social services
  2. Reduce the number of people entering the “revolving doors” of jails and prisons. Use alternatives to arrest and incarceration for all offenses that do not threaten public safety.
  3. Improve sentencing structures and release processes to encourage timely and successful releases from prison

Read More, along with the details!

Making the grade: New report grades states on their 2020 redistricting processes — including whether they ended prison gerrymandering

Report highlights growing bipartisan support for counting incarcerated people in their home communities.

Prison Policy Initiative, by Mike Wessler, November 9, 2023

A new report from CHARGE (the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting & Grassroots Engagement), a coalition of good-government groups working to improve the redistricting process, makes clear that ending prison gerrymandering has quickly gone from an emerging issue done by only a handful of states, to being among the gold-standard redistricting practices.

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The Impacts of College-in-Prison Participation on Safety and Employment in New York State:

An Analysis of College Students Funded by the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative

Vera Institute of Justice, November 2023

Key Takeaway:
College-in-prison programs reduce the risk of reconviction by two-thirds, while securing for students the numerous advantages inherent to education. Continued investment in postsecondary education in prisons is essential to unlock the myriad benefits to individuals, as well as to communities and public safety.

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2022-23 Annual Report
Probation Oversight Commission 

LARRP is proud to present this report of the Probation Oversight Commission. We have been integral in the founding of this Commission and are very invested in its continuing progress and efficacy.

See the Report

One in Five: Ending Racial Inequity in Incarceration

Prison Policy Initiative, By Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., October 11, 2023

One in five Black men born in 2001 is likely to experience imprisonment within their lifetime, a decline from one in three for those born in 1981. Pushback from policymakers threatens further progress in reducing racial inequity in incarceration.

Following a massive, four-decade-long buildup of incarceration disproportionately impacting people of color, a growing reform movement has made important inroads. The 21st century has witnessed progress both in reducing the U.S. prison population and its racial and ethnic disparities. The total prison population has declined by 25% after reaching its peak level in 2009.

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California: The State of Incarceration Data Hub County Fact Sheets

Seeking shelter from mass incarceration: Fighting criminalization with Housing First

by Brian Nam-Sonenstein, September 11, 2023

Providing unconditional housing with embedded services can reduce chronic homelessness, reduce incarceration, and improve quality of life – especially for people experiencing substance use disorder and mental illness.

Housing is one of our best tools for ending mass incarceration. It does more than put a roof over people’s heads; housing gives people the space and stability necessary to receive care, escape crises, and improve their quality of life. For this reason, giving people housing can help interrupt a major pathway to prison created by the criminalization of mental illness, substance use disorder, and homelessness.

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3 reports presented at there August 10th meeting of the Probation Oversight Commission:
  • Report on Electric Monitoring
  • Report on the Movement of Youth from Central Juvenile Hall (CJH) and Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall (BJNJH)
  • Progress update from the L.A. County Probation Oversight Commission on strategic planning goals, important topics, POC’s Model of Change, and staff recommended focus areas for the current fiscal year
Beyond Bars: A Path Forward from 50 Years of Mass Incarceration in the United States

Edited by the Sentencing Project,August 1, 2023

To mark the 50-year mass incarceration crisis in the United States, a new book, “Beyond Bars: A Path Forward from 50 Years of Mass Incarceration in the United States,” has been released, offering a compelling vision for criminal legal reform. The book delves deeply into the roots of the American criminal legal system as it meticulously examines one of the most critical issues of our time and presents practical solutions for a more just and equitable future.

READ more and Download


The First Step Act: Ending Mass Incarceration in Federal Prisons

The Sentencing Project, By Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. and Liz Komar, August 22, 2023

In 2018, Congress passed and then-President Donald Trump signed into law the bipartisan First Step Act, a sweeping criminal justice reform bill designed to promote rehabilitation, lower recidivism, and reduce excessive sentences in the federal prison system. Lawmakers and advocates across both political parties supported the bill as a necessary step to address some of the punitive excesses of the 1980s and 1990s.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reports promising results thus far.

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High stakes mistakes: How courts respond to “failure to appear”

Prison Policy Initiative, by Brian Nam-Sonenstein, August 15, 2023

Research shows that while most people who miss court are not dangerous or evading justice, the way courts treat “failure to appear” may make our communities less safe.

People miss court for many reasons outside of their control. They can’t miss work, they don’t have childcare, or they don’t understand court instructions. Yet they are routinely seen through the eyes of the law and the media as fugitives from justice who threaten our communities, and met with unduly harsh punishments.


The aging prison population: Causes, costs, and consequences

Prison Policy Initiative, by Emily Widra, August 2, 2023

New Census Bureau data show the U.S. population is getting older — and at the same time, our prison populations are aging even faster. In this briefing, we examine the inhumane, costly, and counterproductive practice of locking up older adults.

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Serving Our Vulnerable Populations:

Los Angeles County Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly

Brilliant Corners releases a new research study that examines some of the most vital housing resources in our community – Adult Residential Facilities (ARFs) and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs). ARFs and RCFEs provide housing and enhanced support for a broad range of individuals with diverse care needs. They also offer customized assistance and community-based housing to individuals dealing with mental illness, seniors requiring supportive services, and individuals from these groups who have experienced homelessness – representing a crucial and distinct housing opportunity for some of our most vulnerable community members, and serving as an integral component of the housing support continuum. In recent years, in an effort to stem the loss of these critical housing resources, LA County and local stakeholders have been working to preserve and expand the supply of Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly.

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An important report that we missed last year 

Police are not primarily crime fighters, according to the data

Reuters, By Hassan Kanu, November 2, 2022

A new report adds to a growing line of research showing that police departments don’t solve serious or violent crimes with any regularity, and in fact, spend very little time on crime control, in contrast to popular narratives.

In 2019, 88% of the time L.A. County sheriff’s officers spent on stops was for officer-initiated stops rather than in response to calls. The overwhelming majority of that time – 79% – was spent on traffic violations. By contrast, just 11% of those hours was spent on stops based on reasonable suspicion of a crime.

Read the Article

Read the Report

Effective Alternatives to Youth Incarceration

The Sentencing Project, written by Richard Mendel

Report identifies six alternative to youth incarceration program models that consistently produce better public safety outcomes than incarceration, with far less disruption to young people’s healthy adolescent development at a fraction of the cost.

States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2021

Prison Policy Initiative, by Emily Widra and Tiana Herring

Not only does the U.S. have the highest incarceration rate in the world; every single U.S. state incarcerates more people per capita than virtually any independent democracy on earth. To be sure, states like New York and Massachusetts appear progressive in their incarceration rates compared to states like Louisiana, but compared to the rest of the world, every U.S. state relies too heavily on prisons and jails to respond to crime.

The incarceration rates in every U.S. state are out of line with the entire world, and we found that this disparity is not explainable by differences in crime or “violent crime.” In fact, there is little correlation between high rates of “violent crime” and the rate at which the U.S. states lock people up in prisons and jails.

Read the Report

LAPD arrested Black and Latino people disproportionately in recent years, city controller stats show

By City News Service, July 26, 2023

The Los Angeles Police Department arrested Black and Hispanic/Latino people at a “disproportionate rate” — an average of 78.26% of all arrests from 2019 to 2022, when such residents make up 56% of the city’s population, according to a report released this week by City Controller Kenneth Mejia.

Mejia’s office released a map and analysis of nearly 300,000 arrests by the LAPD in the past four years.

