Continued efforts to lower incarceration rates will stall unless we address the role that revenue plays in the daily operation of police departments, courts, jails and prisons across the country. So much of these entities’ time and effort goes into generating revenue that the goals of pursuing justice and improving public safety often get pushed to the side.
A new Brennan Center for Justice report delves into the interlocking economic incentives that underpin our justice system. Many of these practices rely on a simple calculus: More people in the justice system means more dollars for agencies, governments and contracted for-profit firms
Some of the revenue streams flow straight out of the pockets of the people who are ticketed, searched, arrested, jailed, tried and sent to jail or prison, while others arise from a growing trade in bed space at correctional and detention facilities.