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

Overview

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.

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Inspired by Germany and Norway, the P.A.C.T. unit is the first-of-its-kind in a county jail across the country.

The journey toward creating P.A.C.T. was certainly not easy. Change is always difficult, especially in a field like corrections. Since we opened the doors of this unit just over a year ago, we have had successes, we have faced challenges, and we have learned from both. But the early results we are seeing reveal promise. Our recent report on these r...

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  • Peter J. Koutoujian
    Peter J. Koutoujian
May 24, 2019
Blog Post