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Investing in Supportive Pretrial Services: How to Build a “Care First” Workforce in Los Angeles County

Vera Institute of Justice, June 2023

In March 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted the “care first, jails last” vision, a transformative framework for safety grounded in support and services as alternatives to incarceration or bail. Three years have passed and people of color, people experiencing homelessness, and those with unmet mental health needs continue to languish in county jails. County staff attribute implementation delays to a shortage of community-based behavioral health workers. The Vera Institute of Justice’s conversations with community-based providers—detailed in this brief—document how the COVID-19 pandemic, long-standing difficulties with contracting, and chronic underinvestment in infrastructure have resulted in the current workforce shortage.

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Left to Die in Prison:

Emerging Adults 25 and Younger Sentenced to Life without Parole

The Sentencing Project, By Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. and Niki Monazzam, June 7, 2023

Two in five people sentenced to life without parole were 25 and under at the time of their conviction, despite irrefutable evidence that their younger age contributes to diminished capacity to comprehend the risk and consequences of their actions.

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The Impacts of Climate Change on Incarcerated People in California State Prisons

Ella Baker Center For Human Rights, By Aishah Abdala, Abhilasha Bhola, Guadalupe Gutierrez, Eric Henderson & Maura O’Neill, June 2023

This series of climate hazards has made it evident that the effects of climate change will continue to intensify, have the greatest impact on already vulnerable populations, and, most critically, the California carceral system is not prepared to respond to climate hazards in or near prisons.

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Effective Alternatives to Youth Incarceration

The Sentencing Project, By Richard Mendel, June 28, 2023

Report identifies six alternative to youth incarceration program models that consistently produce better public safety outcomes than incarceration, with far less disruption to young people’s healthy adolescent development at a fraction of the cost.

Read the Report

California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness

UCSF Report, June 2023, by Margot Kushel, MD and Tiana Moore, PhD

The California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness (CASPEH), conducted by The University of California, San Francisco Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative (BHHI), is the largest representative study of homelessness in the United States since the mid-1990s. The study provides a comprehensive look at the causes and consequences of homelessness in California and recommends policy changes to shape programs in response.

Read the report

Punishment Beyond Prisons 2023:  Incarceration and supervision by state

Prison Policy Initiative, by Leah Wang, May 2023

The U.S. has a staggering 1.9 million people behind bars, but even this number doesn’t capture the true reach of the criminal legal system. It’s more accurate to look at the 5.5 million people under all of the nation’s mass punishment systems, which include not only incarceration but also probation and parole.


2022 Protected And Served? Report

It’s no secret that the criminal legal system has always been used as a weapon to surveil, police, criminalize, discriminate, and harass LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV.

This is especially true for people who hold multiple marginalized identities such as transgender people of color. This is why 10 years ago, we launched our first-ever Protected and Served? Report, which revealed the alarming rates of misconduct, abuse, and discrimination LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV experience in the criminal legal system.

Today, Lambda Legal, in partnership with Black and Pink National, is releasing Protected and Served? 2022, a new report, consisting of quantitative data and personal stories gathered from more than 2,500 community members who participated in our survey about their experiences with the criminal legal system including police and other law enforcement, courts, prisons, jails, schools, and other government agencies.

Read the Report

Incarcerated Women and Girls
The Sentencing Project, By Niki Monazzam and Kristen M. Budd, Ph.D., April 3, 2023
Research on female incarceration is critical to understanding the full consequences of mass incarceration and to unraveling the policies and practices that lead to their criminalization. The female incarcerated population stands over six times higher than in 1980.
SMH: The rapid & unregulated growth of e‑messaging in prisons

Prison Policy Initiative, By Mike Wessler, March 2023

A technology that, until recently, was new in prisons and jails has exploded in popularity in recent years. Our review found that, despite its potential to keep incarcerated people and their families connected, e-messaging has quickly become just another way for companies to profit at their expense.


Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023

Prison Policy Alliance, By Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner, March 14, 2023

Can it really be true that most people in jail are legally innocent? How much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs, or the profit motives of private prisons? How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed decisions about how people are punished when they break the law? These essential questions are harder to answer than you might expect. The various government agencies involved in the criminal legal system collect a lot of data, but very little is designed to help policymakers or the public understand what’s going on. As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — it’s more important than ever that we get the facts straight and understand the big picture.


Reports 2022

State of Phone Justice 2022:
The problem, the progress, and what's next
Prison Policy Initiative by Peter Wagner and Wanda Bertram, December 2022
(This report was released before the Martha Wright-Reed Act was passed by Congress. Learn more about the implications of this law in thes blog post.)

Blog Post: Prison Policy Initiative, by Wanda Bertram, January 19, 2023

Since You Asked: What’s next for prison and jail phone justice now that the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act is law?
Unique Pilot Program Shows Success In Expanding Racial and Economic Diversity in San Francisco Jury Pools
The Financial Justice Project released a new report on the findings of the first six months of the Be The Jury Pilot Program. The Be The Jury Pilot Programtests whether providing $100 per day as compensation to jurors with lower incomes helps foster juries that are made up of a balanced cross section of San Francisco residents.
The preliminary findings show that the pilot program helps level the playing field, making it possible for San Franciscans with lower incomes to participate in their community’s constitutional right to a jury by their peers. These results were featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article by Justin Phillips.
Talent Needs of L.A. Area Tech Employers
In the spring of 2022, UNITE-LA led an informational survey of Los Angeles area employers in technology-related firms to learn about their needs, challenges and priorities in recruiting and retaining workers. The survey was developed by UNITE-LA in
partnership with the L.A. County Justice Care and Opportunities Department (JCOD), formerly the Office of Diversion and Reentry, and included specific questions on inclusive
hiring policies and practices that may support workers who have prior involvement with the
criminal legal system.
Employment of Systems-Involved Angelenos: Challenges, Aspirations and Tech Sector Potential
In early 2022, UNITE-LA led an informational survey, Employment Issues for Angelenos, for
those who have a previous record of arrest or conviction. This data collection effort discerns employment histories, challenges and aspirations of this population—particularly for tech careers—and includes data on individual demographics. The survey was developed by UNITE-LA in partnership with the L.A. County Justice Care and Opportunities Department (JCOD), formerly the Office of Diversion and Reentry, the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership (LAARP) and SECTOR.
The Social Costs of Policing

Vera Institute of Justice, November 2022

Publication Highlights

  • Ignoring the social costs of policing can mislead policymakers about the effectiveness of policing in improving community safety and well-being.
  • Exposure to routine police activities can have an adverse effect on the health of residents in communities.
  • Being arrested—without a subsequent conviction or any continuing criminal legal system involvement—can itself cause economic harm and lead to lower employment prospects.


REPORT: Violent crime and public prosecution

Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, By Todd Foglesong, Ron Levi et al., October 20, 2022

A review of recent data on homicide, robbery, and progressive prosecution in the United States

This report analyzes recent data on homicide and robbery to understand whether there is a relationship between violent crime and “progressive prosecution.” We pooled data on recorded crime from 65 major cities, conducted a statistical regression of trends in violent crime as well as larceny in two dozen cities, and compared the incidence of homicide before and after the election of progressive prosecutors in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, cities where we are conducting on-going research on changes in criminal justice. We also compared trends in recorded crime across all counties in Florida and California since 2015. We find no evidence to support the claim that progressive prosecutors were responsible for the increase in homicide during the pandemic or before it. We recommend that further statistical analyses of data on violent crime be supplemented by qualitative research and direct evidence about the practices of prosecutors in cities that recorded divergent patterns in homicide.

Read the REPORT

How Many People Are Spending Over a Decade in Prison?
The Sentencing Project, September, 08, 2022, by Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D. and Ashley Nellis, Ph.D.

