Better by Half: The New York Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety
October 28, 2016
Authors: Judith Greene, Vincent Schiraldi
The Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Justice Strategies, and the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice, present Better by Half: The New York City Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety.
In this new report, co-authors Greene and Schiraldi examine New York City’s successful 55 percent incarceration rate decline from 1996 to 2014, coinciding with a 54 percent decline in violent crime. At a time when America grapples with the challenges of and solutions to mass incarceration, New York City provides an effective example of replacing incarceration with more informal, less intrusive dispositions and community-based programs, without jeopardizing public safety.
The paper examines the grassroots advocacy and responsive public officials that made New York City one of the least incarcerated cities in the United States. Given the growing, bipartisan consensus to reduce mass incarceration, the authors encourage other states to recognize the success that can be achieved through bold reform agendas, organizational moxie and powerful public engagement, as demonstrated by New York City.