The Council of State Governments Justice Center has published a new 50-State Report on Public Safety using the most recent crime and arrest data from 2017. The report aims to help officials in all 50 states effectively address their specific public safety challenges by compiling relevant data from reputable sources and organizing it in an easily digestible manner.
The report is organized by three common goals: reduce crime and strengthen communities; break the cycle of reoffending; and use cost-effective strategies to invest in public safety. Each goal is supported by four strategies state officials and policymakers can adopt to focus on issues most relevant to their communities.
The CSG Justice Center published an article summarizing the findings presented in the report, including:
- In 2015, states spent nearly 10 times more taxpayer money on prison costs than they did on community supervision, despite the fact that there were 1.5 million people in state prisons versus 4.5 million on probation and parole.
- Nearly all states track and publish recidivism for people leaving prison, but 32 states use a narrow definition that only includes reincarceration, not rearrests and reconvictions. Only 11 states collect and publish any measure of recidivism for the millions of people starting probation supervision each year.
- All but eight states saw an increase in correctional populations in the last decade; 24 states are projecting growth in their prison populations.
- In 2014, at least 40 percent of people in prison had been convicted of property or drug offenses in 16 states.
The report serves as a continuation of the 50-State Summit on Public Safety hosted by the CSG Justice Center and the Association of State Correctional Administrators last year. Attendees at the summit, which included state legislators, corrections leaders, law enforcement and behavioral health professionals, determined that easy-to-read data supported by strategies, research and examples was needed to address criminal justice trends, such as changing crime and recidivism rates and prisons and jail spending.
As the report highlights, there is much work to do in corrections, both within the prison system and within communities to support public safety. GEO Reentry Services is working closely with officials to develop programs that reduce recidivism, strengthen communities, and help alleviate pressure on prison and jail systems. The company provides evidence-based treatment and supervision programs for adult probationers, parolees and pretrial defendants in residential, in-prison and non-residential reentry centers.