Key findings:
  • In 2019, over half of the people in U.S. prisons – amounting to more than 770,000 people – were serving sentences of 10 years or longer – a huge jump from 2000.
  • Nearly one in five people in U.S. prisons—over 260,000 people—had already served at least 10 years in 2019. This is an increase from 133,000 people in 2000—which represented 10% of the prison population in that year.
  • In California, 29% of imprisoned people had already served at least 10 years in 2019. In Washington, DC, the level was even higher in 2020, at 39%.
  • Over 770,000 people in U.S. prisons were serving sentences of 10 years or longer in 2019—56% of the total prison population. This is an increase from 587,000 people in 2000—which represented 44% of the prison population in that year.
Where people in prison come from:
The geography of mass incarceration in California
The Prison Policy Initiative, by Emily Widra and Felicia Gomez, August 2022
One of the most important criminal legal system disparities in California has long been difficult to decipher: Which communities throughout the state do incarcerated people come from? Anyone who lives in, works within heavily policed and incarcerated communities, or who has an incarcerated loved one intuitively knows that certain neighborhoods disproportionately experience incarceration. But data have never been available to quantify how many people from each community are imprisoned with any real precision.
But now, thanks to redistricting reform that ensures incarcerated people are counted correctly in the legislative districts they come from, we can understand the geography of incarceration in California
Voting in Jails: Advocacy Strategies to #UnlocktheVote

The Sentencing Project, July 27, 2022

Every year, hundreds of thousands of eligible incarcerated voters are unable to cast their ballot due to misinformation, institutional bureaucracy and de-prioritization among government officials. This advocacy brief highlights strategies to improve ballot access for incarcerated people who are legally eligible to vote.


Where People in Prison Come From: The geography of mass incarceration

Prison Policy Initiative, July 2022

report logoWhat communities do people who are incarcerated come from? It's a simple question, with huge implications, that until recently was impossible to answer. However, thanks to recent reforms to end prison gerrymandering in more than a dozen states, the data is finally available to answer it.

We partnered with organizations in each of these states to collect this data, and we're making it available to advocates, researchers, organizers, journalists, and others. Our hope is that they'll use it to better understand how mass incarceration harms communities and correlates with other measures of community well-being.


Nothing But Time: Elderly Americans Serving Life Without Parole

The Sentencing Project, June 23, 2022, by Ashley Nellis, Ph.D.

Almost half of the people serving life without parole are 50 years old or more and one in four is at least 60 years old.


California Sentencing Institute

From the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

An interactive map presenting detailed crime and incarceration numbers, rates, and trends for California and each of its 58 counties.

See the Map


Chronic Punishment: The unmet health needs of people in state prisons

Prison Policy Initiative, By Leah Wang, June 2022

Over 1 million people sit in U.S. state prisons on any given day. These individuals are overwhelmingly poor, disproportionately Black, Native, Hispanic, and/or LGBTQ, and often targeted by law enforcement from a young age, as we detailed recently in our report Beyond the Count. And all too often, they are also suffering from physical and mental illnesses, or navigating prison life with disabilities or even pregnancy. In this, the second installment of our analysis of a unique, large-scale survey of people in state prisons, we add to the existing research showing that state prisons fall far short of their constitutional duty to meet the essential health needs of people in their custody. As a result, people in state prison are kept in a constant state of illness and despair.


The Red City Defund Police Problem

The Third Way, June 8, 2022, by Jim Kessler and Kylie Murdock

In recent years, Republicans have tagged Democrats as the party of “defund the police”... But is the Republican charge even remotely true? It has been taken as a given by much of the media just as Democrats have been pigeon-holed as soft on crime and being responsible for rampant crime across the country. Yet as our March 2022 report showed, the 25 states that voted for Donald Trump had a murder rate 40% higher than the 25 states that voted for Joe Biden. And 8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rates not only voted for Donald Trump, they voted Republican in every presidential election this century. Is the Democrats’ defund the police portrait as inaccurate as its soft on crime portrait?


Working in “a meat grinder”:

by Prison Policy Initiative, May 9, 2022

A research roundup showing prison and jail jobs aren’t all that states promise they will be

No wonder prisons and jails face constant understaffing and that communities increasingly resist new facilities: Decades of research show that the physical and mental health problems associated with correctional officers' jobs are inherent to the work, and that new prisons and jails fail to deliver on promises of economic development.



Second Chance Pell: Five Years of Expanding Higher Education Programs in Prisons

Vera Institute of Justice, May 2022

The Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015, provides need-based Pell Grants to people in state and federal prisons. The initiative examines whether expanding access to college financial aid increases incarcerated adults’ participation in postsecondary educational opportunities.

Read the Report

Beyond the Count

Prison Policy Initiative, April 13, 2022

This new Report uses demographic data to show the social disadvantage of people locked up in state prisons.

People in prisons have endured disadvantage and poverty all the way back to childhood, the Prison Policy Initiative's new report shows.


High Road Labor Market Analysis: Behavioral Health Services Sector

A new labor market analysis of the behavioral health services sector by WERC identifies peer workforce and trauma-informed practices as important to meeting behavioral health needs in Los Angeles. The analysis offers concrete recommendations for both increasing access to quality jobs for workers with high barriers to employment and addressing critical worker shortages in the sector.

The Executive Summary

Full Report

The Red State Murder Problem REPORT

The Third Way, March 15, 2022 by Kylie Murdock and Jim Kessler

The rate of murders in the US has gone up at an alarming rate. But, despite a media narrative to the contrary, this is a problem that afflicts Republican-run cities and states as much or more than the Democratic bastions.


Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2022

Prison Policy Initiative, By Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner, March 14, 2022

Can it really be true that most people in jail are legally innocent? How much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs, or the profit motives of private prisons? How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed decisions about how people are punished when they break the law? These essential questions are harder to answer than you might expect. The various government agencies involved in the criminal legal system collect a lot of data, but very little is designed to help policymakers or the public understand what’s going on. As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — it’s more important than ever that we get the facts straight and understand the big picture.


Diversion Programs, Explained

Vera Institute of Justice, April 28, 2022, By Akhi Johnson and Mustafa Ali-Smith

Diversion is a broad term referring to “exit ramps” that move people away from the criminal legal system, offering an alternative to arrest, prosecution, and a life behind bars. Although incarceration was historically believed to improve public safety, research suggests that it is ineffective in doing so and has a minimal impact, if any, on reducing crime. Instead, diversion programs target the underlying problems that led to the criminalized behavior in the first place.


College-in-prison program found to reduce recidivism significantly
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Crime And Justice Research Alliance News Release, December 7, 2021
A new study sought to determine the effects of a college-in-prison program, the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). The study found a large and significant reduction in recidivism rates across racial groups among those who participated in the program. It also found that participants with higher levels of participation had even lower rates of recidivism. In light of their findings, the authors offer several policy recommendations in support of college-in-prison programs.

Inaugural ATI Impact Report

The ATI Office bases its policy development and program implementation on the Sequential Intercept Model, which aims to support people before they even come into contact with the criminal justice system and divert them from the wrong path. The model also focuses on supporting those within the criminal justice system to ensure better outcomes for individuals and communities.

The ATI Office identifies critical gaps in service throughout this model and works to disrupt the cyclical elements that lead people to a downward trajectory through the criminal justice system.
In its first year of operation, the ATI Office has:
  • Spent more than 430 hours holding meetings to engage community leaders and the public – including 130 hours focused on Care First Community Investment (formerly known as Measure J).
  • Supported the expansion of Alternative Crisis Response, building the foundation for the forthcoming 988 number to replace 911 and a law-enforcement response for mental health crisis calls.
  • Invested in the countywide expansion of Youth Diversion & the Rapid Diversion Court Program, working to divert juveniles and individuals with mental health or substance use disorders into care-first models.
  • Piloted programs such as ATI Pre-Filing Diversion & the ATI Incubation Academy.

The first evaluation of the Returning Citizens Stimulus project has been published!

LARRP played a large role in implementing this program in LA.

