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Finding Direction - Expanding Criminal Justice Options by Considering Policies of Other Nations, Justice Policy Institute, 2011

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FINDING DIRECTION:
EXPANDING CRIMINAL JUSTICE OPTIONS BY
CONSIDERING POLICIES OF OTHER NATIONS
J U S T I C E P O L I C Y I N S T I T U T E | A P R I L 2 0 11

CONTENTS
Justice Policy Institute is a
national nonprofit organization
that changes the conversation
around justice reform and
advances policies that promote
well-being and justice for all
people and communities.

3	

Introduction	

4	

What this report does and does not do	

5	Similarities between nations make policy
opportunities possible.
5 	Fundamental similarities provide the groundwork for comparison.	

10 	The U.S. leads the world in incarceration, but this is not
making the U.S. safer.
14 	The U.S. justice system operates to create more
incarceration.
14	

Policing and arrests	

16 	

Pretrial detention and remand to custody

20 	

Sentencing	

23	

Punitive response to drug use	

33 	

Parole and reentry	

45 	

Juvenile justice	

50	Differences across nations present some challenges to
implementing policy.	

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50 	

Politics and government structure	

52 	

Media defines crime and policy in many comparison nations

53 	

Economics and spending	

57 	Certain communities bear a disproportionate burden of
incarceration in all comparison nations.	
58	

Policy implications	

59	

Conclusions and Recommendations	

61	
62	
64	

Glossary of Terms	
APPENDIX: Additional Reading
Factsheet: International Policies in the United States

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

a letter from the

executive director
Dear Reader,
Two years ago, JPI was approached with an academic paper entitled, “The Use of Incarceration in the
United States and other Western Democracies,” by Douglas B. Weiss, M.A. and Doris MacKenzie, Ph.D.
At that time and amidst a growing economic crisis, U.S. Senator Jim Webb was rallying people behind the
formation of a criminal justice commission that would examine current policies and practices, with an eye
toward creating recommendations for ways the U.S. could safely reduce its incarceration rate. We believed
the work of Dr. MacKenzie and Mr. Weiss was important to this effort, in that it placed the U.S. criminal
justice system in a larger context, giving the proposed commission a broader range of possibilities to
contemplate. While people in the United States might feel that “there’s no place like home,” in many ways
it is not so different from other nations and it’s possible that policies that minimize the incarceration rate
in other countries might also work in the U.S. With this belief as our guidepost, we undertook the creation
of a policy report that uses many of the initial comparisons made by MacKenzie and Weiss, adding other
comparisons of specific phases in the criminal justice system to uncover the kinds of policies that might
work in the U.S. The result is a compelling rationale for a number of recommendations for policymakers to
consider when seeking to change criminal justice policies in the U.S.
Regardless of what direction U.S. federal policymakers choose to follow, the need for examining its
criminal justice system, which largely operates at state and local levels, remains as imperative as ever.
Incarceration rates, while slowing, have a tremendous distance to fall before they approach those of
even 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30. The communities, families, and individual lives that are affected
by criminal justice involvement multiply every year, as does the number of people who are victims of a
system that does not work to protect public safety.
Now more than ever before, we live in a global community that makes it not only possible, but necessary
to learn from both the successes and mistakes of other countries around the world. While our primary
goal is to inform U.S. policymakers, those in other countries should be able to glean some lessons as well.
We hope you will find Finding Direction: Expanding Criminal Justice Options By Considering Policies of Other
Nations helpful to your work.
Sincerely,

Tracy Velázquez
Executive Director

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25%

of the world’s prison population is in
the United States.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

part 1

INTRODUCTION

The United States is home to the world’s largest prison population. That the
U.S. has only 5 percent of the world’s population but holds 25 percent of the
world’s prisoners is becoming common knowledge, and is causing leaders –
both governmental and from the independent sector – to more closely examine the criminal justice system.
Despite dropping crime rates and evidence that

protection of public safety, are in-line with each

incarceration is neither the most effective nor the

nation’s particular cultural and social environment.

most efficient means of preserving public safety,

Criminal justice policies and practices do not exist

incarceration in the United States continues to

within a vacuum, but rather are a product of larger

grow; since 1980 the number of people in prison

social systems and political realities to which they

has increased 458 percent. During this difficult eco-

are inextricably tied.3 This poses a challenge for

nomic time, the U.S. federal government and states

U.S. policymakers or advocates looking interna-

alike have been looking to save scarce resources by

tionally for solutions to rising domestic incarcera-

significantly reducing incarceration rates. However,

tion rates. Conversely, policymakers may think

to date, alternatives to our current policies and

other countries are too fundamentally different

practices which are contributing to these rates have

than the U.S., whether in terms of size, demograph-

not been implemented on a large scale.

ics, social welfare programs, or political structure,

1

2

As the United States considers reforms to its crimi-

for their policies to be adopted.

nal justice system, some policymakers are compar-

It would be ill advised to insist the U.S. or any

ing the U.S. to other countries to show the stark

nation must become more like other western de-

differences in incarceration and to demonstrate that

mocracies in order to reduce its incarceration rates.

other nations have protected public safety without

However, there are sufficient similarities between

imprisoning as large a percentage of their popula-

the U.S. and western democracies to make a num-

tions. Many of these other nations, particularly

ber of recommendations around policies that, if

western democracies, handle law-breaking behav-

adopted, would effect a reduction in incarceration.

ior in ways less reliant on incarceration, and have

In fact, some of the policies in place in the com-

different approaches to addressing complex social

parison nations are also in place in some states or

issues while protecting public safety.

jurisdictions in the U.S.

It is important to recognize that these alterna-

While each nation has a unique set of circumstanc-

tive strategies, both to incarceration and for the

es and realities that must be taken into account,

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there is much to be gleaned from the policies and

the 20th century and subsequently made a concert-

practices in other democratic nations. We hope this

ed effort to reduce the number of people in prison.5

report will broaden the existing dialogue and create

Specific policies currently in place in those coun-

more momentum for the types of systemic reforms

tries and perhaps a result of the effort to decarcer-

that will reduce the burden of over-incarceration on

ate are considered in this report. The experiences of

communities, states, and the country as a whole.

other nations in specific criminal justice issues will
also be included when particularly relevant.

What This Report Does
And Does Not Do
This report is not intended to be a comprehensive
review of social, political, and economic structures
that might create differences in incarceration or
criminal justice practices. It is also not a critique of
U.S. society as a whole and does not argue for a complete
overhaul of social and economic systems in favor of the
social and economic systems of comparison nations. For
those reasons, it does not provide an analysis of so-

Any discussion of a nation’s criminal justice system
and policies must include the social, political, and
economic environment of the comparison nations
and how those factors might contribute to the
number of people incarcerated in a country. These
demographic underpinnings serve to provide some
context for the findings in this report, and show to
what extent cross-national implementation of policies could work to reduce incarceration.

or immigration practices as possible reasons for

The Challenge Of Cross-National
Comparisons

differences in incarceration rates. Instead, this report

•	

cial welfare systems, gun control, family structures,

will concentrate on current practices and structures
that could realistically be changed, and models from
other comparison nations that could be replicated or

same way.
•	

including funding structures. In those cases,
this report uses the United Kingdom.

For the purposes of this report, five comparison
•	

The same offense may not be seen as having
the same level of severity in each country.

Canada, Finland, Germany and England and
Wales.4 Although these nations have some varying

England and Wales are not represented in
all areas of data, particularly in social factors,

adapted, to reduce incarceration in the U.S.

nations will be closely considered: Australia,

Not all countries define offenses in the

•	

Reporting is inconsistent for international,

social, political, and economic environments, they

longitudinal studies and detailed reports of the

are all democratic nations with stable infrastructure

structural make-up of country-specific systems

and governments and established criminal justice

are not always readily accessible, often due to

systems which share a similar socio-cultural back-

language barriers. Therefore, at times, certain

ground. For the most part, these nations also have

comparison nations will be excluded from cer-

data available to compare and have been part of

tain charts, and footnotes or other notes after

other comparative studies.

charts will be included to explain variances in

Perhaps most importantly, these countries also
have far lower incarceration rates despite some of
the similarities that will be discussed in this report.
In addition, Finland and Germany both struggled
with their use of incarceration in the early half of

data collection.
•	

As with any cross-national comparison, building comparable data sets is a complex task
because countries compile and define statistics differently.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

part 2

Similarities between nations
make policy opportunities
possible.
The countries presented in this report, including the United States, have
a number of similarities that make it easier to make comparisons across
nations and also consider that the policies of one nation could work in the
other nations.
Although the comparisons are not perfect, there are

The list below is not exhaustive or philosophical in

some fundamental similarities that create similar

nature, but is intended to provide a picture of the

social, political, and economic environments in

larger social, political, and economic circumstances

which to consider criminal justice policies that

within which each nation operates and decides

might reduce the number of people in prison. In

criminal justice policy.

addition to the more fundamental principles that
the comparison nations share, two specific social
structures – education and employment – are also
important to consider and also have some important similarities.
It is these similarities that help support comparisons of criminal justice policies and, also, provide
the basis for developing unique models derived
from the methods of other nations.

Fundamental Similarities
Provide The Groundwork
For Comparison.

Democracy
Each of these nations subscribes to a classical
notion of democracy or the idea that the country
is ruled by the people. The Center for Systemic
Peace and the Center for Global Policy developed a
scale to determine levels of democracy of different
nations.6 The nations with the highest levels of democracy, which include all six of the nations in this
report, have the following characteristics:
•	

tive, and deliberate political participation;
•	

(or England and Wales) share certain characteristics
that make a comparison more feasible. These commonalities also provide the groundwork for consideration of cross-national policy implementation.

Choose and replace chief executives in open,
competitive elections; and,

The comparison nations, the United States, Australia,
Germany, Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom

Institutionalized procedures for open, competi-

•	

Impose substantial checks and balances on the
power of the chief executive.

One important facet of these characteristics is
open elections in which all citizens are invited

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to participate. In other words, by voting for a
particular candidate for an office, the citizens can
make powerful statements about the policies that

Common Understanding of
Human Rights
With the United States being the exception in some

they wish to see implemented. Citizens would

areas, perhaps most importantly the Convention

have the power and authority to choose the can-

on the Rights of the Child, the six nations belong to

didates that would implement or change criminal

the United Nations and have signed onto and/or

justice policies.

ratified most of the conventions or agreements put

Related to an established democracy and the freedom to participate in open elections is the ability of
citizens to also freely express themselves and publicly debate issues of public policy. Although those
debates – whether in the media, before legislatures,
or in courtrooms – vary across nations and have
differing impacts on policy, nonetheless, the ability
to introduce new ideas is possible and encouraged.

