COVID Data Analysis Incarceration Trends Jail Populations July 11, 2024

Updated Findings on Jail Reform, Violent Crime and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sana Khan, Emily West, Stephanie Rosoff, CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance

Jail population reduction reforms are often cited as causing crime increases. Last year, CUNY ISLG evaluated this claim using data from cities and counties that have implemented jail re- forms as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge. The analysis found that jail populations were lowered safely, without driving an increase in crime or an increase in returns to jail custody. A year later, the findings still hold true.

This brief presents the most up-to-date data— through April 2023—on the outcomes of individuals released from jails after SJC reforms were passed. Additionally, this brief expands on previous work by distinguishing returns to jail that involve a new alleged criminal offense and those that involve administrative reasons only, such as failing to appear in court or violating a condition of release.

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