A few highlights:

  • Despite launching RCS on a large scale with almost no time for planning, the program operated smoothly overall. A notable achievement, particularly in the context of the pandemic.
  • Participants reported that RCS helped them feel some level of financial stability in the period following incarceration. Most said that they spent the RCS funds on essential expenses such as rent, groceries, and clothing, and on personal care to prepare themselves for employment.
  • Participants said RCS helped them find, secure, and maintain employment, partly because of the built-in connection to existing reentry programs and partly because it gave them money needed to prepare for working.


On the Brink of Closure

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) November 2021

On the brink of closure, California’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) requires critical attention. DJJ’s inherent flaws and high costs led state leaders to heed long-standing calls for the closure of its youth correctional institutions in favor of local alternatives, a process known as juvenile justice realignment. DJJ stopped most youth admissions as of July 1, 2021 and will close its doors by June 30, 2023. California’s counties must avoid replicating the state’s problematic prison-like environment, lack of oversight, and disparate impacts on youth of color at the local level. DJJ’s failures, and consequential downfall, should stand as a warning. Repeating these failures locally will endanger our most vulnerable youth.

READ the Report

Reports 2021

Building exits off the highway to mass incarceration: Diversion programs explained

Prison Policy Initiative By Leah Wang and Katie Rose Quandt, July 20, 2021

We envision the criminal justice system as a highway on which people are heading toward the possibility of incarceration; depending on the state or county, this highway may have exit ramps in the form of diversion programs and alternatives to incarceration.


Reducing Homelessness for People with Behavioral Health Needs Leaving Jails and Prisons

Report by The Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. February 2021

Homelessness is a longstanding problem in California, as it is in much of the U.S. While homelessness has many root causes, including
an overall lack of affordable housing and lack of coordination between social service systems, incarceration is a major risk factor. Nationally, people who are formerly incarcerated are almost 10 times more likely to experience homelessness than the general public.

In turn, people with behavioral health conditions, such as mental illnesses and substance use disorders, face increased risk of incarceration, compounding their already elevated risk of experiencing homelessness. Indeed, people with behavioral health conditions make up a significant proportion of California’s jail and prison populations; available data suggest that roughly one-third of people in the state’s prisons and jails have some level of mental health diagnosis.

The causes of the connections between homelessness, behavioral health conditions, and involvement with the criminal justice system are many. However, they are rooted in the deinstitutionalization of mental health care in the 1970s and 80s. This change came without a corresponding increase in the housing and community-based services needed to support people with mental illnesses living independently and resultedin an “institutional circuit” between shelters, jails, and emergency rooms.


The Justice Equity Services Index

Advancement Project California, June 2021
The Justice Equity Services Index (JESI) identifies L.A. County’s justice-related, community-based supports and services in low to highest service areas to inform where to shift investments and capacity-building supports towards equity and justice.

Prosecutor Lobbying in the States,

The Prosecutors and Politics Project, June 2021

An Important New Study Looks At The Relationship Between Prosecutors & Politics, Including The Actions Of California’s Lobbyist District Attorneys

A new study by the “Prosecutors and Politics Project,” a research initiative at the University of North Carolina School of Law, looks at the role of prosecutors in the nation’s state criminal justice systems, with a focus on their their “political power,” specifically the power of DAs as lobbyists pushing for or against proposed legislation.



Addressing the Drivers of Criminal Justice Involvement to Advance Racial Equity

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief (2021)

The Committee on Reducing Racial Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop in March 2021 as part of its exploration of ways to reduce racial inequalities in criminal justice outcomes in the United States. This workshop, the second in a series of three, enabled the committee to gather information from a diverse set of stakeholders and experts to inform the consensus study process. Speakers discussed the numerous interrelated factors that shape racial inequalities in the criminal justice system. Presentations focused on issues and promising solutions in health and well-being, in both neighborhood and opportunity contexts, as well as in youth-serving systems, as they relate to reducing racial inequality. This publication highlights the presentations of the workshop.

Download the PDF

Reinstating Common Sense: How driver's license suspensions for drug offenses unrelated to driving are falling out of favor

Prison Policy Initiative Report: A misguided federal law from the War on Drugs threatened states with reduced highway funding if states did not begin automatically suspending the driver's license of anyone convicted of a drug offense, even in cases unrelated to driving. These license suspensions, which last at least 6 months, struggle to find and keep employment for lack of transportation because of these needless license suspensions. Our new research found that more than 190,000 driver's licenses are suspended every year for non-driving drug offenses, and illustrates why this policy sets people up to fail.

READ the report

Slamming the Courthouse Door: 25 years of evidence for repealing the Prison Litigation Reform Act

Prison Policy Initiative, by Andrea Fenster & Margo Schlanger, April 26, 2021

Twenty-five years ago today, in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The “PLRA,” as it is often called, makes it much harder for incarcerated people to file and win federal civil rights lawsuits. For two-and-a-half decades, the legislation has created a double standard that limits incarcerated people’s access to the courts at all stages: it requires courts to dismiss civil rights cases from incarcerated people for minor technical reasons before even reaching the case merits, requires incarcerated people to pay filing fees that low-income people on the outside are exempt from, makes it hard to find representation by sharply capping attorney fees, creates high barriers to settlement, and weakens the ability of courts to order changes to prison and jail policies.


What Jails Cost
A Look at Spending in America’s Large Cities

Vera Institute of Justice

  • There were more than 10 million jail bookings in 2019.
  • Nationally, jails cost taxpayers $25 billion per year.
  • Jail employee payroll accounts for 73 percent of jails’ budgets.

Read the Report

The 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress

US Department of Housing and Urban Development
January 2021

Some of the key findings:

On a single night in 2020, roughly 580,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States.

  • For the fourth consecutive year, homelessness increased nationwide....

Read the Report

The Possibility Report
From Prison to College Degrees in California

The Campaign for College Opportunity
February 2021


The Sentencing Project, Jan. 22, 2021, by Nazgol Ghandnoosh

Following a nearly 700% increase between 1972 and 2009, the U.S. prison population declined 11% in the subsequent 10 years. At this rate of decline it will take 57 years — until 2078 — to cut the prison population in half

Download the PDF

Turning Point & DAAC Present: Justice-Involved Community Survey Report

Criminalizing Victims And Trauma: Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Ignores Victims Of Crime Until It’s Time To Punish Them.

By Yehudah Pryce

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (LADA) provided little support to justice-involved community members who have been victims of crime, according to a new survey of social service recipients at Turning Point (TP), a South Los Angeles non-profit social service provider, and the DA Accountability Coalition (DAAC). The data gathered by TP appear to contradict claims by former Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey that social services and mental health needs significantly guide the LADA’s prosecution decisions. The survey of 71 participants concluded that many community members who are formerly incarcerated – and have been most in need of social services and mental health care – did not have these service gaps sufficiently considered by the LADA when they were arrested, nor did they receive support from the LADA when they were the victims of crime.


Behavioral Health Crisis Alternatives
Shifting from Police to Community Responses

Vera Institute of Justice, November 2020, by Jackson Beck, Melissa Reuland, Leah Pope
The report addresses the need to reduce the role of police as first responders to people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis and includes guidance for jurisdictions seeking alternatives that prioritize access to treatment and other essential support services. The authors examine recent efforts across the country – with a focus on Eugene, Oregon; Olympia, Washington; and Phoenix, Arizona – to reduce police involvement in crisis calls that can be better handled by behavioral health specialists. In addition to our three case studies, the report provides an overview of crisis response programs, including a typology of approaches organized by the involvement of law enforcement. It concludes with key considerations to aid practitioners, elected officials, and advocates in their efforts to similarly shift responses from police to alternative responders in their communities.