Stability and Legitimacy
All of the nations included in the report have a
high level of stability and legitimacy within the
international context. Indices developed by the
Center for Systemic Peace and the Center for
Global Policy, 7 which consider the threat of violence or war within or outside a nation, imports
and exports, the authority of an elite class over the
country, and other social indicators, including infant mortality rates, show that all six nations score
very high in all areas. None of the nations appear
to face overthrow or rapid, unexpected, or extreme
changes in governance, which also makes it possible to plan or implement long term strategies to
change social or criminal justice policies.

Large Economies

forth by the United Nations.8 A common understanding of human rights lays the groundwork for
the implementation of domestic policies that are in
concert with that understanding. Notwithstanding
the absence of the U.S. from some United Nations
agreements, there is still a general, common understanding of appropriate humane treatment.
Within each of these comparable characteristics,
there are some distinct differences in practice
and policy, which are considered later, albeit not
exhaustively, in this report as challenges to crossnational policy adaptation.

Valuing Education
Using levels of educational attainment and spending as evidence shows that the comparison nations
value education as a means of promoting general
community well-being. Comparison nations had
comparable levels of educational attainment on
most levels for people aged 25-64, with the U.S.
having slightly higher levels of at least secondary
education. Aside from Canada, the U.S. also had
slightly higher levels of tertiary educational attainment (i.e. education after the high school level,
including occupational or theoretical education)
than all other nations. The level of U.S. educational

All of the nations except for Finland are considered

attainment is higher than four of the comparison

to be large, global economies and belong to the

nations, with approximately 40 percent of the

G-20. Nations in the G-20 differ on a variety of

population having completed tertiary education.9

different levels, but all of them play a significant

Only Canada has a greater percentage of the gen-

role in the global economy. Arguably, nations with

eral population that has completed education after

large, strong economies have the resources to

upper secondary education.

implement innovative policies.

Spending on education across nations is also
comparable. The comparison nations are within

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

In 2007, the U.S. generally had higher levels of both secondary
educational attainment and tertiary education than nearly all
other comparison nations for people aged 25-64.

Percentage of the Population Aged 25-64

100%
90%

87

80%

81

70%

88

84

68

68

60%
50%

48

40%
30%

32

20%

0%

Canada

32

16

13
Australia

32
24

19

10%

40

36

34

Finland

Below Upper Secondary

12

Germany

United Kingdom

United States

Tertiary

At Least Secondary

Source: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts, 2010, Organization for Economic Co-Operation
and Development Stat Extracts, “Education at a Glance, 2009”, January 6, 2011. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance-2009_eag-2009-en
Upper Secondary Education: Corresponds to the final stage of secondary education in most OECD countries. The entrance age to this level is typically 15 or 16 years. There
are substantial differences in the typical duration of ISCED 3 programmes both across and between countries, typically ranging from two to five years of schooling. ISCED 3
may either be “terminal” (i.e.,preparing the students for entry directly into working life) and/or “preparatory” (i.e., preparing students for tertiary education).
Tertiary Education: includes all education after the upper secondary level, and may be theoretically-based or occupationally-based.

The United States spends more of its Gross Domestic Product
on all types of education than other nations.

Percent of Gross Domestic Product

8.0%

7.6

7.0%
6.0%

6.1

5.0%

5.8

5.6

5.2

4.7

4.0%
3.0%

3.5

1.0%
0

1.6

1.5

Australia

4.0

Canada

3.1

3.0

2.6

2.0%

4.2

3.6

3.5

Finland

Primary, Secondary and Post-Secondary
Non-Tertiary Education

1.1

1.3

Germany

United Kingdom

Tertiary Education

United States
Total

Source: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, “Education at a Glance 2010,” December 15, 2010. www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance_19991487

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a 1.2 percentage point margin when comparing

general health of the economy. All nations were

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or national wealth

within a 3.4 percentage point range of employ-

for all primary, secondary and post-secondary

ment rates for people aged 25-54.11 The U.S. had

non-tertiary education, with the U.S. and the

higher levels of people between the ages of 55-64

United Kingdom spending slightly more.

employed, but that is likely due to differences in

10

The

U.S. spends 1.5 percentage points more of its GDP

retirement age across nations. Even though these

on all types of education.

employment numbers do not take into consider-

Levels of educational attainment and spending do
not take into consideration quality of education

ation the rapid increase in unemployment since
the economic downturn began in 2008 or the concentrated effect that unemployment has on specific

generally, and barriers to educational attainment
for certain communities, in any of the comparison
nations, but nonetheless, such similarities are an
important basis for comparison.

communities, the overall picture of employment
across nations suggests similar situations.
In addition, scholarly attempts to link unemployment with incarceration rates, particularly

Employment Rates

on an international scale, have yielded mixed
results. As a result, differences in employment

In 2007, the comparison nations also had similar

rates likely do not bear enough significance12

rates of employment, serving as a signifier of the

Across age groups, U.S. employment rates were comparable
to other comparison nations in 2007.

100%
90%
80%

83.3

82.2

80

81.3

80.3

79.9

70%

Percent Employed

8

60%

64.2
56.7

59.5

61.8
57.1

55.9

55

50%
46.4

57.4

51.3

53.1

45.9

40%
30%
20%
10%
0%

Australia

Canada

Finland
15-24

Germany
25-54

United Kingdom

United States

55-64

Source: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts, 2010. http://stats.oecd.org/viewhtml.aspx?queryna
me=18148&querytype=view&lang=e

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

to be detrimental to cross-national policy

unemployment rate due to the economic down-

consideration.

turn, crime rates are at 30-year lows. Within this

It is also important to remember that unemployment does not create crime. For example,
even though the U.S. is experiencing a high

climate it is particularly important to continue to
invest in institutions related to job training and
employment, thus ensuring less incarceration in
the future.

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part 3

The U.S. leads the world in
incarceration, but this is not
making the U.S. safer.
Maintaining or improving public safety is important to all countries. However,
the tools that different nations use to promote public safety vary greatly across
nations. While defenders of U.S. penal policies may argue its effectiveness in
promoting public safety, other countries utilize different, effective public safety
strategies that rely less on incarceration.
Although nations vary in what behaviors they con-

The U.S. incarcerates nearly 2.4 million people,13

sider to be “criminal,” crime rates are perhaps the

including people held pretrial and those sentenced

most obvious measurement of public safety. Other

for an offense; if they were all in one state, it would

nations have crime rates similar to or lower than

be the 36th most populated, between New Mexico

the U.S. while using incarceration to a lesser degree

and Nevada.14 No other country in the world incar-

than the U.S.

cerates as many people as the United States. China,

In 2009, U.S. incarceration rates were 11 times higher
than those in Finland.
Incarcerated people per 100,000 general population

10

800
748

700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0

155
88
England
and Wales

Germany

134

117

Australia

Canada

60
Finland

Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/

United
States

F I N D I N G DIR EC TION

a country of 1.3 billion people—about four times as

Finland actually reduced its incarcera-

many people as the U.S. —is second, incarcerating

tion rate by 33 percent.19

15

1.6 million people.16

If an outcome of incarceration is im-

When comparing the total number of people

proved public safety—which is a popular

incarcerated, including people held pretrial or re-

belief—then it would follow that the U.S.

manded (see Glossary for full definition of remand)

would have lower crime rates than other

in each nation, the U.S. incarcerates approximately

nations, but that is not clearly the case.

26 times the number of people as England and
Wales, 32 times as many as Germany, 711 times as
many as Finland, 59 times as many as Canada, and
78 times as many as Australia.17

The International Crime Victimisation Survey conducted through The
Hague by the Ministry of Justice asks
respondents about car theft, theft from

The U.S. incarceration rate also eclipses that of

a car, car vandalism, bicycle theft,

other comparison nations. The incarceration rate of

motorcycle theft, burglary, attempted

the U.S. is 748 per 100,000 people in the population,

burglary, robbery, sexual incidents,

which is about five times that of the England and

personal thefts, and assault and

Wales (155 per 100,000).

threats. Results from the survey show

In the U.S., the incarceration rate has been increasing steadily since around 1980. Comparing recent
trends, incarceration rates from 1992 to 2007
increased 50 percent in the U.S., 68 percent in England and Wales and 46 percent in Australia; and

lated with rates of incarceration in the
comparison countries (Germany was
not included in the survey).20 That is,
having a higher incarceration rate, like

In 2009, the United States incarcerated roughly 10 times as many
people as all comparison nations combined, although it has only
about 1/3 more people than the combined nations.

500,000

400,000

229,186

300,000

Germany

Finland

39,132

England
and Wales

29,317

0

3,231

100,000

72,052

200,000
85,454

Number of people in prison

that victimization rate is not corre-

2,297,400

18

Australia

Canada

Combined

Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/

United
States

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Between 1992 and 2007, the U.S. and England and Wales
had the most growth in incarceration rates.

Percent change in incarceration rate
between 1992 and 2007.

80%

68%

60%

50%

46%

40%
25%

20%
-6%
0%

Germany

Canada
-20%

England
and Wales

Australia

United States

-33%
Finland

-40%

Source:International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2010. www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/

Victimization rates in 2000 across nations do not
correspond to recent incarceration rates.
800
748
Victimization per 100 general population
(incidence rates)

12

600

400

200
155
0

54.5
60

England and Wales

28.6

134

Finland
Incarceration Rates (2009)

54.3

Australia

117

40.4

Canada

39.5
United States

Victimization rates (2000)

Source: John van Kesteren, Pat Mayhew, and Paul Nieuwbeerta Criminal Victimisation in Seventeen Industrialised Countries: Key Findings from the 2000 International Crime
Victims Survey. (The Hague: Ministry of Justice, 2000). http://rechten.uvt.nl/icvs/pdffiles/Industr2000a.pdf. The offenses included here are car theft, theft from car, car vandalism, bicycle theft, motorcycle theft, burglary, attempted burglary, robbery, sexual incidents, personal thefts, and assault and threats. Germany not included.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Although the index crime rate is lower than it was in 1988, the U.S.
incarceration rate is about twice the rate that it was in 1988.
Index crime rate per 100,000 general population

6000

500

504

5,695
5000

400

4000
3,667
3000

300

247
200

2000

100

1000
0

Incarceration rate per 100,000 general population

600

7000

0
1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

Index crime per 100,000

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

Incarcerated population per 100,000

Source: William Sabol and Heather West, “Correctional Populations in the United States, 1997 and Prisoners in 2008,” Filename: incrt.csv (Imprisonment rate), http://bjs.ojp.
usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=13, September 23, 2010; and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Report 1988-2008 (Table 4), www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm.
Note: Does not include jail populations.

