As Americans grapple with the challenges of and solutions to mass incarceration, we are in need of examples of jurisdictions that have successfully and substantially reduced incarceration rates without jeopardizing public safety. New York City is an insufficiently studied and discussed example of both. From the mid-90s to the present day, New York City’s incarceration rate has plummeted alongside its violent and overall crime rate, while incarceration rates in the rest of the country and New York State rose. This leaves New York City as the safest big city in America and one of its least incarcerated.
The Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (PCJ), Justice Strategies, and the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice hosted an event on October 28, 2016 for the launch of Better by Half: The New York City Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety. The report is co-authored by Judith Green, Executive Director of Justice Strategies, and Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's PCJ.