New BJS data: Prison incarceration rates inch down, but racial equity and real decarceration still decades away

At the current pace of decarceration, it will be 2088 when state prison populations return to pre-mass incarceration levels.

Prison Policy Initiative, by Alexi Jones, October 30, 2020

Last week, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released Prisoners in 2019, an annual report that breaks down the number of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons. Along with the report, BJS released a press release that paints a deceptively rosy picture of mass incarceration in the United States, which has been parroted by numerous media outlets.

Read the Analysis

Read the report

Between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019, an estimated 22,687 Black people were booked into the Los Angeles County Jail. Reflecting the revolving door of incarceration, a little over 4,100 of them were booked into jail more than once, resulting in approximately 28,427 cumulative bookings. These bookings cost L.A. County at least $153.6 million.

Trends in U.S. Corrections

August 25, 2020
The Sentencing Project's key fact sheet provides a compilation of major developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.

Read the Factsheet

Reforming Pretrial Justice In California

Public Policy Institute, Heather Harris, Magnus Lofstrom, August 2020

California’s pretrial system is poised for reform. In 2018, the governor signed Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) to eliminate money bail and require the use of risk assessment tools when making pretrial release decisions. The law was put onhold after a challenge by the bail industry. Voters will decide its fate in a hotlydebated November 2020 referendum on Proposition 25. Proponents argue SB 10 would reduce jail populations while promoting public safety and court appearances, but critics express concern about the bill’s potential impact on crime and racial inequities.

Read the Report

Visualizing the racial disparities in mass incarceration

Prison Policy Initiative, by Wendy Sawyer, July 27, 2020
Racial inequality is evident in every stage of the criminal justice system - here are the key statistics compiled into a series of charts.

See these staggering charts!

Racial Discrimination Persists in California Jury Selection

Equal Justice Initiative, June 29, 2020
A new study from the Berkeley Law Death Penalty Clinic found that California prosecutors routinely strike Black and Latino prospective jurors—and the state’s appellate courts have failed to meaningfully address racial discrimination in jury selection.

It has been illegal for more than a century to remove a person from a jury because of their race, but people of color continue to be excluded from jury service because of their race, especially in serious criminal trials and death penalty cases.

Read More

Failing Grades: States’ Responses to COVID-19 in Jails & Prisons

Prison Policy Initiative and the ACLU, June 25, 2020
By Emily Widra and Dylan Hayre

The results are clear: despite all of the information, voices calling for action, and the obvious need, state responses ranged from disorganized or ineffective, at best, to callously nonexistent at worst. Even using data from criminal justice system agencies — that is, even using states’ own versions of this story — it is clear that no state has done enough and that all states failed to implement a cohesive, system-wide response.

Read the Report

Care First, Jails Last

Health and Racial Justice Strategies for Safer Communities


Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group Final Report


Read the Report

Mortality in Local Jails, 2000-2016

New BJS report reveals staggering number of preventable deaths in local jails
Prison Policy Initiative, by Alexi Jones, February 13, 2020
In 2016, over 1,000 people died in local jails - many the tragic result of healthcare and jail systems that fail to address serious health problems among the jail population, and of the trauma of incarceration itself.
LA County is able to safely divert thousands of individuals with mental illness into treatment

Rand Corporation

January 7, 2020 by Stephanie Brooks Holliday

More than 3,300 people in the mental health population of the Los Angeles County Jail are appropriate candidates for diversion into programs where they would receive community-based clinical services rather than incarceration, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
Pretrial Risk Assessment in California
Public Policy Institute of California, Heather Harris, Justin Goss, Alexandria Gumbs, December 2019
The policies governing California’s pretrial system are undergoing substantial change. Amid recent correctional reforms and ongoing challenges to the state’s bail system, pretrial risk assessment has emerged as a way to help counties make decisions about whether arrested individuals should remain in the community or be detained until any charges stemming from that arrest are resolved.
This report presents an overview of pretrial risk assessment in California and offers considerations for using, evaluating, and improving the effectiveness of local pretrial risk assessment systems.
One Year After the First Step Act: Mixed Outcomes
The Sentencing Project by Kara Gotsch, December 17, 2019
In commemoration of the sentencing reform law’s passage one year ago this week, The Sentencing Project has published an analysis of the law’s successes, challenges and the reform left undone.
Costs Of Injustice: How Criminal System Fees Are Hurting Los Angeles County Families
ACLU Southern California
November 19, 2019
Los Angeles County has a responsibility to ensure that all its community members, whether rich or poor, receive equal justice and a fair chance to succeed. However, by using the criminal system to extract fees and fines from low-income communities of color, the county is doing the opposite.
50-State Chart on Relief from Sex Offender Registration: Updated
Collateral Consequences Resource Center, November 21, 2019
Work, Pay, Or Go To Jail:
Court-Ordered Community Service In Los Angeles
The UCLA Labor Center, 2019
by Lucero Herrera, Tia Koonse, Melanie Sonsteng-Person, Noah Zatz

Work, Pay, or Go to Jail: Court-Ordered Community Service in Los Angeles is the first study to analyze a large-scale system of court-ordered community service in the contemporary United States. It finds that court-ordered community service functions as a system of unregulated and coercive labor, which worsens the effects of criminal justice debt and displaces paid jobs.
Arrest, Release, Repeat:
How police and jails are misused to respond to social problems
Prison Policy Initiative
By Alexi Jones and Wendy Sawyer, August 2019 
Police and jails are supposed to promote public safety. Increasingly, however, law enforcement is called upon to respond punitively to medical and economic problems unrelated to public safety issues. As a result, local jails are filled with people who need medical care and social services, many of whom cycle in and out of jail without ever receiving the help they need.
Conversations about this problem are becoming more frequent, but until now, these conversations have been missing three fundamental data points: how many people go to jail each year, how many return, and which underlying problems fuel this cycle...
In L.A., Nine in Ten Incarcerated Youth Have a Documented Mental Health Issue

The Chronicle of Social Change, June 12, Jeremy Loudenback

After a new report found that more than 90 percent of youth in the county’s juvenile halls had an open mental health case, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors pledged to improve mental health care to justice-involved youth in county.

Ending Mass Incarceration: Ideas from Today's Leaders

The Brennan Center for Justice, May 16, 2019
In this remarkable collaboration, the country’s most prominent lawmakers and activists join together to propose ideas for transformative change.

Cannabis Social Equity Report

Repairing the Harms, Creating the Future

published by UFCW 770, Equity First Alliance Los Angeles and the Social Impact Center in Los Angeles
The new Repairing the Harms, Creating the Future: Creating Cannabis Social & Health Equity in Los Angeles (2019) report compiles extensive research that shows the City of Los Angeles’ promising programs meant to repair the war on drugs need a more comprehensive approach – and immediate funding – to succeed.
New Fact Sheet: Urban Crime Declines During California's Justice Reform Era (2010-2018)
Mike Males
SAN FRANCISCO – April 3, 2019 – A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that, during a period of large-scale criminal justice reform including Proposition 47 and Public Safety Realignment, California’s urban crime rates have declined.
Johns Hopkins Report Offers First Ever Look At Pregnancy In Prison Stats
Witness LA, March 23, 2019 by Taylor Walker
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
January 2019
Several Poor Administrative Practices Have Hindered Reductions in Recidivism and Denied Inmates Access to In‑Prison Rehabilitation Programs

Read the Report

Failure should not be an option: Grading the parole release systems of all 50 states

Prison Policy Initiative,
Jorge Renaud, Feb, 26, 2019
From arrest to sentencing, the process of sending someone to prison in America is full of rules and standards meant to guarantee fairness and predictability. An incredible amount of attention is given to the process, and rightly so. But in sharp contrast, the processes for releasing people from prison are relatively ignored by the public and by the law. State paroling systems vary so much that it is almost impossible to compare them.
Women in Los Angeles County
A report by Million Dollar Hoods
In LA County we spent at least $750,000,000 incarcerating women from 2010-2016.
Juvenile Arrest Rates on Steady Decline

This US Department of Justice bulletin describes the latest trends in arrests involving juveniles (youth younger than age 18) covering the period from 1980 to 2016, based on analyses of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Overall, juvenile arrests have been on the decline for more than a decade, but patterns vary by offense and demographic group.