the U.S., does not necessarily mean a lower rate

becomes even more difficult to draw the conclu-

of victimization.

sion that incarceration reduces crime. Between

In addition, experts from the National Research
Institute of Legal Policy in Finland point out that
across the world, crime rates and incarceration
rates do not consistently correlate, and when
looking at trends in Finland, Canada and the
United States over the course of 25 years, it

High overall crime rates do not
necessarily induce high prison
rates and vice versa. Neither do
high prison rates necessarily induce low overall crime rates and
vice versa.
– anthony n. doob, professor of criminology,
university of toronto and cheryl marie webster,
professor of criminology, university of ottowa

1980 and 2005, Finland’s reported crime rate
went up while incarceration rates went down. In
Canada, crime remained constant or went down
slightly and incarceration rates remained somewhat stable, and in the United States, crime either
remained flat or went down while incarceration
increased dramatically.21
In the United States, crime fell 36 percent from
1988-2008,22 while incarceration rates increased 104
percent in the same period.23 Research in the United
States and evidence from other nations suggests
that incarceration has minimal, if any, effect on
reducing crime, and the relationship between the
two is neither simple nor certain.24 In fact, policy
choices, such as the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences, are considered a more significant
driver of high incarceration rates than crime rates.25

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part 4

The U.S. justice system
operates to create more
incarceration.
With its “tough on crime” politics and a belief in the deterrent effect of harsh
sentences,26 the United States has implemented criminal justice policies based
on retribution instead of rehabilitation,27 which have led the U.S. to rely on imprisonment as a way to address lawbreaking more than the comparison nations.
The U.S. seems to choose its current system of

have the fewest police per capita of the compari-

policing, sentencing and incarcerating over social

son nations.29

investments and other positive methods of promoting public safety that may be more effective, especially in the long term. Changes in policy priorities
and to the structure and operation of the criminal
and juvenile justice systems can play a significant
role in how many people are incarcerated.

Neither the rate of contacts nor the number of
police per capita neatly correspond to incarceration
rates. For example, Finland has a very high rate of
contact with the police, but the lowest rate of incarceration. This may be due to a variety of factors,
including policies like Finland’s strict penal codes
related to traffic violations30 which might increase

Policing and Arrests

contacts that don’t result in arrests. But, more

The entry point into the criminal justice system is

likely, differences in the philosophy of the role of

typically through law enforcement. While data for

police and policing in communities accounts for

arrests—the most likely form of contact to result

the similarities in rates of contact, but differences in

in future incarceration—were not readily available

incarceration rates. In other words, although num-

for all comparison nations, the United Nations

ber of contacts with police may be similar across

keeps data about the number of people suspected,

nations, the outcome is very different.

arrested, or cautioned by law enforcement. According to 2006 data, Finland has the highest rates of
contact with the police and Canada has the lowest.
The U.S.’s rate of contact with the police is approximately 52 percent higher than in Canada.28

One contributing reason for this difference might
be that European nations generally reject law
enforcement policies that have “zero tolerance” for
quality of life offenses, like graffiti, homelessness,
or panhandling,31 which are popular in U.S. cities.

At the same time, the number of police per capita

In the U.S., “zero tolerance” policies are driven by

also does not neatly correspond to the number of

the theory that “broken windows” or the appear-

contacts with police. Even though Finland has the

ance of disorder fuels other crime. The result of

highest number of contacts with police, they also

these policies in the United States is people who

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

In 2006, the U.S.'s rate of contact with the police was approximately
52 percent higher than in Canada, but 61 percent lower than Finland.
United States

2,562.03

England
and Wales

2,775.65

Germany

2,304.18

Finland

6,642.69

Canada

1,687.48
0

1,000

2,000

3,000

4,000

5,000

6,000

7,000

8,000

Rate per 100,000 of persons ages 18 and over having been
suspected, arrested, or cautioned by law enforcement
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “The Tenth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (Tenth CTS, 2005-2006)”
June 2010. www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/Tenth-CTS-full.html. *The figures included here are crimes recorded by police, England and Wales: http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/hosb0610.pdf

The U.S. has more police per capita than Finland and Canada.
350

224.5

300.28

250

264.06

150

189.11

200
157.01

Total Police Personnel, 2005
(per 100,000)

300

100
50
0

England
and Wales

Finland

Canada

Germany

United States

Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “The Tenth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (Tenth CTS, 2005-2006)”
June 2010. www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/Tenth-CTS-full.html. Note: Data for Australia not available.

15

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justice polic y institute

have contact with police or who are arrested are

Given the increased likelihood of sentencing to

frequently incarcerated in a pretrial detention facil-

prison in the United States once entering the

ity, or jail for a period of time, thus contributing to

system,32 limiting arrests for less serious offenses,

incarceration rates. In other countries, police may

including quality of life offenses, could potentially

record that they have contact with someone related

reduce the number of people in prison in the U.S.

to one of those offenses, but arrest and jail time
would not be the outcome.

Pretrial Detention and
Remand to Custody

Policy Opportunity

In the U.S., when a person is charged with an

End “zero tolerance” policing: Research by

trial or they may be released to await their trial in

criminal justice expert, Judith Greene, compar-

the community through a variety of mechanisms

ing “zero tolerance” policing in New York City to a

which will be discussed later. In many other na-

neighborhood policing strategy in San Diego found

tions, people are said to be “remanded,” which

that both cities experienced significant reductions

is a summons to appear before a judge at a later

in crime. However, San Diego also experienced

date. If they are not released pretrial they can be

a 15 percent decrease in arrests, suggesting

“remanded to custody” until their court proceed-

that increasing arrests does not necessarily im-

ing; if they are convicted, they can be remanded

prove public safety. Similarly, other nations tend

to custody prior to sentencing or during an appeal

to refrain from using a law enforcement response

process. That some other nations include both

to quality of life concerns, which may help keep

those awaiting court hearings and those awaiting

arrests in check and, subsequently, incarceration.

sentencing in their number of people “remanded

Panhandling, graffiti, littering and other minor of-

to court” makes it an imperfect parallel with U.S.

fenses may best be handled by other agencies,

figures for pretrial detention; nonetheless, data

like public service or sanitation.

collected by the International Centre for Prison

offense they may be detained in jail until their

33

Change the philosophy of policing: Currently,
in the United States, policing practice is primarily
guided by surveillance and arrests. Thus, more
police have resulted not necessarily in safer communities, but more arrests and more incarceration.
As a result of this approach to policing, some communities mistrust police, while still enduring high

Studies in London shows that a smaller percentage
of the total number of people incarcerated in European nations are remanded to custody prior to trial
or sentencing compared to in the United States.
Canada holds the largest percentage of the total
incarcerated population in pretrial detention—36
percent are remanded.34

crime rates. A shift to a philosophy of policing simi-

Pretrial detention is associated with a higher likeli-

lar to an approach adopted by San Diego that is

hood of both being found guilty35 and receiving

neighborhood-focused and centered on the overall

a sentence of incarceration over probation,36 thus

health of the community and the people who live

forcing a person further into the criminal justice

there would promote public safety, limit fear of

system. In the United States, this is particularly

police, and reduce the number of people arrested

important because of the sheer numbers: with 20

and imprisoned.

percent of the total number of people incarcerated
being pretrial, that means nearly 500,000 people

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Canada has the largest percentage of people remanded to
incarceration of the total incarcerated population.
100%

84.9

78.2

63.8

82.9

84.3

17.1

15.7

Finland
(2009)

Germany
(2009)

79.9

Percent of Total Incarcerated Population

90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
36.2

30%
20%
10%
0%

21.8
15.1

England and
Wales (2010)

Australia
(2009)

Canada
(2008)

Percent Remanded or Held Pretrial

20.1

United States
(2009)

Percent Sentenced and Incarcerated

Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/

each year are more likely to be found guilty and

The use of bail in Australia, Canada, the United

sentenced to incarceration, thus significantly add-

States, and England and Wales likely contributes to

ing to the total number of people in prison.

the number of people held pretrial.39 Germany has

Each comparison nation has different thresholds for
determining who will be released prior to trial. Nearly all comparison countries will hold a person pretrial to ensure return for trial. However, Canada, the
United States, and England and Wales, will also hold
a person pretrial to protect public safety.37 Finland,
on the other hand, has a maximum period of pretrial
detention of four days, and the accused person must
be given a court hearing within three days.38
If a person is not released on their own recognizance, the court can set a monetary amount that can
be paid in exchange for release, which is called bail.

bail, but uses it infrequently, and Finland does not
have a system of bail at all.40 In addition, the United
States is the only other nation besides the Philippines that permits commercial bail, or the practice
of paying a third party to post bail on your behalf.
This practice allows a third party, generally a corporation, to inherently make decisions in the bail process; because they make decisions based on a profit
motive, public and individual well-being plays no
role in deciding for whom they will post bail.41
Although the United States pretrial and detention
practices are not notably different than those in the
other comparison countries, it is worth considering

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justice polic y institute

Pretrial Detention and Remand to Custody
Country

Remand Prisoners
as Percentage of
Total Incarcerated
Population (2009)45

Reasons for Remand Incarceration

•	

Risk of the person being a threat to themselves or
others47

Australia

21.846

•	

High probability of the person not appearing for trial

•	

Other factors such as the seriousness of the charge can
also be taken into account48

Canada

Finland

36.252

17.156

•	

Ensure that the accused person does not flee

•	

Protect the public if there is a high likelihood of
reoffending

•	

Maintain confidence in the administration of justice53

•	

High probability they will seek to escape or evade justice

•	

Try to tamper with evidence or witnesses

•	

Continue criminal activity

•	

Not a resident of Finland and therefore may attempt to
leave the country57

Germany

15.762

•	

Strong suspicion of flight risk

•	

Suspicion that evidence may be tampered with

•	

Strong risk of reoffending in the case of serious crimes63

•	

Suspicion that the person would not later surrender to
custody

England and
Wales66

•	
15.1

Would likely interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct justice

67

•	

Already on bail at the time of the offense

•	

If the court is convinced that the person should be in
custody for his/her own safety68

United States

20.873

•	

Strong suspicion of flight risk

•	

Potential to obstruct justice or intimidate a witness74

•	

Risk of danger to specific individuals or the community

•	

The nature and circumstances of the crime75

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Locations of Pretrial
Incarceration

Bail Practices and Conditions
Bail can be set by the police or the court with the court having the

Held in prison, but under less strict

ability to change or remove bail previously set by the police.50

conditions than the general prison

Bail conditions vary by case but can include: attending court at the

population so that they can access legal

date and time agreed to, supervision, having a surety, home deten-

services and bail more easily49

tion and abiding by a curfew.51
No commercial bail

People on remand are the responsibil-

Bail is set by the court.

