Success-Oriented Funding

The criminal justice system is full of financial incentives that intentionally or inadvertently help fuel mass incarceration. Government funding is often given to public and private entities without accurate accountability - federally, in states, and at the local level. 

But, there is a solution. "Success-Oriented Funding" is simple: fund what works. The policy model would restructure criminal justice funding to ensure better outcomes, ones that reduce both crime and incarceration together. Success-Oriented Funding would extend what the government has already started to implement in education and healthcare. By setting clear goals for success, government can better align public policy goals with funding streams.


To move the criminal justice system forward, should we be employing the same tactics used at the height of the crime wave in the '80s? Or focus efforts—and dollars—on modern data-driven approaches and away from incarceration?

Conservative and progressive groups, law enforcement, and policy makers have written letters in support of the Brennan Center’s proposal for reform.

Two decades ago, the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 – known as the “crime bill” – changed the landscape of criminal justice in the United States. The bill was responsible for a dramatic influx of federal funds that helped drive mass incarceration.

At a time of fierce debate between President Obama and Congress over the use of executive action, this policy proposal outlines 15 steps the administration can take to overcome a paralyzed government, strengthen democracy, secure justice, and further the rule of law.