Read the Report
 November 21, 2018
Semi-annually with an overview of the financial status of the Department.
Read the Report
"[DRAFT] Report of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission Immigration Ad Hoc Committee
Regarding the LASD Cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and [PROPOSED]: Recommendations"
Read More

Prison Policy Initiative Report
By Lucius Couloute
October 2018

Getting Back on Course: Educational exclusion and attainment amount formerly incarcerated people

Using data from the National Former Prisoner Survey, this report reveals that formerly incarcerated people are often relegated to the lowest rungs of the educational ladder; more than half hold only a high school diploma or GED, and a quarter hold no credential at all.

Read the Report

REPORT: Probation and Parole Systems Marked by High Stakes, Missed Opportunities

As part of a collaborative effort to improve the nation's community corrections system, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation analyzed the leading research and identified the most pressing problems and some promising solutions. The available data leave many questions unanswered, but this review reveals key insights and challenges many assumptions about supervision

Read the Report

REPORT - Getting to Zero: A 50 State Study of Strategies to Remove Youth from Adult Jails

The report by The Jail Removal Project at UCLA School of Law, aims to reassess the way youth are incarcerated in America by providing the first-ever analysis of three nationwide data sets: Census of Jails and Annual Survey of Jails, both conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Census of Juvenile Residential Placements.

The report also summarizes the major legal developments applicable to youth housed in adult jails and provides specific examples from jurisdictions across the country that have made substantial progress toward removing youth from adult jails.

Read the Report

You Get What You Measure: New Performance Indicators Needed to Gauge Progress of Criminal Justice Reform

May 2018
Adam Gelb


Prop 47 not responsible for recent upticks in crime across California

The implementation of Proposition 47 - which reduced the prison population by charging certain drug and property offenses as misdemeanors rather than felonies - is not responsible for the recent upticks in crime throughout California, according to a new study from researchers at the University of California, Irvine. This is the first systematic analysis to be conducted of the measure's statewide impact since its 2014 implementation.

Fact Sheet

Despite the ongoing decline in incarceration, spending on state corrections remains high.

Under the Governor's proposed budget, combined funding for the CDCR and the Board of State and Community Corrections would be $12.1 billion in 2018-19 (the fiscal year that begins this coming July 1) - $2 billion higher than the 2012-13 level, after adjusting for inflation.

Fact Sheet

Youth in Adult Courts, Jails, and Prisons

At the turn of the 21st century, it was estimated that 250,000 children every year were charged as adults in the United States. By 2019, that number had dropped 80% to 53,000. This drop is to be celebrated and is the result of legislative changes in 44 states and the District of Columbia, as well as federal funding incentives. However, there is still much work to be done. The children that remain exposed to the adult criminal legal system are overwhelmingly youth of color. The vast majority serve short sentences in adult jail or prison and return home by their 21st birthdays, the age at which services can be extended to in the youth justice system in the vast majority of states; indicating that many youth could be served, more appropriately, by the youth justice system.
This brief reviews the history, harms, pathways and trends that treat children as if they were adults.

Parents in Prison

The Sentencing Project, November 17, 2021

This fact sheet provides key facts on parents in prison and policies that impede their ability to care for their children when released from prison.


  • In 2016, 47% of people in state prisons and 57% in federal prisons were parents of minor children.
  • Most parents in prison are fathers (626,800 fathers compared to 57,700 mothers).
  • The number of fathers in prison increased 48% and the number of mothers in prison increased 96% between 1991 and 2016.

Download the Fact Sheet

A Toolkit for Jail Decarceration in Your Community

Vera Institute of Justice, October 2021

Places that have heeded demands for change are beginning to see significant reductions in jail populations, showing that decarceration at the local level is possible when criminal legal system stakeholders make different choices.


An Outlier of Injustice

Introduction To Special Issue
Science Magazine, Tage Rai and Brad Wible, October 15th
Amid burgeoning interest in scholarship on criminal justice, this special issue examines social science research on the state of mass incarceration in the US: its origin and expansion, its far-reaching effects on families and communities, and why the public tolerates and encourages it.
Op-Ed: Now That The 2020 FBI Crime Stats Report Has Been Released, What Are The Most Useful Takeaways?

WitnessLA, September 28, 2021

Editor’s note: On Monday, September 27, the FBI released the 2020 edition of its annual “Crime in the United States” report, which showed that, for the first time in four years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased when compared with the previous year’s statistics. In 2020, violent crime was up 5.6 percent from the 2019 number.


Eligible, but excluded: A guide to removing the barriers to jail voting

Prison Policy Initiative by Ginger Jackson-Gleich and Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary

While people in state or federal prison generally cannot vote, most people in local jails can, although numerous barriers prevent them from doing so.


Crime trends and violence worse in California’s Republican-voting counties than Democratic-voting counties

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Mike Males, August 25, 2021

A report released today by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that, compared to the 35 California counties that voted Democratic in the 2020 presidential election, the state’s 23 Republican-voting counties have higher rates of violent crime, including homicides.

For decades, Republican candidates and elected officials have demanded a “get-tough” approach to crime that generated more arrests, more imprisonments, and longer prison sentences. As a result, a person is 58 percent more likely to be arrested and 41 percent more likely to be incarcerated in a Republican-voting county than in a Democratic-voting one. Likewise, 12 of the 13 highest-incarceration counties vote Republican, while 16 of the 18 lowest-incarceration counties vote Democratic.

But have the hardline approaches pursued by Republicans officials actually reduced crime? Just the opposite. Republican-voting counties are seeing lesser declines in crime and higher rates of crime, particularly violent offenses and homicides, compared to their Democratic-voting counterparts.


US Recidivism Rates Stay Sky High

The Crime Report, By Eva Herscowitz, July 30, 2021

Seven in 10 incarcerated people released in 34 states in 2012 were rearrested within five years, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report on recidivism rates for prisoners in 34 states between 2012 and 2017.

The report includes grim findings about recidivism in the United States, where rates are among the highest in the world.


Public Safety Realignment

Weak State and County Oversight Does Not Ensure That Funds Are Spent Effectively California State Auditor Report, March 2021

Among the effects that these counties have experienced since 2011, when the Legislature transferred fromthe State to counties the responsibility for incarcerating and supervising certain offenders, are the following:

  • Fresno and Los Angeles have experienced increased jail overcrowding, and neither county has met the State’s jail capacity standards by reducing its jail population or taking other mitigating actions.
  • Alameda and Fresno do not share sufficient information about inmates’ mental health with jail staff, who are responsible for deciding about inmates’ housing and safety.
  • The counties’ jails often lack adequate outdoor and educational facilities to provide certain vocational and rehabilitative programs for inmates who serve terms longer than three years.

To support the counties’ realignment responsibilities and offset the costs of providing required public safety services, the State allocated $6 billion to California’s counties in fiscal year 2019–20. However, because the three counties we reviewed have narrowly interpreted the scope of public safety realignment funding, their Community Corrections Partnership committees—responsible for monitoring such spending—have overseen less than 20 percent of the funding the counties receive. Each county also maintains excessive realignment surpluses, which they could spend to improve public safety. Finally, the counties lack comprehensive planning and oversight for realignment spending, without which they cannot make informed decisions.