ity of State and Territorial governments

Conditions of bail can include: curfews, treatment for substance

are responsible for pretrial incarcera-

abuse, counseling for anger management and prohibition from fire-

tion. People are held in prisons, jails,

arms possession as well as monetary fine if the person does not

or remand centers (facilities specifically

appear in court or comply with bail conditions.55

meant to house people on remand).54

No commercial bail

Legally required to be held in prisons,

No bail system, but most defendants are eligible for release on per-

some of which are solely dedicated to

sonal recognizance60

remand inmates58

If a person is in custody, they can request the court to reconsider

In practice, however, people are often

and rule on their remand sentence every two weeks while awaiting

held in police cells, even after their ini-

trial.61

tial appearance in court.59

No commercial bail

Housed in prisons, at least some of

The bail system is infrequently used and normally is applied to

which are specifically for people on

wealthy defendants, requiring payment, however, the use of sure-

remand64

ties is allowed.65
Police officers can release a person on “street bail,” in order to allow them to avoid overnight detention at a police station if they

Held in remand centers, which are
housed within a prison service facility

69

Law requires that people held on remand not come into contact with convicted persons.70

agree to appear at the police station at a later time.71
Conditions of bail are set in 25-33 percent of cases and can include:
restriction of residence, prohibition from contact with a specific
person, geographical travel boundaries, curfews and reporting to
authorities.72
No commercial bail
Varies by case but common bail conditions include: reporting regu-

Held in prisons, local jails, or detention
centers, some of which are specifically
for people that are pretrial76

larly to police or a pretrial services agency, supervision by a designated custodian, geographical restrictions, prohibition from contact
with specific people and the use of electronic surveillance77
With the exception of four states, commercial bail is permissible.78

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justice polic y institute

that in those nations people are released on their

people to a term of

own recognizance more often and bail is a right,

incarceration more

not a privilege, issued relatively infrequently

than three times as

within the guidelines of a few, specific offenses.

42

Releasing more people pretrial would not only
potentially reduce the number of people going to
prison, but prevent people from losing connections
to work, family and community while being held
pretrial.43 In addition, holding more people pretrial
is not correlated with having higher rates of crime
or victimization.

Policy OpportunitY
Increase releases pretrial: Comparison nations
other than Canada use pretrial detention less than
the United States, without experiencing a negative
impact on public safety.
End commercial bail: Comparison nations forbid
paying a third party any sum in exchange for post-

often as any other of
the comparison nations. Comparatively,
England and Wales,
Germany, and Finland
use fines far more
often than any other
response to an offense.
Germany and Finland,

63

months
Average length of sentence of incarceration
in the United States.

in particular, use fines
more than the U.S.
uses a sentence of incarceration.80
The U.S. also uses “control of freedom” more often
than any other nation, as well. This could include
supervision in the community, or some other placement under the control of a correctional agency.
The United States and Finland also appear to be

ing bail.44 Private corporations contribute to the

the only nations in this comparison that sentence

number of people held pretrial because they make

people to community service.

bail decisions based on what is profitable, not the
risk to public safety. States like Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin abolished commercial bail and
require down-payments to the court, which are refunded only upon the person’s appearance in court.

Sentencing

Germany and Finland use a special type of fine that
is on a sliding scale, which creates accountability
that takes into consideration ability to pay. These
“day fines,” which were first developed and used
in Finland in 1921,81 are based on the seriousness
of the offense and apply proportional punishment
to all people, regardless of socio-economic status.82

Sentencing practices, especially length of

The fine is generally levied based on the amount of

sentence,79 are a significant factor, when consider-

money a person earns on a given day and is then

ing the number of people in prisons. Sentencing

given over a period of days (e.g. a 20-day fine or a

determines both placement (in a prison or not), and

10-day fine). In Germany, for example, punishments

the term of imprisonment. Combined, these two

for certain crimes—mainly property crimes and

factors can quickly drive up an incarceration rate.

assaults83—are assessed in these day fine units. Payment rates are high, but in the cases where payments

The U.S. uses prison in response
to offenses more often than comparison nations.

are not made, community service is often a response;
but sometimes, in Finland for example, a prison term
of 90 days could be imposed. Recent concerns about

The United States sentences people to prison about

the number of people going to prison for defaults

twice as often as Canada, which in turn sentences

led Finland to exclude non-payment of smaller fines

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

social services that can prevent crime
and reduce victimization, instead of
generating significant costs for incarceration.85 Comparatively, many fines
in the U.S. are applied regardless of
whether or not a person can pay them;
the penalty for not paying a fine in the
U.S. is often incarceration.

The U.S. sends people to
prison longer for similar
types of offenses
U.S. research shows little to no correla-

from a prison penalty and to reduce the number of

tion between time spent in prison and recidivism

possible days spent in prison for default to 60 days.84

rates.86 In other words, a longer sentence does not

Regardless of the relatively low level of default, the

necessarily reduce the chances that a person will

fine system raises money that can be reinvested in

commit an illegal offense again (unless a person is

Despite similar crime rates, the U.S. relies most heavily on
incarceration as a sentencing option.
77.2

69.9

75.8
69

70%
60%
50%

0%

30.1

33.5

Canada

England and Wales

20.5
6.5

15.3
7.5

3.6

13.4
7.2

9.4

8

10%

9.2

20%

3.3

30%

33.8

40%

27.5

Mean Percent of Total Adults Sentenced
(1995-2000)

80%

Finland

Imprisonment

Control of Freedom

Fines

Community Service

Germany

United States

Warnings

Source: Kauko Aromaa and Markku Heiskanen, eds. Crime and Criminal Justice Systems in Europe and North America 1995-2004 (Helsinki: The European Institute for Crime
Prevention and Control, 2008). www.heuni.fi/Etusivu/Publications/HEUNIreports/1215524277763; Jan van Dijk, John van Kesteren, and Paul Smit, Criminal Victimisation in
International Perspective: Key findings from the 2004-2005 ICVS and EU ICS (The Hague: WODC, Tilburg University, UNICRI, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,
2007) www.unicri.it/wwd/analysis/icvs/pdf_files/ICVS2004_05report.pdf
Note: Combinations of sentences are possible, so percentages per nation to do not always add to 100 percent.

21

justice polic y institute

The U.S. gives longer sentences for similar types of offenses.
100
90

91

80
Average Sentence Length (Months)

22

70

72

60

60.1

60

57

50
44

40
30

37.9

34.4

30

20

21.6

10
0

20

16

15.2
10.7

Drug Offenses
England and Wales (2006)

Robbery

10.9

Assault

Australia (2006)

8.1
Fraud

United States (2006)

Finland (2006)

Source: Tom Bonczar State Prison Admissions, 2006: Sentence Length by offense and admission type (Washington, DC, Bureau of Justice Statistics: 2010) http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.
gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2174; Marcelo F. Aebi and others, European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics, Fourth Edition (Zurich, Switzerland, Ministry
of Justice, 2010). www.europeansourcebook.org/ob285_full.pdf ; Prisoners in Australia, 2006 (Canberra, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006) www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/
abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4517.02006?OpenDocument.
Robbery: Defined as “Robbery, extortion and related offences” in Australia. Assault: Defined as “Violence against the person” in England and Wales. Fraud: Defined as “Fraud:
Defined as “Deception and related offences” in Australia and “fraud and forgery” in England and Wales.

imprisoned until death). Yet, in addition to a more

for Germany, the U.S. sentences people to prison

extensive reliance on incarceration in the United

for longer than Finland, Australia or England and

States, the U.S. also tends to give longer sentences,

Wales for robbery, assault, and fraud.

further serving to increase the U.S. incarceration rate.

When comparison nations do give a sentence of

The average sentence length for all sentences in the

incarceration, the sentence is usually shorter than in

U.S. (63 months) is higher than that in Australia

the U.S.90 In the U.S., many believe that longer pris-

(36 months)88 and Germany (between one and two

on sentences remove people from the community so

years).89 Differences in sentencing for drug offenses,

that they cannot engage in illegal behavior, and that

in particular, likely contribute to this disparity in

the threat of severe punishment would deter this

average sentences. People convicted of drug of-

participation, thus protecting public safety. How-

fenses in the U.S. receive an average sentence of five

ever, countries with lower prison populations and

years compared to just 32 months in England and

shorter prison sentences do not necessarily have

Wales. While data was not available by offense type

higher rates of victimization91 or reported crime.92

87

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

The lack of evidence that there is a measurable,

of people incarcerated for drug offenses in state

consistent correlation between public safety and

and federal prisons increased 1,412 percent from

incarceration across comparison nations indicates

23,900 to 361,276.130 In 2006, 24 percent of the peo-

that there is opportunity to consider that less incar-

ple in state and federal prisons were there because

ceration and shorter sentences might yield similar

their most serious offense was a drug offense.131

public safety results without the expense or negative impact to people and communities.

This is in contrast to other countries where people
convicted of drug offenses make up a smaller percentage of the prison population. This difference

Policy Opportunities

has less to do with the percentage of people who
use drugs in these countries and more to do with

Day fines (structured fines): Based on the
seriousness of the offense, day fines apply proportional punishment on all people, regardless of
socio-economic status. The fine is generally levied
based on the amount of money a person earns on
a given day and are designed to hold a person accountable, but not to be so burdensome that they
cannot realistically be paid. Officials that manage
the day fines also frequently follow-up with people
scheduled to pay them to determine if the financial
situation has changed or if there are other barriers
to payment. Responses for non-payment include
community service, day reporting centers, home
confinement, and half-way houses. Staten Island,
New York, Maricopa County, Arizona, and Iowa
have all implemented structured fine programs.

93

their philosophy on drug use, specifically whether
they take a public health or criminal justice position. Countries such as Canada and Australia have
a much lower percentage of their prison population
taken up by people convicted of drug offenses than
the U.S., but all countries used in this report have
significantly lower drug imprisonment numbers
and percentages.132

Drug use is not necessarily higher in
the U.S. than in comparison nations.
People in the United States do not necessarily use
drugs more than people in other countries, and
rates of imprisonment for drug offenses are not
correlated with patterns of drug use. For example,
Canadians self-report using cannabis at a higher

Shorten sentences: Shorter sentences of incar-

rate than U.S. residents, and all other drugs at

ceration for all offenses would significantly reduce

similar rates, yet the U.S. continues to lock-up a

the number of people in prison without sacrificing

higher percentage of its residents in prison for drug

public safety. A shorter amount of time in prison

offenses; only 6 percent of Canada’s prison popula-

could be accompanied by community-based alter-

tion is incarcerated for a drug offense compared to

natives that are designed to facilitate reentry.

