Ending Mass Incarceration

Scoping the Problem

It’s impossible to appreciate a problem, let alone solve it, without understanding its scope—the shape and scale of what’s happening. And a complex problem like mass incarceration, typically defined by the 2.3 million people incarcerated at any one time in America, requires substantial unpacking. 

Our work wrestling with data falls into two broad categories: defining and monitoring trends in ways that inform both experts and the public, and using cutting-edge cost-benefit analysis. In the first category, for example, we created a truly unique vehicle to track incarceration trends at the county level—telescoping an issue that can feel huge and remote by generating numbers that matter locally. Similarly,  cost-benefit analysis provides the foundation for smarter criminal justice policies. That work includes calculating the true price of prisons, something that the traditional budgeting process has failed to do.

Related Work

Series: Two Societies

Contemporary Models of Equal Access to Housing

The Family Reentry Pilot Program

Given the significant barriers to reentry for formerly incarcerated people—which leads to high personal and economic instability and a risk of recidivism—Vera and its partners in the NYCHA pilot program understood how vital it is for a person to connect with family or a support system in order to successfully reenter their community. The Family Ree...

Blog Post
  • Preety Aujla
    Preety Aujla
May 07, 2018
Blog Post

An Unjust Burden

The Disparate Treatment of Black Americans in the Criminal Justice System

The evidence for racial disparities in the criminal justice system is well documented. The disproportionate racial impact of certain laws and policies, as well as biased decision making by justice system actors, leads to higher rates of arrest and incarceration in low-income communities of color. However, there is no evidence that these widely disp...

Publication
  • Elizabeth Kai Hinton, LeShae Henderson, Cindy Reed
May 03, 2018
Publication