For Immediate Release: April 1, 2008
Contact: LaWanda Johnson (202) 558-7974 ext. 308
New report: Jail populations exploding; massive growth devastating local communities
Jails bulging with people with mental illnesses, the homeless and people detained for immigration offenses; costing counties billions
“Crime rates are down, but you’re more likely to serve time in jail today than you would have been twenty years ago,” said report co-author Amanda Petteruti. “Jail bonds have skyrocketed, so that means if you’re poor, you do time. People are being punished before they’re found guilty—justice is undermined.”
The report, Jailing Communities: The Impact of Jail Expansion and Effective Public Safety Strategies, found jail population growth (22 percent), is having serious consequences for communities that are now paying tens of billions yearly to sustain jails. Jails are filled with people with drug addictions, the homeless and people charged with immigration offenses. The report concludes that jails have become the “new asylums,” with six out of 10 people in jail living with a mental illness.
Justice Policy Institute