Question and resist new jail construction and expansion.

Target actors: Local legislators, jail administrators.

Some counties depend on unreliable crime projections that reinforce racial bias or current high jail populations to justify plans to build new, bigger jail facilities that allocate valuable community resources to expand the community’s carceral footprint. But jail populations typically rise as new bed space becomes available. Research suggests that this is because local criminal legal system actors adjust their decisions in the face of material constraints: As long as jail beds are available, system actors lack motivation to find alternatives to jail. Legislators, system actors, and community advocates should push back on decisions to expand the jail or spend money on jail construction and focus instead on alleviating overcrowding by changing local policies to reduce the number of people in the jail.

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