Now available on-demand

The Role of the U.S. Sentencing Commission in Decarceration: First Step Act and Beyond

A weekly virtual panel discussion series examining how the U.S. Sentencing Commission and its guidelines impact mass incarceration. Featuring judges, scholars, and practitioners discussing how guidelines, policy statements, and data collection might advance decarceration efforts and address system disparities. Watch all panels here.

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Key Stats

Our System Needs Change


Percent increase of the prison population in the United States since the 1970s.

1 hour

The limited amount of time per day that the more than 60,000 people in U.S. solitary confinement are allowed for showers, brief exercise, or medical visits.

13 states

The number of states in the hottest regions of the country lacking universal air conditioning in their prisons, tragically leading to preventable and inhumane heat-related illness and death.

Rethinking sentencing

"There is little evidence that increases in the length of already long prison sentences yield general deterrent effects that are sufficiently large to justify their social and economic costs."

From "Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century," University of Chicago Press

“While there is certainly a subset of high-risk offenders for whom incapacitation is warranted, in general, placing people in custodial sanctions appears to contribute to, rather than reduce, reoffending.”

From "Custodial Sanctions and Reoffending: A Meta-Analytic Review," University of Chicago Press