Report: Spend Less on Prisons, More on Programs

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Although crime is down, incarceration rates are up, according to a new report by the Justice Policy Institute, which is dedicated to finding solutions to major social issues. The report notes a rise in racial disparities and asks why states are spending more money on prisons during an economic crisis.

The JPI makes these points about kids and crime:

States with higher rates of high school graduation and college enrollment have lower crime rates than states with lower educational attainment levels.

Investments in job training and employment are associated with heightened public safety. Youth who are employed are more likely to avoid justice involvement.

To turn things around, JPI suggests:

  • Shifting priorities so that fewer people end up in “deep end” institutions like prisons and juvenile detention.
  • Focus on reducing prison budgets so that states can create services and systems to help people in trouble.
  • Improve access to quality education and invest in special education services for children who need help.
  • Invest in afterschool, recreation and mentoring programs for teens that reduce the likelihood that they’ll get involved with illegal activities.

For the full JPI report, click here.

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