The Smart Decarceration Project at the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice is bridging research and practice to reduce the over reliance on incarceration while addressing the racial and behavioral health disparities in the criminal legal system. Generating real-world evidence in close collaboration with local and national stakeholders, the Smart Decarceration Project seeks to reduce the use of incarceration by developing interventions that deliver tangible impact, informing the next generation of criminal legal policies and programs, and spearheading a cross-sector movement sustained by transdisciplinary dialogue.
Mass incarceration is unprecedented
As of 2020, nearly
people are incarcerated in jails and prisons in the US.
An additional 3.6 million
people are on probation
Mass incarceration has unequal effects
Black/African Americans make up
40% of the US prison population,
13% of the total population.
37% of people in state and federal prisons have been diagnosed with a mental illness
Mass incarceration is ineffective
1 in 4
people who are in jail wll be arrested again in the same year
Low level misdemeanor offenses account for
of the nation’s daily jail population.
(Data from Prison Policy Initiative)