Youth Justice Reimagined Report recommendations

These include expansion of the Office of Diversion and Re-Entry’s Division of Youth Diversion and Development’s pre-arrest prevention and youth development services to all eligible your countywide and the establishment of a new Department of Youth Development.
Interrupting the Cycle of Incarceration for Individuals with Mental Illness-

An Analysis of LA County’s Rapid Diversion Program

Report by By Jess Bendit, Joshua Segui, Courtney B. Taylor & Rachel Vogt


New Publication – Improving Outcomes for Individuals with Sex Offenses

Friensds Outside, Los Angeles County, by Dr. Luis Barrera Castañón, Dr. Marco Murillo (Researchers) May 11, 2021

Read the Study

Jail incarceration rates vary widely, but inexplicably, across U.S. cities
Cities jail people at rates that have little to no correlation to their violent crime rates, police budgets, or jail budgets.

Prison Policy Initiative, by Tiana Herring, May 4, 2021

Why do some places incarcerate people at much higher rates than others? We considered this question in 2019, when we compared prison incarceration rates across U.S. counties, finding a wide range that loosely correlated to the respective state imprisonment rates. Now, we can do the same for jail incarceration rates.


Roadmap To The Ideal Crisis System

National Council for Behavioral Health

Essential Elements, Measurable Standards and Best Practices for Behavioral Health Crisis Response

March 2021

Download this report

No End In Sight: America’s Enduring Reliance on Life Imprisonment

The Sentencing Project, Feb. 17, 2021 by Ashley Nellis
In the United States, more than 200,000 people are serving life sentences – one out of every seven in prison.

Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview

The Sentencing Project, Feb 18, 2021, by Josh Rovner

The United States stands alone as the only nation that sentences people to life without parole for crimes committed before turning 18. This briefing paper reviews the Supreme Court precedents that limited the use of JLWOP and the challenges that remain.


Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2020

The Sentencing Project, Jan. 15, 2021, by Nicole D. Porter

In recent years most states have enacted reforms designed to reduce the scale of incarceration and the impact of the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. This briefing paper describes key reforms that were prioritized in 2020.

Download the PDF

Health Departments Taking Action on Incarceration: A Framework for Advancing Health Instead of Punishment During COVID-19

Human Impact Partners, January 2021

This resource includes 8 recommendations and specific actions health departments can take to address the harms of incarceration.

See the report

Social Innovation Impact Report 2019-2020

Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

The returning home well initiative which was largely supported by LA providers is on page 14

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White Paper

Experts from around the nation in issuing a new white paper advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state governments to prioritize incarcerated individual and correctional staff in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Specifically, the report recommends:

  • Prioritize vaccine distribution to all incarcerated individuals at the same stage as correctional officers (essential workers/first responders) or higher
  • Create vaccine distribution and implementation plans developed by medical and public health professionals that are specific to correctional systems
  • Include correctional leadership and justice-involved individuals in state advisory vaccine groups and committees
  • Identify policies and methods to effectively fund vaccine distribution and administration in correctional systems and following release


new DA Report by the ACLU and DAAC

George Gascón was sworn in to lead the country’s largest district attorney’s office. See the new DA Report by the ACLU and DAAC for recommendations — based on data from public records requests — to increase equity, transparency and accountability in the Los Angeles DA's office

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Incarcerated Women and Girls
The Sentencing Project, November 24, 2020
Research on female incarceration is critical to understanding the full consequences of mass incarceration and to unraveling the policies and practices that lead to their criminalization. The number of incarcerated women was over seven times higher in 2019 than in 1980, according to a data analysis released today by The Sentencing Project.
Incarcerated Women and Girls examines pre-pandemic female incarceration trends and finds areas of both concern and hope. While the imprisonment rate for African American women was nearly twice that of white women in 2019, this disparity represents a sharp decline from 2000 when Black women were six times as likely to be imprisoned. Since then Black women’s imprisonment rate has decreased by 60% while white women’s rate has increased by 41%.
Youth Justice Under the Coronavirus:
Linking Public Health Protections with the Movement for Youth Decarceration

The Sentencing Project September 30, 2020, by Josh Rovner
Despite almost two decades of declines in U.S. youth incarceration, The Sentencing Project reveals more than 1,800 incarcerated youth have tested positive for COVID-19 since March, including more than 300 cases in Florida and Texas.

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As States Gear Up For Vote By Mail, New Report on First-Time & Limited-English Speaking Voters Makes Key Recommendations for California

August 4, 2020
Report from California Common Cause and Center for Social Innovation at UC Riverside features voices and concerns of low-propensity voters

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View the Presentation Slides

Proposition 47’s Impact on Racial Disparity in Criminal Justice Outcomes

Public Policy Institute of California, June 2020
Magnus Lofstrom, Brandon Martin, Steven Raphael

...In recent years, California has implemented a number of significant reforms that were not motivated by racial disparities but might have narrowed them in a number of ways. In this report, we extend our previous arrest work to examine the impact of Proposition 47, which reclassified a number of drug and property offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, on racial disparities in arrest and jail booking rates and in the likelihood of an arrest resulting in a booking.

While significant inequities persist in California and elsewhere, our findings point to a reduction in pretrial detention and a narrowing of racial disparities in key statewide criminal justice outcomes

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REPORT - Voting in Jails

The Sentencing Project, MAY 07, 2020
Nicole D. Porter
As localities consider voting best practices, a new report from The Sentencing Project highlights jurisdictions around the country that actively support ballot access for residents detained in local jails through absentee voting or jail-based polling sites. These initiatives should serve as models to be adopted by all jail systems in order to ensure that individuals housed there do not forfeit their rights of citizenship.

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Liberating Our Health:
Ending the Harms of Pretrial Incarceration and Money Bail
Human Impact Partners, February 2020
Almost half a million people who are locked in jails across the United States today have not been found guilty of the charges against them. Through the system of pretrial incarceration, people are separated from their loved ones, unable to go to work, forced to
face economic insecurity, and placed at risk of the health harms of incarceration — all without a conviction.

Jail Visitation Innovation

Visitation and Family Support Services at Century Regional Detention Facility Promote Public Safety
Prepared by: Ricca Prasad, MPH, JD Candidate Director, Women’s Gender-Responsive Jail Project, Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law
February 11, 2020
This report is intended to serve as a primer about why visitation for women in jail is important to public safety, what visitation and family support is provided at Los Angeles County’s women’s jail (Century Regional Detention Facility, “CRDF”), and how the newly appointed Gender Responsive Advisory Committee (“GRAC”) can help support
meaningful contact and visitation between people at CRDF and their loved ones.
Youth Confinement: The Whole Pie 2019
Prison Policy Initiative, By Wendy Sawyer, December 19, 2019  
On any given day, over 48,000 youth in the United States are confined in facilities away from home as a result of juvenile justice or criminal justice involvement. Most are held in restrictive, correctional-style facilities, and thousands are held without even having had a trial. But even these high figures represent astonishing progress: Since 2000, the number of youth in confinement has fallen by 60%, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.
What explains these remarkable changes? How are the juvenile justice and adult criminal justice systems different, and how are they similar? Perhaps most importantly, can those working to reduce the number of adults behind bars learn any lessons from the progress made in reducing youth confinement?
An Overview of Evidence-Based Practices and Programs in Prison Reentry
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Dec., 2019
The Steep Costs of Criminal Justice Fees and Fines
Brennan Center for Justice,

November 21, 2019, Matthew Menendez, Michael Crowley, Lauren-Brooke Eisen, Noah Atchison

