Ohio Fact Sheet: What Caused the Crime Decline?

Ohio spent $1.798 billion on corrections in 2013. At the same time, from its height in 1981 to 2013, crime in Ohio dropped by 41 percent.

February 12, 2015

What Caused the Crime Decline? examines 14 different theories for the massive decline in crime across the country over the last two decades. It provides a rigorous empirical analysis conducted by a team of economics and criminal justice researchers on over 40 years of data, gathered from all 50 states and the 50 largest cities.

Over the past 40 years, states across the country have sought to fight crime by implementing policies to increase incarceration. The result: The United States is now the largest jailor in the world. With 5 percent of the world’s population, we have 25 percent of its prisoners.

In Ohio, the prison population has more than doubled in the past 25 years. Experts found that increases in the average length of an individual's time spent incarcerated primarily drove this expansion, in addition to increased prison admissions. By 2013, however, Ohio’s prison growth slowed, and the number of prisoners stabilized at 51,729. Ohio spent $1.798 billion on corrections in 2013. At the same time, from its height in 1981 to 2013, crime in Ohio dropped by 41 percent. And the national crime rate was cut in half. 

What caused this drop? Was it the explosion in incarceration? Or was it something else?

Ohio Fact Sheet: What Caused the Crime Decline? by The Brennan Center for Justice