24 percent in the U.S.

Punitive response
to drug use
A country’s or locality’s response to certain behaviors can play a large part in its incarceration rate.
The growth in the U.S. prison population has been
fueled, in part, by the increase in incarceration for
drug offenses. Between 1980 and 2006, the number

While it is worth comparing drug arrests and
imprisonment across countries, an additional factor
to consider is that some countries consider drug
addiction a public health problem before they
consider it a criminal justice problem. Comparing
the number of drug arrests in the United States to
those in Germany, for example, is not likely to be a
fair comparison because the types of drugs and the

23

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justice polic y institute

Sentencing
Country

Sentencing Approach for Adults

Territories have control over their own sentencing regimes but generally incarceration is
used as a last resort, with fines and community service being commonly administered.95

Australia

Western Australia is the only territory to use mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent and non-sexual crimes.96 Some other territories have minimums in place for serious
crimes.110

Sentences must be proportional to the seriousness of crime and responsibility of the per-

Canada

son; minimum intervention approach followed; mandatory minimums used with restraint
and mostly in the case of murder.102 Sentences of incarceration can also include a term of
probation.103

Sentences range from 14 days to 15 years (with multiple offenses), or life, during which

Finland

time a portion of the sentence can be served on parole.107 Sentences must be proportional
to seriousness of crime in question and responsibility of the offender.108

Germany

England
and Wales118

Courts generally have a range of sentences to choose from; Imprisonment for minor
offenses is discouraged; Mandatory minimums are in place for serious offenses.113

Emphasis on fines and community service; incarceration only used in cases of serious
crimes.119 Mandatory minimums applied to repeat offenders of specific crimes and very
serious crimes.120

States have control over individual sentencing regimes with a general pattern of emphasis

United States

on retribution and incarceration.124 Mandatory minimum sentences applied to various offenses, including drug possession and gun possession.125 Sentences can include a term of
probation that place limits on freedom.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Sentencing Approach for Juveniles

Average
Custodial
Sentence
Length94

Community-based alternatives and fines

Fines, community service, suspended

emphasized; incarceration is normally the
sentence of last resort.98 Western Australia’s

36 months100

mandatory minimum sentencing does extend to

Custodial sentences only given in case of serious violent offense; emphasis placed on com-

sentence, probation, educational
or rehabilitative programs, home
detention.101

juveniles.99

munity supervision programs.

Alternatives to
Incarceration

Fines, restitution, community service,
4 months105

suspended sentence, probation, intermittent imprisonment.106

104

Persons under 18 years cannot be sentenced
to imprisonment except in cases where there
is an important reason for doing so.109 Fines

10.1 months111

or community service are normally imposed

Fines, suspended sentence, community service, no penalty.112

instead.110

Courts follow a minimum intervention approach, placing emphasis on diversion

6-12 months115

and suspended sentences rather than
imprisonment.

Fines (Day Fine System),116 suspended
sentence, diversion.117

114

Incarceration only used in the most serious
cases; fines, community service, and referrals
to youth offender panels used in lieu of custo-

Fines, community service, suspended
13 months

122

Wales).123

dial sentences.121

Fines, community service, community

Focus on punishment rather than rehabilitation

substance abuse or mental health

leads to use of custodial sentences, including
the possibility of a life sentence without parole

sentence, probation (England and

63 months

128

treatment, intermittent imprisonment,

in federal cases and in 44 states.126 In many

home detention, boot camps, suspend-

states, juveniles can be tried in adult courts.

ed sentence.129

127

25

justice polic y institute

30%

In the United States, people sentenced to more than a year for drug offenses
accounted for nearly one-quarter of the prison population in 2008. In other
countries, the percentage of people sentenced for drug offenses is much lower.

25%
Percent of people in prison
sentenced for a drug offense

26

24
20%
15%

15.2

16.8
14.9

10%

10

5%
0%

5.6

Finland

Germany

England
and Wales

Australia

Canada

United States

Sources: United States: William Sabol, Heather West, and Matthew Cooper, Prisoners in 2008 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009). http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/
content/pub/pdf/p08.pdf Includes both people in both federal or state prisons, Finland, Germany, UK: Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE I – 2008 (Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe, 2010). www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/prisons/SPACEI/PC-CP(2010)07_E%20SPACE%20Report%20I.pdf Canada: Laura Landry and
Maire Sinha, “Adult Correctional Services in Canada, 2005/2006,” Juristat 28, no. 6 (June 2008). www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/85-002-x2008006-eng.pdf, Sentenced only,
does not include remand. Australia: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in 2008, Australia (Canberra, Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008). www.abs.gov.au/
AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/4517.0Main%20Features22008?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4517.0&issue=2008&num=&view=

quantities for which a person can be arrested are

amounts of drugs, people who use drugs and pos-

distinctly different. In other words, that the United

sess small quantities are likely to receive treatment

States considers drug use a criminal justice prob-

over prison in recognition that drug abuse is a

lem changes how it is observed and counted, and

public health problem.

also has a unique impact on the prison population.

Drug use is seen as a public health
problem and not a criminal justice
problem in comparison nations.
Drug policies in the United States, and increasingly
in the United Kingdom, are shaped around the
belief that drugs fuel crime and reducing drug use
is accomplished by penalizing drug-related behaviors. On the other hand, drug policies in Germany,
Finland and Canada are meant to reduce drug use
through a public health modality that includes
treatment and the encouragement of healthy
lifestyles. Although these countries do continue
to target traffickers and people that possess large

The attitudes and practices in drug policy vary
across nations and range from a first response of
treatment and prevention to enforcement and interdiction. Current U.S. approaches focus more on
enforcement than treatment and, often, when there
is treatment available, it is within the context of the
criminal justice system. Indicative of the lack of attention that the U.S. gives to treatment and prevention is a study released by The National Center on
Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The study found that substance abuse and
addiction cost localities, states, and the federal government $467.7 billion in 2005, but slightly less than
2 percent of those expenditures were on treatment

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

and prevention. The remaining funds went toward

Comparison countries have nationally sup-

managing the consequences of substance addiction,

ported or subsidized health care systems,

including homelessness, crime, domestic violence,

which usually include some access to drug

and child abuse.

treatment or treatment of other physical or

133

•	

mental health problems that can catalyze

Mandatory minimum sentences: While

drug use.136 The United States has treatment

other comparison countries have mandatory

facilities, but they are often only available to

minimum sentences, they are usually focused

people who can afford private insurance to pay

on firearms and specific, violent offenses, espe-

for them out of pocket, or through the limited

cially sex offenses.134 The United States and the

capacity of the criminal justice system, which

United Kingdom have mandatory minimum

maintains a punitive structure that impedes

sentences for drug offenses. In the case of the

recovery.

United Kingdom, the mandatory sentence is
for trafficking, but in the United States a man-

•	

•	

Harm reduction: Many nations use a harm

datory sentence can be for possession of illicit

reduction approach to certain aspects of drug

substances, as well. Some of the harshest man-

addiction in their countries.137 The Netherlands

datory sentences in the U.S. were implemented

has, since the 1970s, relied on harm reduction

in the 1980s and involve possession offenses,

as a primary response to drug use. This ap-

many related to crack cocaine. In 2010, the

proach focuses on the minimization of risks

United States passed historic federal legisla-

and hazards of drug use by emphasizing

tion reducing the disparity in sentencing for

health care, prevention, and regulation of

cocaine versus crack from 100 to one to 18 to

individual use, while directing enforcement

one, which is, perhaps, indicative of a willing-

measures largely against organized crime (i.e.

ness to review the consequences of mandatory

trafficking). Dutch drug policy takes a market

minimum sentences.135

separation approach to enforcement (hard
drugs vs. soft drugs) with criminal penalties

Treatment systems: The availability and
affordability of treatment is a primary differ-

focusing on hard drug violations.138

ence between the U.S. and other countries.

The percent of people in the U.S. that report drug use in the last year is not
necessarily greater than the percent of people that report drug use in the last
year in other countries.
United States
England and Wales
Canada
Finland
Germany
Australia

Cannabis
12.30%
7.40%
17%
3.60%
4.70%
10.60%

Opiates
0.58%
0.98-1%
0.21-0.42%
0.23%
0.14-0.29%
0.4

Cocaine
2.80%
2.30%
2.30%
0.50%
0.7
1.90%

Amphetamines
1.60%
1%
1%,
0.6
0.50%
2.70%

Sources: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2009 (Vienna, Austria: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2009). www.unodc.org/
documents/wdr/WDR_2009/WDR2009_eng_web.pdf
Note: The age ranges change slightly per each drug and each country.

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justice polic y institute

The Netherlands is a good example of a coun-

will receive a fine, treatment, or probation,143

try using a harm reduction approach to drug

but could also be told to refrain from certain

use. In the 1980s, the Netherlands became one

types of bars or concerts.144

of the first nations to offer a needle exchange
program to curve the spread of Hepatitis and
HIV/AIDS among its population. Additionally,
under the market separation approach “coffee
shops” were developed as a safe location for
individuals to engage in the use of soft drugs
(i.e. cannabis) without their behavior having
criminal or legal repercussions.139 Although the
Netherlands has historically had more relaxed
criminal enforcement policies compared to
other European democracies, approximately
18.6 percent of its prison population is still
incarcerated for a drug offense.140
•	

Decriminalization: Not all nations consider
all drugs to be illegal. For example, in the
Netherlands, cannabis is legally permitted,
but other drugs, like opiates, are not treated
as leniently.141 It is not necessarily a crime to
consume or possess drugs in other countries,
but it may still be considered a crime to deal or
distribute them.