SUMMARY: Court fees and fines unjustly burden people with debt just as they are re-entering society. They are also ineffective at raising revenue.
Review of the Inmate Reception Center Intake Evaluation Process
November 2019
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Women’s Mass Incarceration:
The Whole Pie 2019
By Aleks Kajstura
Prison Policy Initiative, Oct. 29, 2019
This report provides a detailed view of the 231,000 women and girls incarcerated in the United States, and how they fit into the even broader picture of correctional control.
Private Prisons in the United States
The Sentencing Project
Twenty-eight states and the federal government incarcerated 121,718 people in private prisons in 2017, representing 8.2% of the total state and federal prison population. Since 2000, the number of people housed in private facilities has increased 39%, according to data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and The Sentencing Project and presented in our new fact sheet.
The 1994 Crime Bill, Legacy and Lessons
Part One: Impacts on Prison Populations
Council on Criminal Justice, September 2019 by William J. Sabol and Thaddeus L. Johnson

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What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs, 2006–2016
by Gregory Midgette, Steven Davenport, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Beau Kilmer
Research Questions
  • How many people are using cocaine (including crack), heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine in the United States?
  • How much are they using?
  • How much money are they spending?
  • How have these quantities changed over time?
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Calls for Limiting Collateral Consequences for People With Criminal Records
The report finds that many collateral consequences are unrelated either to the underlying crime or to a public safety purpose. In these circumstances, the imposition of collateral consequences “negatively affects public safety and the public good.”
Ex-Offender Action Network/Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches presents:
Co-Design of Services for Health and Reentry (CO-SHARE)
An Experience-Based Co-Design (EBCD) Pilot Study with Individuals Returning to Community from Jail and Service Providers in Los Angeles County
LOS ANGELES COUNTY Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group
Interim Report—June 2019

Bookings into the L.A. County Jail


A Million Dollar Hoods White Paper
By Danielle Dupuy, PhD, Eric Lee, MPH, Mariah Tso, MS, Isaac Bryan, MPP, and Kelly Lytle Hernández, PhD
Los Angeles County operates the largest jail system in the United States, which imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth.1 Using booking data collected by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, this report provides an overview of jail admissions into the Los Angeles County Jail between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2016.
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Calls for Limiting Collateral Consequences for People With Criminal Records
New report underscores link between ‘shocking’ number of evictions, homelessness
“It would be naive to ignore the connection between evictions and homelessness”
By Jenna Chandler@jennakchandler

Using Marijuana Revenue to Create Jobs

The Center for American Progress, May 20, 2019
By Maritza Perez, Olugbenga Ajilore, and Ed Chung

Rand Report

Evaluation of North Carolina's Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Program
by Lois M. Davis, Michelle C. Tolbert

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Discretionary Detention by the Numbers

By ACLU Analytics and Immigrants' Rights Project
Since 2016, 9,188 people have been locked up in our immigration system for over 30 days despite having been granted bond, most often because they could not afford to pay it. Like Cesar, most of them are immigrants seeking asylum. They are not convicted of crimes or subject to immediate deportation – in these cases, ICE had a choice, and it chose to imprison them.
New Fact Sheet: Urban Crime Declines During California's Justice Reform Era (2010-2018)
Mike Males
SAN FRANCISCO – April 3, 2019 – A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that, during a period of large-scale criminal justice reform including Proposition 47 and Public Safety Realignment, California’s urban crime rates have declined.

Where ‘Returning Citizens’ Find Housing After Prison

By: Teresa Wiltz
For those who’ve been locked up in prison for years, finding a home on the outside can be rough. Parole restrictions may limit where former inmates can live. Public housing and housing vouchers may be off-limits, and many landlords are reluctant to rent to former offenders.
The result, criminal justice experts say, is a housing crisis among the formerly incarcerated, particularly among those recently released from prison.
Starr and Prescott publish groundbreaking empirical study of expungement
March 19, 2019, CCRC Staff
Professors Sonja B. Starr and J.J. Prescott of Michigan Law School have released the first-ever broad-based empirical study of the effects of a state law limiting public access to criminal records.
Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019
Prison Policy Initiative, March 19, 2019
By Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner 
Can it really be true that most people in jail are being held before trial? And how much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs? These questions are harder to answer than you might think, because our country’s systems of confinement are so fragmented...This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement.
Attorney General Becerra Releases 2017 California Criminal Justice Data Reports
The reports released are:
  • Crime in California
  • Hate Crime in California
  • Homicide in California
  • Juvenile Justice in California
  • URSUS: Use of Force Incident Reporting

Read the Reports

A Groundbreaking Report Goes Deep On Black Homelessness In Los Angeles

LAist, MATT TINOCO, Feb. 26, 2019
Homelessness disproportionately affects black people in Los Angeles. Though about nine percent of Los Angeles County's total population is black-identifying, black people make up about 36 percent of the county's homeless population, according to the 2018 homeless count.

New Report: Pervasive Violence and Isolation at California's Division of Juvenile Justice Endanger Youth

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Maureen Washburn & Renee Menart
Feb. 19, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO – February 19, 2019 – A new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice provides a comprehensive review of conditions at the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)—California’s state-run youth correctional system— and finds a return to its historically grievous conditions that isolate and traumatize youth.

Top Trends in Criminal Justice Reform

The Sentencing Project
Unlocking the Black Box of Prosecution

Vera Institute of Justice
In order to help unlock this black box, the Vera Institute of Justice created this guide: a tool for interested community members and prosecutors to better understand what prosecutors can do to advance equal justice. Read More

"[DRAFT] The LA County Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety finalized its report given to the Board of Supervisors Nov. 15

Regarding the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s DepartmentCooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and [PROPOSED] Recommendations

Read the Draft 
Reimagining Prison
Web Report by the Vera Institute

The harsh conditions within prison have been demonstrated neither to ensure safety behind the walls nor to prevent crime and victimization in the community.

"This document—unlike anything we have ever produced at the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera)—is about the possibility of radical change. It asserts a dramatic reconsideration of the most severe criminal sanction we have: incarceration. It articulates a view that is sure to be alien to many. Yet we need not accept as a given the way we do things now, and we encourage you to envision a different path."

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REPORT - Decarceration Stratgies: How 5 states achieved substantial prison population reductions

This report by The Sentencing Project, seeks to inform stakeholders in other states of the range of policy options available to them forsignificantly reducing their prison population. While weprovide some assessment of the political environment which contributed to these changes, we do not go into great detail in this area since stakeholders will need to make their own determinations of strategy based on the particularities of their state.

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Isaac Bryan, Terry Allen MA, Kelly Lytle Hernández PhD, and the Million Dollar Hoods Team

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Special Report: 2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism:
A 9-Year Follow-Up Period (2005-2014)

Mariel Alper, Ph.D., and Matthew R. Durose, BJS Statisticians Joshua Markman, former BJS Statistician

Root & Rebound Re-Launches First Online Training Hub for People in Reentry!

Online Training...


is a new report from the Trone Center for Justice & Equality. The report details the ways companies can combat the ills of decades of mass incarceration, while at the same tapping into the potential energy of a workforce of millions.

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Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

January 10, 2017 By the Drug Policy Alliance and Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

For decades, the criminal justice system has incentivized arrests, convictions, incarceration, and other criminal consequences for drug use. However, the American public increasingly believes problematic substance use is a public health problem, not a criminal one. In California, drug policy reforms implemented over recent years reflect these changing perceptions.


Peter Espinoza, Director of Office Diversion & Re-Entry gave an overview of the various current and upcoming projects by Office of Diversion and Reentry at the last LARRP General meeting. Click below to download a powerpoint of his presentation.

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Shadow Prisons

The Southern Poverty Law Center

November 21, 2016 by Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigrant Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and Adelante Alabama Worker Center

This report is the result of a seven-month investigation of six detention centers in the South, a region where tens of thousands of people are locked up for months, sometimes even years, as they await hearings or deportation.