Back to RJ Archive

“Diminishing returns: Crime and incarceration in the 1990s”

Gainsborough, Jenni
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project.

Is there a correlation between the following two trends in the United States? Since the 1970s prison construction and rates of incarceration have increased dramatically. In the 1990s crime rates declined significantly. Some observers state, therefore, that increased incarceration has proven effective in reducing crime. In contrast, the authors of this study claim there is little to support the position that massive incarceration is the most effective way to reduce crime. In arguing this claim, they present and analyze relevant statistics on rates of crime and incarceration from the 1970s through the 1990s. They examine factors contributing to the growth of the prison population, factors contributing to reductions in crime, and consequences of mass incarceration. Additionally, in view of their claim about massive incarceration, they outline implications for public policy.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now