According to a 2009 report by the Cato Institute, by removing the threat of imprisonment
and re-allocating resources to treatment, Portugal has successfully decreased drug-related
deaths, disease transmission, all drug use
among youth aged 15-19 and lifetime cannabis
use among people 15-64.145 Between 2002 and
2008, the percent of Portugal’s prison population that was sentenced for a drug offense also
went down 20.5 percentage points from 41.8
percent146 to 21.3 percent.147
A second study released in 2010 found that any
increases in reported drug use in Portugal were
consistent with increases in neighboring countries, while there was reduced drug use among
youth, increased admission to treatment, a
reduced burden on the criminal justice system,
reductions in deaths related to opiate use,
reductions in deaths from infectious diseases,
and increases in drug seizures.148 Such results
indicate that decriminalization will not have

In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drug

a widespread detrimental impact on public

use and possession – but not trafficking or

health or public safety.

distribution – based on research that decriminalization of drugs reduces drug use, which
in turn, can decrease drug-related crime.142
While drug possession is still illegal, the sanctions are not meted out through
a criminal process. Instead, the
person is summoned before a
Commission of Dissuasion of
Drug Addition, which is a panel
made up of social workers and
counselors that meets outside of
court. The Commission assesses
the person’s drug use habits
and determines the appropriate
response. Most often the person

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Four Pillars: Switzerland and Vancouver, Canada
Switzerland was the first country to adopt the four pillars approach to reducing substance misuse.
In the 1980s, Switzerland became increasingly concerned about the use of drugs that are injected
and the spread of HIV. Previous policy focused on abstinence, but the desperation of the situation
led researchers and policymakers to change their approach. Rather than focusing on eradication,
they experimented with the concept of managing the drug problem. This shift in policy incorporated a
shift in language as well—substituting the term “risk reduction” for the controversial “harm reduction.”
The philosophy behind the term considers that drug users still have rights, including the right to life.
Therefore, in practice, risk reduction means using controversial treatments such as prescription heroin.
With this change in attitude, Switzerland established the Four Pillars model of drug policy. The four
pillars of Switzerland’s drugs policy are:
•	

prevention

•	

treatment

•	

risk reduction

•	

enforcement

Legally, the Four Pillars Model was introduced at the community-based level by field workers in the
1980s. In 1994, the federal government cited the policy as the national strategy. In 2008, it was passed
as federal law. The Swiss model has had positive results including reduced numbers of heroin users,
cases of HIV, and deaths.
In response to concerns about overdoses, the spread of disease, inadequate treatment and the
relationship between illegal behavior and drug addiction, the city of Vancouver, Canada adopted its
own version of the four pillars approach in 2005. Vancouver took a cooperative approach that involves
private businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups. It is not
only community-based, but customized to address the needs of specific communities. An evaluation of
one aspect of the Four Pillars Policy, the Supported Employment Project, found that the project’s work
to secure temporary employment for people in recovery has been successful in preparing people for
permanent employment. For example, only 25 percent of people in the program relapsed at the end of
their term of employment.

1,412%

Increase in the
number of people
in U.S. prisons
for drug offenses since 1980.

Germany also has a Four Pillars policy, and similar harm reduction
practices can be found in the UK and the Netherlands.

Sources: The Swiss Four Pillars Policy: An Evolution From Local Experimentation to Federal Law, www.great-aria.ch/pdf/
Infos/Beckley_Briefing_2009.pdf
The City of Vancouver, Four Pillars Drug Policy, “Four Pillars Drug Strategy Fact Sheet,” December 3, 2010. http://
vancouver.ca/fourpillars/fs_fourpillars.htm.
Diana Ellis, Summary Evaluation Findings: Four Pillars Supported Employment Project (Vancouver,
Canada: Drug Policy Program: 2008). http://vancouver.ca/fourpillars/documents/FPSESummaryDec08.pdf

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Punitive Response to Drug Use
Country

Law

Intention of Law

Germany

Germany’s Action Plan
on Drugs and Addiction
and Narcotics Act of
1981149

Prevent and treat addictions to illicit substances,
as well as harm reduction
and decreasing the supply
of drugs

Finland

Narcotics Act of 1993,
National drug strategy of
1997

Combat demand for illicit
drugs and focus on early
intervention and drug addiction prevention151

Australia

Drugs, Poisons, and
Controlled Substances
Act of 1981, National
Drug Strategy: Australia’s integrated framework 2004-2009152

Prevent and reduce
the harmful effects of
substance use through
national educational campaigns, treatment, and
criminal penalties153

England
and Wales

Misuse of Drugs Act,
made law in 1971, Drug
Trafficking Act of 1994

Prevent the non-medical
use of controlled substances through criminal
penalties157

Canada

Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act (CDSA),
made law in 1996,
Bill C-15 (mandatory
minimums)

United
States

State laws vary, but are
generally referred to as
the “War on Drugs”
Mandatory minimum
sentencing, school zone
laws

Decriminalization

Decriminalization laws for
cannabis exist in all eight
Australian territories. Some
territories have “cannabis
cautioning schemes” that
provide for civil penalties, while others mandate
“prohibition with cautioning
and diversion to treatment”
plans.154

Prevent use and sale of
drugs through criminalization and penalties160

Cannabis is not fully decriminalized in any province; however cannabis for
medical purposes can be
bought and sold with legal
permission.161

Penalize drug use and
drug-related behaviors
through the criminal or
juvenile justice systems

Cannabis is not fully decriminalized in any state,
however some states allow
cannabis to be bought and
sold through authorized vendors for medical purposes.164

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Treatment Measures

Possession of small amounts
of narcotics, open access to
treatment150

Punitive Measures

Possession of larger amounts of narcotics is a criminal offense
(dealing, distributing, intent to sell).

Possession, distribution, and manufacture are criminal offenses.
Conviction and sentence depends on the type and quantity of drug.

Access to drug courts vary by
Australian Territory; however
most courts provide a Drug
Treatment Order which includes a suspended custodial
sentence and a treatment
program focused on addressing substance abuse.155

Penalties cover a broad range, but for possession of drugs not
related to trafficking, one is subject to a maximum fine of $3000
and/or one year of imprisonment, and the most severe penalty- for
persons convicted of trafficking commercial quantities of drugs- is a
maximum fine of $500,000 and/or life imprisonment.156

Often available and monitored through Dedicated Drug
Courts for minor nonviolent
offenses158

Possession, distribution, and manufacture are criminal offenses.
Conviction and sentence depends on the type and quantity of drug.
Prison sentences can reach life imprisonment for trafficking. Police
often handle cases in their jurisdiction.159

Available through Drug Treatment Courts— judicially
mandated treatment programs that offer an alternative to jail time for nonviolent
offenses.162

Often available after involvement in criminal or juvenile
justice systems in prison,
community-placement, or
drug courts

Mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain drug offences,
and heightened maximum penalties.163

Possession, distribution, and manufacture are criminal offenses.
Conviction and sentence depends on the type and quantity of drug,
includes mandatory minimums. Possession of even small amounts
of drugs can lead to a prison sentence.

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Prisons are the new asylums in all of the
comparison nations
Among the six countries discussed in this report, recent research shows alarming proportions of
people in prison that have a mental illness. While the numbers vary from nation to nation, there is a
common theory that the deinstitutionalization of the mental health sector has led to the incarceration
of more people with mental illness than ever before.165 For the United States, the lack of resources
in community-based mental health treatment is evident in low numbers of mental health personnel—
especially as a ratio to mental health patients—and a low budget allocation in comparison to most of
the other countries.166 Worse yet, a U.S. Department of Justice survey found that more than half of
the U.S. prison and jail population have symptoms of a mental health disorder but less than one-third
report receiving treatment while incarcerated.167
Some research finds even more daunting numbers in the other countries:
•	

A news report from Germany estimated that 88 percent of incarcerated people have a mental
illness or personality disorder.168

•	

A survey of the New South Wales prison population in Australia found that 78.2 percent of men
and 90.1 percent of women had a psychiatric condition upon arrival there.169

•	

The Prison Reform Trust, an advocacy group in the United Kingdom, found that 72 percent of
males and 70 percent of females in prison have at least two mental health disorders.170

•	

In Canada, an annual report from the Office of the Correctional Investigator found that the number
of people being admitted to prisons with mental health issues had increased by 71 percent and
61 percent for men and women, respectively, between 1997 and 2007,171 with one in four new
admissions to the federal corrections system having a mental health problem.172 About 37 percent
of men and 50 percent of women in prison in the Pacific region of Canada living with a mental
health problem.173

•	

A 2000 study from Finland that followed life results for a group of males born in 1966 found
that “one-third of violent and one-fourth of nonviolent male offenders had at least one hospital
admission due to a psychiatric disorder before the age of 32,” suggesting that some of the males
in the study had gone untreated.174

Though reported numbers may be lower in Canada and Finland, there is still concern about the
disparity between the high rates of people with mental health issues in prison and the much lower rates
found in the general population of all six countries.175

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Policy Opportunities

2.	 Surveillance practices and “tail ‘em, nail ‘em,
jail ‘em” philosophies of supervision can send

Eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing for

people back to prison for violations of supervi-

drug offenses: No other comparison nation has

sion (i.e., failing to report to a parole officer,

mandatory sentencing for possession of small

difficulty keeping steady employment, etc.).

amounts of illegal substances. Such broad sentencing structures are significant contributors to
the number of people in prison in the U.S.
Provide treatment first: Treatment for drug ad-

3.	 Reentry services and practices can help people
successfully return permanently to their communities, thereby reducing the number of
people entering prison.

diction outside the justice system should be widely
available and affordable for people who need it.
Use a public health response to drug-related
offenses: In cases in which the offense is related

Releasing more people to
supervision would reduce the
number of people in prison.

to the personal use of drugs, treatment should be

Release processes across comparison nations vary

the first response rather than incarceration.

and appear to be uniformly complicated. Some na-

Harm reduction: Needle-exchange programs,
for example, not only help prevent the spread of
disease, but also give people a safe place to use
drugs, thus reducing chances that they will become involved in other illegal activity.

tions, including Finland, Australia, and Germany,
have automatic parole dates after some proportion
of the sentence is served. For example, in Finland,
the general rule is that a person who has not been
in prison in the previous three years is paroled
after serving half of the sentence.176 Recently,
Finland also implemented a “supervised proba-

Parole and Reentry
Parole, reentry and supervision policies and
practices have some commonalities, however, the

tionary period” for people in prison with long
sentences who need more support and services
while in the community.177

details about how each of these systems works

Other nations, including England and Wales, al-

are somewhat difficult to uncover. In other words,

low the courts to make some decisions about the

there is no central, international repository for pa-

proportion of the sentence served in prison and

role and reentry information and statistics.

the Parole Board to determine eligibility for parole

Nonetheless these practices have an important effect
on the number of people in prison. This section attempts to aggregate information and compare statistics to show how differences in parole, reentry, and
supervision affect prison population. In particular,
this section includes a summary of some of the phi-

in other cases. Canada also tends to rely on Parole
Boards to determine eligibility for parole. In the
U.S., “truth in sentencing” and mandatory minimum sentencing laws in some states have eliminated the ability of parole boards to determine
release eligibility.

losophies and policies associated with these crimi-

Australia and Finland, the only two nations con-

nal justice practices related to three areas of interest:

sidered here with automatic parole dates after a

1.	 Early, conditional releases from prison to pa-

certain proportion of the sentence is served, also

role or supervision can reduce the number of

have the highest release rates. The other compari-

people in prison.

son nations which use a more discretionary release

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Five things to know about supervision in other nations
All of the comparison nations have some type of supervision practice when a person is released from
prison. As will be discussed, there are differences in the way supervision is carried out across nations.
But perhaps more importantly, there are differences in the general implications of supervision that
stretch across the entire section.
Here are five things to know about parole, reentry, and supervision in the comparison nations:
1.	 Automatic releases before the end of a sentence are routine in Australia, Finland, and Germany.
2.	 People are rarely held in prison until they complete the entire sentence.
3.	 Reentry services are more automatically, widely, and routinely available.
4.	 People released from prison without supervision are not excluded from receiving services or the
support of a parole agency.
5.	 Although all nations commonly use the word parole to describe the conditional release of a person
from prison, probation is sometimes used to describe the agency that provides supervision.
strategy have more similar rates of release.178 De-

who are returned to prison for parole violations.

spite these differences in conditional release rates,

For example, the United States and England and

crime rates do not vary significantly across nations.

