drug policy & Justice

The Lack of Relationship between Drug Imprisonment and Drug Problems

The Pew Charitable Trusts

“On June 19, 2017, The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted a letter to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, outlining an analysis of whether state drug imprisonment rates are linked to the nature and extent of state drug problems—a key question as the nation faces an escalating opioid epidemic. Pew compared publicly available data from law enforcement, corrections, and health agencies from all 50 states.

Pew’s analysis found no statistically significant relationship between states’ drug offender imprisonment rates and three measures of drug problems: rates of illicit use, overdose deaths, and arrests. The findings reinforce previous research that cast doubt on the theory that stiffer prison terms deter drug use and related crime.”

Juveniles & Justice

A Practical Plan for Safe Communities: Delaware

Delaware Center for Justice & National Juvenile Justice Network

“Just as a bicycle works best when it uses the right gear for the terrain, our youth justice system should use different resources for different situations. Instead of over-relying on the gear for secure lockup, we should be able to shift gears to mental health treatment, addiction services, trauma-focused treatment, and opportunities for young people to learn and practice the skills they need to become responsible adults. With this common-sense approach, we could get where we need to go; holding youth accountable while ensuring that they are rehabilitated and our neighborhoods are kept safe.”

Race & Justice

Evaluating the Role of Race in Criminal Adjudications in Delaware

MacDonald & Donnelly

“The results of this study suggest that current charge and case characteristics from the arrest stage are the primary drivers of racial disparities in incarceration sentences and sentence length. Contextual factors related to county location and detention between arrest and court disposition are important, but less influential contributors to racial differences in incarceration sentencing. Taking into account these three sets of case-level factors suggests that discretion in criminal processing after arrests plays little role in explaining the relatively high rates of African Americans serving an incarceration sentence in Delaware in 2012-2014. The results indicate that legal system reform efforts to reduce racial disparities in incarceration in Delaware will need to focus on how sentences are determined.”

Victims & Justice

Crime Survivors Speak: The First-Ever National Survey of Victims’ Views on Safety & Justice

Alliance for Safety & Justice

2-1 margin prefer rehab

By a 2 to 1 margin, victims prefer that the legal system focus more on rehabilitating people who commit crimes than punish them.

  • By a margin of 15 to 1, victims prefer increased investments in schools and education over more investments in prisons and jails
  • By a margin of 10 to 1, victims prefer increased investments in job creation over more investments in prisons and jails
  • By a margin of 7 to 1, victims prefer increased investments in mental health treatment over more investments in prisons and jails
Six in ten

victims prefer shorter prison sentences and more spending on prevention and rehabilitation to prison sentences that keep people incarcerated for as long as possible.

  • By a margin of nearly 3 to 1, victims believe that prison makes people more like to commit crimes that to rehabilitate them
  • By a margin of 7 to 1, victims prefer increased investments in crime prevention and programs of at-risk youth over more investments in prisons and jails
By a margin of 3 to 10

victims prefer holding people accountable through options beyond prison, such as rehabilitation, mental health, treatment, drug treatment, community supervision, or community service.

  • By a margin of 4 to 1, victims prefer increased investments in drug treatment over more investments in prisons and jails
  • By a margin of 2 to 1, victims prefer increased investments in community supervision over more investments in prisons and jails




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