Thursday, September 16, 2010

JPI: FBI Crime Report Shows Crime Drops as Prison Growth Slows

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2010

Contacts: Jason Fenster - (202) 558-7974 x306 /

FBI Crime Report Shows Crime Drops as Prison Growth Slows

National justice research organization points to better use of effective strategies as basis for improving public safety and decreasing incarceration.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Crime is down in all regions of the country, according to the full 2009 Uniform Crime Report released by the FBI on September 13, 2010. The Justice Policy Institute (JPI), a Washington, D.C. based organization dedicated to justice reform, says that the economic crisis has forced policymakers to make more informed decisions on public safety strategies, yielding decreases in incarceration.

"States and localities have had to make smarter choices with their budgets," said Tracy Velázquez, executive director of JPI. "They've realized locking lots of people up for long periods of time is not only really expensive, it's just not the best way to improve public safety."

According to a fact sheet developed by JPI based on data in the FBI report, the number of violent crimes reported to police dropped by 5.3 percent and property crimes dropped 4.6 percent. While there was some variation, all areas of the country saw drops both in violent and property crime. This decrease in crime comes on the heels of declining prison growth rates in state facilities.

"Jurisdictions are starting to use community supervision in place of incarceration and are developing tools to help focus resources on people who are most at risk of returning to prison," stated Velázquez. Also, more people who are arrested for drug-use related offenses are being diverted to treatment, providing a significantly greater public safety benefit than incarceration while saving scarce taxpayer funds.

"We all want to live in safe and healthy communities," added Velázquez. "Recent reports on declining rates of incarceration and drops in crime show that lowering prison populations and reducing crime and victimization are not mutually exclusive."

"This should be encouraging information for state policymakers," concluded Velázquez. "We hope states continue to assess available data and research and realign their budget priorities to reduce the number of people behind bars and instead focus on programs that build, strengthen and protect communities."

To read JPI's fact sheet on the FBI's 2009 Uniform Crime Report, CLICK HERE. For additional information, please contact Jason Fenster at (202) 558-7974 x306 or For more on JPI's research, please visit our website at

The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) is a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to reducing society's use of incarceration and promoting just and effective social policies.


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