Justice Policy Institute

Our Mission

The mission of the Justice Policy Institute is to promote effective solutions to social problems and to be dedicated to ending society’s reliance on incarceration.

A Failed Policy

In the last twenty years, our nation has witnessed an unprecedented growth in its prison population, making the country’s incarceration rates the highest in the world. As politicians promised to get “tough-on-crime”, prison beds filled, often with people with social problems like mental health or addiction issues that could be better treated elsewhere. Now, the country struggles to pay for over two million people in prison, most of whom will eventually be released. The time has come for better solutions.

A Better Approach: Safe and Effective Alternatives
As prisons populations grow and financial resources diminish, attitudes towards prisons are changing. Over half the states in the country have moved away from the excessively punitive policies of the past in favor of approaches that support treatment and community-based alternatives, while saving money, promoting safety and building communities. Smarter alternatives exist, that cost less money and are more effective at rehabilitating people. But prison and jail populations continue to rise, and more work must be done.

The Justice Policy Institute: Shaping the Debate
Since 1997, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) has worked to enhance the public dialog on incarceration through accessible research, public education, and communications advocacy. Lawmakers, media, advocates, systems reformers and the general public rely on JPI’s timely analysis. JPI was named one of the 25 most quoted progressive non-profits in the country by FAIR magazine.


JPI promotes appropriate alternatives to incarceration through:
  • Timely and targeted policy briefs, reports and research projects.
  • Strategic communications and media advocacy.
  • Technical assistance and strategic consultation to allies and campaigns.
  • Trainings on research and communications.
  • Connecting and highlighting different work and allies in the field, across the states, and across the country.
  • Rapid response to emerging issues opportunities and threats to reform.