Our nation’s criminal justice system is not producing enough safety or justice. Although crime and incarceration rates have receded from historic highs, racial and economic disparities persist, too many communities struggle with violence and substance abuse, and new technologies are increasing our vulnerability to cybercrime and other security threats. Taxpayers now spend a quarter trillion dollars per year to arrest, try, sentence, and supervise the seven million American adults behind bars or on probation and parole, yet return-to-prison rates remain high.
Over the past decade, however, compelling improvements have been adopted by Congress and state and local governments across the country, borne of strong backing across the ideological spectrum. Growing awareness of strategies that work better and cost less has made many policymakers thirsty for sound data and research from trustworthy sources. And, in an age of polarized politics, our nation needs solidly nonpartisan institutions that encourage people to focus on facts and come to agreement on central issues of the day. The Council on Criminal Justice is designed to be such a resource.
The Council on Criminal Justice advances understanding of the criminal justice policy choices facing the nation and builds consensus for solutions that enhance safety and justice for all. We believe a fair and effective criminal justice system is essential to democracy and a core measure of our nation’s well-being.