Can We Wait 75 Years to Cut the Prison Population in Half?
The Sentencing Project
Mar 26, 2018

“While most states have downsized their prison populations in recent years, the pace of decarceration is insufficient to undo nearly four decades of unrelenting growth.  If states and the federal government maintain their recent pace of decarceration, it will take 75 years—until 2093—to cut the U.S. prison population by 50%. Expediting the end of mass incarceration will require accelerating the end of the Drug War and scaling back sentences for serious crimes.”

“The growing recognition of the scale and urgency of mass incarceration is now voiced by leaders as diverse as Sen. Corey Booker and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. A growing number of policy experts and advocacy organizations are now calling for a 50 percent cut in the U.S. prison population within the next 15 years. These include the ACLU, the #Cut50 initiative led by Van Jones, and Just Leadership USA—a national group led by formerly incarcerated individuals.

But the sobering reality is that at the pace of decline since 2009, it will take until 2093 to cut the U.S. prison population by 50%.  Clearly, waiting 75 years to dismantle a system that is increasingly viewed as out of step with the world and racially biased is unacceptable. Expediting the end of mass incarceration will require intensifying the scope of reforms and accelerating their pace.”

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