How New York City Reduced Mass Incarceration: A Model for Change?

01/31/2013
James Austin | Michael Jacobson

Over the past two decades, New York became one of the first states to significantly reduce its entire correctional population. A report co-authored by Vera President and Director Michael Jacobson contends that a shift in New York City’s policing practices in the 1990s—away from felony arrests and towards arrests for low-level offenses—was largely responsible for the state’s reduction in incarceration. Demonstrating how local policies can have a dramatic impact on state correctional systems, the findings also counter the argument that lowering prison and jail populations will trigger increases in crime rates.