Does Our County Really Need a Bigger Jail? A Guide for Avoiding Unnecessary Jail Expansion

Prison Policy Initiative logoThis new report from the Prison Policy Initiative gives cities and counties a tool for fighting mass incarceration by providing a guide to preventing unnecessary jail expansion. The report lays out 33 questions that local decision makers should ask when evaluating proposals for new or bigger jails.

Questions for policymakers include: how many people have been confined in the existing jail who have not been convicted on any given day; how many people in the county are incarcerated because they cannot afford to pay fines and fees; and what specialized diversion courts and treatment programs is the county using to divert people struggling with substance addictions and mental illnesses into more effective treatments than jail.