Accounting for Violence How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration

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In the United States, violence and mass incarceration are deeply entwined, though evidence shows that both can decrease at the same time. A new vision is needed to meaningfully address violence and reduce the use of incarceration—and to promote healing among crime survivors and improve public safety. This report describes four principles to guide policies and practices that aim to reduce violence: They should be survivor-centered, based on accountability, safety-driven, and racially equitable.

For more on this report, read a interview with author Danielle Sered and Bill Keller, editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, and a related commentary in the Washington Post’s True Crime blog.

Key Takeaway

The country cannot incarcerate its way out of violence. As a violence intervention strategy, prison fails to deliver the safety, justice, and accountability all people deserve, and at great human and financial cost. Increasingly, this message is being shared not only by justice reformers, but by crime survivors themselves.

Publication Highlights

  • It is essential to reduce violence and incarceration. Data show that both can happen at the same time.

  • A new vision for justice must address violence in its community and historical contexts and in a way that honors all crime survivors and insists on racial equity.

  • To reduce violence and mass incarceration, we must prioritize safety over politics.

Key Facts