Latest Publications

JS Publication October 28, 2016

Better by Half: The New York City Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety

Released in the midst of a growing national discussion about ending mass incarceration, a new publication highlights New York’s reversal on incarceration and offers lessons on how other cities and states can substantially reduce incarceration while promoting safety. 

In Better by Half, co-authors Judith Greene, Director of Justice Strategies, and Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Program in Criminal Justice, describe how New York City, which once struggled with overflowing jail populations and high rates of violent crime, cut its combined jail and prison incarceration rate by 55 percent and reduced serious crime by 58 percent between 1996 and 2014. 

By contrast, the national incarceration rate grew by 12 percent during the same time period, and was accompanied by a more modest decrease in serious crime of 42 percent. By 2014, New York City earned the distinction of having the lowest crime rate of the nation’s 20 largest cities, and the second lowest jail incarceration rate. And New York State had become one of three states (along with New Jersey and California) leading the nation in terms of prison population reductions. Read more »

JS Publication July 13, 2016

Indefensible: A Decade of Mass Incareration of Migrants Prosecuted for Crossing the Border

"Indefensible,” a new book from Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership, examines the costs and failures of over a decade of criminalization of border migration. Operation Streamline was launched in 2005 and added criminal convictions to the previous civil removal process, and is known for the disturbing spectacle of mass courtroom proceedings in which up to 80 shackled migrants are arraigned, convicted and sentenced for misdemeanor improper entry charges. While the Streamline courts have been scaled back in several districts, the legacy continues in federal courts, and includes related massive immigration prosecutions for both improper entry and felony re-entry. In 2015, half (49 percent) of all federal prosecutions were made up of what is essentially a crime of trespassing, in the form of improper entry and re-entry prosecutions. Read more »

JS Publication March 21, 2016

US Sentencing Commission Testimony Mar. 21, 2016

In this joint testimony regarding proposed sentencing enhancements for unlawfully entering or remaining in the US, Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership provide the US Sentencing Commission with insights into the views of the judges, federal public defenders, private attorneys and individuals who, on a daily basis deal with, and have been directly impacted by, these prosecutions.

JS Publication March 27, 2015

Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in New York State

In this policy memorandum, Senior Justice Strategies Research Analyst, Patricia Allard offers suggested changes to New York State law that can help mitigate the negative impacts of parental involvement with the criminal justice system on their children.  These changes would help preserve family integrity by promoting alternatives to parental incarceration, provide for enhancing sentencing reports to courts, and other supports that could help these NYS families thrive.

JS Publication October 8, 2014

For-Profit Family Detention: Meet the Private Prison Corporations Making Millions by Locking Up Refugee Families

In this joint report by Grassroots Leadership and Justice Strategies, we review the history of charges of sexual abuse and neglect of children, indifference to medical needs, inadequate and unsanitary food, and brutal treatment by staff, levied in lawsuits, government investigations, and allegations by those held in family detention facilities operated by private, for-profit, prison corporations.  These same corporations are now being contracted by the federal government to detain refugee families arriving at our southern border after fleeing the violence in Central America.