Criminal Justice Reform

This report examines the recidivism patterns of former prisoners during a 9-year follow-up period. The report provides data on the number and types of crimes prisoners commit after release, by offender characteristics, commitment offense, whether the arrest was within or outside the state of release, and whether released prisoners had no subsequent arrests during the follow-up period. It also shows how recidivism and desistance patterns change when using longer or shorter follow-up periods, including cumulative and annual arrest percentages, year of first arrest following release from prison, and the total number of arrests of released prisoners.

This report from the Sentencing Project seeks to inform stakeholders in other states of the range of policy options available to them fo significantly reducing their prison population.  It will show how these states employed five key strategies to achieve these reductions and the report provides extensive reviews of the results.

Doubts about the current system of mass incarceration emerge in a nationally representative survey, even in more politically conservative, rural parts of the country. Indeed, in an era of broad speculation about a growing urban-rural divide, there is general consensus between rural America, small cities and major metropolitan areas that the criminal justice system is not working and communities should focus on priorities other than spending millions on prisons and jails.

On December 21, 2018, President Trump signed into law the First Step Act of 2018 (P.L. 115- 391). The act was the culmination of several years of congressional debate about what Congress might do to reduce the size of the federal prison population while also creating mechanisms to maintain public safety. 

The Brennan Center analyzed available crime data from the nation's 30 largest cities, estimating that these cities would see a decline in crime and murder in 2018. TheOur report, Crime and Murder in 2018: A Preliminary Analysis, concluded that crime and murder in 2018 are again declining nationwide, continuing the historic downward trend. This analysis updates the September report and finds that, where data were available, rates of crime, violent crime, and murder in major American cities are estimated to decline through the end of 2018. However, murder rates in some cities remain above 2015 levels, demonstrating a continued need for evidence-based solutions to violent crime.


The present document was prepared in accordance with the practice established pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 1990/18.

Crime prevention is often interpreted narrowly, focusing on techniques to resolve local crime problems. But what can be learned from broader crime trends, where national or international issues are at stake? The present report contains a brief overview of some of the most dramatic shifts in crime trends, and asks what these examples might imply about the role of the criminal justice system, and crime policy generally. Can targeted interventions really make a difference on a national or international scale?

The  Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice contains the instruments in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice adopted  by the international community in more than sixty years. 

Global Prison Trends 2018 is the fourth edition in Penal Reform International’s annual series, published in collaboration with the Thailand Institute of Justice. The report analyses trends in criminal justice and the use of imprisonment and, as in previous years, these show that while overall crime rates around the world have declined, the number of people in prison on any given day is rising.