Wales use a supervision-heavy parole system which

Some states in the U.S. are using different release
mechanisms, some of which are already in use in
countries like Finland. For example, medical leave
is possible in some states, by which people in prison who are very ill can be released and some states
are relying more frequently on risk assessments to
determine eligibility as soon as it is possible within
the rubric of mandatory sentences.

Surveillance practices are likely to
contribute to the number of people
in prison.

relies on frequent contact and lots of rules which
must be obeyed. While some U.S. jurisdictions are
increasing the availability of other resources, such as
job training, drug treatment and program referrals,
these vary greatly between different states and even
different cities. In other words, the parole system
seems to be designed to catch a person doing something wrong, rather than provide the services to
prevent an offense.
By contrast, Germany and Finland primarily use
parole and probation services as a way of ensuring
that the person leaving prison is receiving appropri-

While preventing new offenses from occurring is im-

ate services and treatment to help ensure reintegra-

portant, it is also important to ensure that people are

tion into the community.181 In fact, in Finland, only

not returning to prison for violations of parole that

one in five people on parole have a supervision or

include missing appointments with parole officers,

surveillance component to their release (although

being unemployed, or failing a drug test.179 In the

that does not mean they do not have access to ser-

U.S., for example, approximately 16 percent of people

vices through a parole officer) and even in the cases

on parole are returned to prison because parole was

of new offenses, the person does not necessarily go

revoked for a violation of the conditions of parole.180

back to prison.182 Canada and Australia use a more

The philosophy that guides parole practice may
have a significant effect on the number of people

combined parole modality that uses both supervision and service.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Even though the U.S. as a whole tends to use a sur-

A universal shift to a parole system in all states and

veillance-heavy approach for parole, some states are

localities that includes more of a social work modal-

increasingly shifting toward a more balanced, sup-

ity rather than one focusing on policing and sur-

portive parole system that incorporates more reen-

veillance modality would ensure that fewer people

try services. Under budgetary pressure and realizing

return to prison for technical violations, thus reduc-

that prison populations were growing while people

ing the number of people in prison. Such a shift will

were being returned to prison for violating parole,

also facilitate the delivery of more reentry services,

Kansas, Georgia, and New Jersey began instituting a

as discussed in the next section.

philosophy shift in parole and incorporating graduated responses to behaviors that violate parole.183

Of the comparison nations, Australia and Finland release the
highest proportion of its prison population to supervision in 2006.
40%

Percent of Prison Population

35%

36%

30%
29%
25%
24%
20%

20%

21%

15%
10%
5%
0%

England
and Wales

United States

Finland

Australia

Canada

Sources: England and Wales: Kings College, “World Prison Population, Seventh Edition,” 2007. and National Offender Management Service, End of Custody Licence Releases
and Recalls 1 to 31 December 2007, England and Wales (London, UK: Ministry of Justice, 2008), www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/stats-ecl-1207.pdf
USA: Kings College, “World Prison Population, Seventh Edition,” 2007. and Thomas P. Bonczar and Lauren E. Glaze, “Parole in 2006, Appendix Tables, May 22, 2008,” Bureau
of Justice Statistics, December 16, 2010, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2072
Finland: Kings College, “World Prison Population, Seventh Edition,” 2007. and The Criminal Sanctions Agency, “The Annual Report of the Criminal Sanctions Field, 2006,”
2006. www.rikosseuraamus.fi/uploads/98oocf1fpkzwq.pdf
Australia: Kings College, “World Prison Population, Seventh Edition,” 2007. and Western Australia Parole Board, “Western Australia Parole Board Annual Report, for the Year
Ended 30 June 2006,” 2006. www.prisonersreviewboard.wa.gov.au/_files/Parole_Board_Annual_Report_2006.pdf, The Parole Board of the Northern Territory, “2006 Annual
Report,” 2006. www.nt.gov.au/justice/documents/depart/annualreports/paroleboard_annrept_2006.pdf, Department of Corrective Services, Queensland, “Annual Report,
2005-06,” 2006. www.correctiveservices.qld.gov.au/Publications/Corporate_Publications/Annual_Reports/annual05-06/images/Annual%20Report%2005-06.pdf, Department
for Correctional Services, South Australia, “Annual Report 2005-2006,” 2006. www.corrections.sa.gov.au/annual_report/2005-2006/pdf/DCS_Annual_Report_2005_06.pdf,
New South Wales Department of Corrective Services, “05-06 Annual Report,” 2006. www.correctiveservices.nsw.gov.au/_media/dcs/about_us/publications/annual_reports/
annual_report_2005-2006/AnnualReport2006.pdf, The Parole Board of Tasmania, “2007 Annual Report,” 2007. www.justice.tas.gov.au/paroleboard/annual_reports/Parole_Board_Annual_Report_2007.pdf, The Adult Parole Board of Victoria, “2005-06 Annual Report: Continuous Improvement,” 2006. www.justice.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/
e5149300404a89fda1eefbf5f2791d4a/APB_Annual_Report_2005_06.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
Canada: Data available from 2009 only. Kings College, “World Prison Population, Seventh Edition,” 2007. and Statistics Canada, “Adult correctional services, admissions to
provincial, territorial and federal programs,” December 16, 2010. www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/ind01/l3_2693_2149-eng.htm?hili_legal30

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Post Release Supervision (Parole)
Country

Australia

Agency that Delivers Post-Release
Supervision Services

The State or Territory Department of Corrective Services delivers parole services
via community corrections staff.184

The Correction Service of Canada190

Canada

Local police jurisdictions through Integrated Police-Parole Initiative191
Some community-based agencies and
individuals192

Finland

Approach to Post-Release
Supervision

Designed to assist people moving back
into the community with supervision and
advice from parole officers. Large caseloads have led to more risk management
strategies185 over service due to some
people on parole having insufficient contact with officers.186

Parole is considered the bridge between
incarceration and returning to the community by providing help and supervision during a gradual release process.193
Public safety is the foremost consideration taken into account when making
parole decisions and risk management
strategies are used to formulate release
plans.194 Parole officers are expected to
fulfill a dual role of enforcement agent
and counselor.195

The goals of supervision and community
Probation Service delivers parole servic- sanctions are to help people adopt lives
es – assigning conditions of release and without crime, promote the reintegration
supervision requirements. 200 Different au- of sentenced people back into society,
thorities, communities, workplaces, and
and to reduce the chance of recidivism.202
private persons often assist the Probation Minimal focus is placed on risk manageService with providing services.201
ment or supervision strategy – approach
emphasizes reintegration.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Mechanisms of Release Decisions

Terms and Conditions of Parole

For federal offenses, there is often a non-parole
period. If the sentence is less than 10 years, the
person is automatically released after the nonparole period without the discretion of government officials. If the sentence is over 10 years,
the Minister makes the release decisions. 187 At
the state or territory level, there are similar practices related to non-parole periods and State
or Territory Parole Boards make parole release
decisions in states or territories.188

Varies by jurisdiction and individual cases, but
common conditions include: reporting to the
parole officer, keeping changes of address or
job up to date, requesting permission for travel
(domestic and international), counseling for financial, emotional or marital problems and drug
addiction treatment and testing.189

The Parole Board of Canada handles parole
decisions for all Federal cases, State and Territory cases not under the jurisdiction of Ontario or Quebec (which have their own Parole
Boards).196

Standard conditions apply to every person paroled and include: reporting to parole supervisor,
staying within specific geographic boundaries,
reporting changes in financial, housing, or family
situations; additionally, for people on day parole,
they must return to the penitentiary at the specified date and time. 198

Release decisions are made based on
three major factors: criminal history, institutional behavior and benefit from release plan
programs.197

People who have not been in prison at some point in
the prior three years of the current offense, can be
released after serving half of the sentence. If the
offense was committed when under 21 years of age,
the corresponding time is one-third. Otherwise, people
sentenced to prison can be released on parole when
they have served two-thirds of their sentence or half
of the sentence if the offense was committed when
the person was under 21 years of age.203 On certain
conditions, people serving life sentences can be released after serving 5/6 but at least three years of the
sentence. Helsinki Court of Appeal decides on the
release.
Only one out of every five people on post-release
supervision are court ordered to supervision by the
Probation Service; supervision is generally used if
the parole period is more than one year, if the offense
was committed when the person was under 21 years
of age, or if the person requests supervision.204

Special Conditions take into account individualized risk and include conditions such as abstinence from alcohol and drugs or more stringent
geographical/travel limitations. 199

People ordered to supervised release are required to participate in the formation of a supervision plan and to attend meetings with an
assigned supervisor.205 During these meetings,
the supervised person is required to provide
information related to work, housing, education,
and his/her current financial situation.206
The supervised person is prohibited from attending supervision meetings under the influence of
alcohol, but is otherwise not restricted from using alcohol unless agreed to in the supervision
plan.207

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Post Release Supervision (Parole)
Country

Germany

England
and Wales

United
States

Agency that Delivers Post-Release
Supervision Services

Approach to Post-Release
Supervision

Nearly all probation services are government run and under the jurisdiction of
the respective state, with the exception
being of Baden-Württemberg, which has
contracted probation services through a
private provider named NEUSTART.208

Less emphasis is placed on supervision
as in other nations. The court does not
require supervision in every case and
parole officers are expected to assist and
look after the person on parole.209 Even
though compliance is monitored, not every new offense leads to a revocation of
parole. Revocations only happen when
the person shows that the expectations
on which the parole was based have not
been fulfilled.210

The Probation Service, located within
the Ministry of Justice, is in charge of
providing parole services.215 Services are
chiefly delivered through probation staff
but the private and voluntary sector are
increasingly involved in the provision of
services.216

Both the Parole Board and the Probation
Service are principally concerned with
protecting public safety by managing the
risk posed by releasing individuals on
parole. The Probation Service highlights
enforcement of parole conditions as a top
priority.217 Emphasis on risk management
and supervision indicates a system based
on surveillance and control rather than
rehabilitation.218

