Reducing Jail and Prison Population

Together, we can end mass incarceration

Today, approximately two million people sit in jail and prison cells. Some are awaiting trial. Some are serving sentences. And some will never see their homes or families again. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Many people are incarcerated for reasons that have little to do with public safety. In fact, if incarceration could make us safer, the United States would be the safest nation in the world. We are home to barely 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its incarcerated people, with people booked into jail nearly 11 million times each year. Instead, years of research have shown that crime rates, public safety, and community health are more likely to be negatively affected by incarceration than they are to be improved.

Vera is working to end mass incarceration. It will not be enough to arrest and prosecute fewer people, although that is an important step. We must also reduce the footprint of incarceration by reversing the trend of building new jails and prisons and overfilling existing facilities.

Key Facts

the number of people admitted to jail every year
of people in jail have not been convicted of a crime
1 in 7
people in prison are serving life or virtual life sentences

"We can replace incarceration with justice, without sacrificing safety."

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Sub-head: Help Vera fight to end mass incarceration.

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