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Expert Brief

New Findings on Crime and Incarceration: How These Findings Relate to Legislation in Your State

A new analysis indicates how the findings from our recent report What Caused the Crime Decline? can be applied to different types of legislation in many states this year.

Published: February 27, 2015

The Brennan Center’s recent report, What Caused the Crime Decline?, examines 14 theories for the nation’s dramatic crime decline since 1990. After a rigorous empirical analysis, it finds, among other things, that increased incarceration played a limited role in the crime drop. Specifically, incarceration accounted for approximately 5 percent (potentially ranging from 0 to 10 percent) of the crime drop in the 1990s, and accounted for essentially zero percent of the crime decline since 2000.

This analysis indicates how these findings apply to different types of legislation (or ballot initiatives) on the horizon in many states this year. 

New Findings on Crime and Incarceration