From The Sentencing Project, January 2020
The United States is a world leader in incarceration and keeps nearly 7 million persons under criminal justice
supervision. More than 2.2 million are in prison or jail, while 4.6 million are monitored in the community
on probation or parole. More punitive sentencing laws and policies, not increases in crime rates, have
produced this high rate of incarceration. Ending mass incarceration will require changing sentencing
policies and practices, scaling back the collateral consequences of conviction, and addressing racial
disparities in the criminal justice system. In recent years most states have enacted reforms designed to
reduce the scale of incarceration and the impact of the collateral consequences of a felony conviction.
This briefing paper describes key reforms undertaken in 2019 prioritized by The Sentencing Project.