Parole service provision varies widely by
jurisdiction. Supervision can be handled
by a parole supervision agency which
may be overseen by the Parole Board,
housed under the State Department of
Corrections, or within a separate state
agency.223
Other State and Federal level agencies,
community organizations, non-profit organizations, and local law enforcement
are often involved in providing parole
services.224

Focus is primarily on strengthening surveillance, limiting risk, and promoting
punishment as opposed to emphasizing
rehabilitation. Recently, however although
recently there has been some indication
that States are becoming more interested
in treatment strategies that would reduce
recidivism.225

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Mechanisms of Release Decisions

Incarcerated persons are automatically considered for parole after serving one half of their
sentence if they have no previous sentences
and the sentence is less than two years or after serving two-thirds of their sentence in other
cases not involving a life sentence.211
Those serving a life sentence are automatically
considered for parole after serving 15 years
in prison.212 Parole decisions are made by the
court system.213

Terms and Conditions of Parole

Terms and conditions of parole vary by case;
some examples are: supervision by a probation
officer, community service, reparations for the
injury caused, instructions regarding place of
residence and regular reporting to a court.214

The Parole Board makes parole decisions and
attempts to help rehabilitate people where appropriate, however the main factor considered in
Conditions vary by case but general requireparole decisions is the risk to public safety.219
ments include: meeting with supervising officer,
People with a determinate sentence are allowed staying out of legal trouble, maintaining up to
to apply as early as six months before the half
date records regarding address and phone numway-point of a sentence.220 People with an inber, being on time for supervised appointments
determinate sentence such as a sentence to
and having probation staff home visits.222
life can be considered for release by a Parole
Board after serving the minimum amount of prison time required for their particular offense.221

Varies by jurisdiction but parole decisions are
often made by state level parole boards.226 In
other places, courts determine sentencing by
using mandatory minimum sentences.

Conditions vary by jurisdiction but can generally be divided into standard and special
conditions.228
Standard conditions can include: restrictions on
changing residence, maintenance of employment
or enrollment in educational programs and home
or work visits.229

The method of making parole decisions can
vary but an increasingly dominant paradigm
involves using risk assessment tools to estimate Special conditions can include: participation in
the person’s chances of returning to prison.227
drug or alcohol treatment programs and psychological treatment programs.230

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Parole Innovation in the united states
Kansas: In 2001, people whose parole was revoked for violating conditions of parole made up
44.4 percent of prison admissions. In order to reduce the number of people returning to prison for
violating the terms of parole, Kansas began by implementing evidence-based practices and relying
more heavily on risk and needs assessments. Rather than focusing on the quantity of meetings with
people on parole, parole officers were to focus on quality, using a strengths-based approach and the
community as a resource for services and supports. Parole officers use a case management strategy,
rather than a law enforcement, surveillance strategy when working with people on parole. As a result
of the state’s efforts, parole revocations resulting from violating the terms of parole decreased to 39
percent of admissions to prison in 2004.
Georgia: Even though Georgia had made efforts to build a “Results Driven Supervision” process,
people were still returning to prison for technical violations of parole. To address this issue, Georgia
undertook a variety of changes to its parole system, but one of the most sweeping was a matrix of
violations that ensured that the response to a behavior was proportionate to the seriousness. For
example, failing to appear for a meeting did not have the same response as an arrest for a felony. The
matrix also includes a system of rewards for following the conditions of parole. The Board of Pardons
and Paroles made an effort to change the general tone of parole by changing language used by parole
officers and in policies and providing training. As a result of these efforts, parole revocations dropped
approximately 11 percent.
New Jersey: The State found that parole revocations were contributing to prison overcrowding
and half of the people returning for parole revocations had not committed a new offense. To help
address the issue, New Jersey began by clarifying the mission, vision, and goals of parole to state
the importance of promoting successful reentry into the community. Specific tools include graduated
responses to violations of parole, tying services, supports, and resources to the community and
community organizations, and changing expectations for staff to promote case management over
surveillance. Staff are evaluated on their ability to carry out a service-based philosophy along a rubric
called the “Performance Assessment Review” system. From 2003 to 2004, New Jersey decreased
parole revocations 22.3 percent.

Source: National Institute of Justice, “Parole Violations Revisited: Innovations in Four States,” January 14, 2011. www.
paroleviolationsrevisited.org/4states

16%
of people on parole in
the U.S. are returned
to prison because
parole was revoked
for a violation of the
conditions of parole.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Supervision and Unconditional Release
In the United States, approximately 200,000 people are released from prison without supervision because it is the end of their sentence or under some other type of mandatory release.231 Because supervision, or parole, is usually the only or best way to have access to services like housing, employment
assistance, or other reentry services, people who are released without supervision are left on their own
to reintegrate into their communities.
By contrast, in Finland, everyone who is released from prison has access to those services regardless of whether or not they are supervised closely by a parole officer. Only one in five people released
from prison in Finland are supervised. Finland also allows people who are released from prison to
request supervision.232

Widely available reentry services
prevent returns to prison.

for two reasons. First, the United States tends to
incarcerate more and “less risky” cases, while other

Reentry or reintegration programs after any type

comparison nations imprison less and when they

of release from prison, whether it be through pa-

do, it’s in the cases with the highest risk of com-

role services or not, can play an important role in

mitting a new offense. Second, comparison nations

helping people effectively integrate back into their

measure recidivism differently. These particular

communities and stay out of prison. Reentry ser-

differences make it difficult to say with certainty

vices may help reduce barriers to obtaining em-

that one approach to preventing recidivism is more

ployment, housing, or other services that reduce

effective than another in absolute terms. A sum-

the chances that a person commits a new offense

mary of the findings from those studies includes:

while out of prison.

•	

A report from the United States Department

Determining what proportion of people released

of Justice followed 300,000 people from 15

from prison commit a new offense, or recidivate,

states after they were released from prison,

is difficult because it is measured a number of dif-

and found that 46.9 percent of people released

ferent ways, including re-arrest, re-conviction and

from prison were reconvicted and 25 percent of

re-imprisonment, during different time periods, for

the people who left prison in 1994 returned to

different groups of people, or for type of offense. A

prison in the subsequent three years.233

comparison of rates across nations is not possible

•	

A longitudinal study in Finland
examining those who returned
to prison within 5 years of being
released, shows that 59 percent
returned to prison within that
timeframe.234

•	

A Canadian study of people in federal prison released between April
1, 1996 and March 31, 1997 shows
a reconviction rate of 41 percent
within the next two years.235

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Reentry
Country

Government Agency

Attorney General’s
Department
Australia

Reentry Approach

Rehabilitative theory largely influenced by
Canada244
Focus on tailoring programming to individual
client needs
Cognitive Behavioral Treatment246
Employ social learning techniques

Canada

Correctional Service of
Canada (CSC)

Positive reinforcements
Treatment interventions should be used
primarily with high risk offenders
Personalized treatment and interventions

Finland

Germany

England
and Wales

United
States

Ministry of Justice - Criminal
Sanctions Agency

Rehabilitative focus with strong emphasis on
eliminating social marginalization250,251

Federal Ministry of Justice

Rehabilitation and re-socialization – with
large emphasis on in-prison rehabilitation
services254

Ministry of Justice - National
Offender Management
Service (NOMS)

Rehabilitative theory focused on individual
treatment256
(Behavioral treatment largely influenced by
Canadian approach)

Evolved from a sociological approach –
programs/treatment focus largely on the
Department of Justice - Office community and things around the offender
of Justice Programs
(i.e. jobs, housing, education) and less
inclined to treat the individual (i.e. behavioral
modification)258

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Special Programs/Services
Prison and Community Corrections falls under the responsibility of state and territory
jurisdictions245—each operates independently and under different frameworks—leading to
a wide variation in programs and services. Each jurisdiction provides its own services and
programming, some targeting special populations.
Ex: Australian Capital Territory’s Corrective Services collaborates with local Aboriginal
Organizations in providing reentry services specifically for Indigenous people
National programs focused on women and aboriginal population247
CORCAN – special operating agency focused purely on employment training, skills
development, and placement248
Design and implantation of reentry programming largely directed by Provincial Branches of
CSC with services varying by Province.249
Community Sanction Work – short term programs designed to change criminal behavior
motivations by connecting people to the community through service work252
2001-2009 WOP Program in Kerava Prison – male prisoners under 30 participated in a
holistic rehabilitation program that began during incarceration and continued after release
with the focus of advancing an individual’s commitment to and occupation role in society253
Day Fines255 – in lieu of short term incarceration an individual is fined based on the
calculation of offense and the cost of an individual’s day of freedom (the amount of income
an individual would have forfeited if incarcerated for a day)
NOMS Alliances257:
Corporate Sector – provide offenders with sustained work opportunities
Civic Society – provide equality of access to mainstream local services, authorities, and
organizations
Faith, Voluntary, & Community Sector – build meaningful faith and community networks/
relationships post-release

Since 2001 with the formation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives, increased federal funding has been granted to Faith-Based Reentry Initiatives &
Services259

*Note – all countries provide reentry services that address housing, education, health issues, financial management, and job service needs.

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•	

In the United Kingdom, a study of 50,085

surveillance and then, secondarily, connecting peo-

adults released from custody in the first quar-

ple coming home from prison with services.

ter of 2007 (Jan. 1 – March 31), showed that 39
percent committed another offense at least once
during a one-year follow-up period where the
offense resulted in a court conviction.236
•	

A four-year longitudinal study of people who
had previously been sanctioned with a prison
term in Germany showed that 46.9 percent were
sanctioned again within those four years.237

Of the reentry initiatives in place in
the U.S., there is little attention to
mental or behavioral health
The United States also has a fundamentally different reentry philosophy. The reentry model is
sociological,239 that is, concerned less with mental
health and behavior and focused more on addressing environmental issues such as housing, educa-

Although it is difficult to say whether one approach

tion, and jobs. While comparison nations may

works better than another given research about

address these issues, as well, their reentry practices

recidivism across nations, it is apparent that people

are also influenced by psychological principles,

who do return to prison after release are likely to do

addressing some of the individual issues that cul-

so soon after they are released. In addition, provid-

minated in incarceration. The combined sociologi-

ing services to people coming out of prison in the

cal and psychological approach to reentry includes

United States, generally, has been shown to be effec-

social learning techniques, positive reinforcements,

tive in preventing them from returning to prison,238

and individualized treatment such as behavior

thus providing such services widely and consis-

modification therapy240 in addition to connecting

tently can yield positive benefits.

people to services like housing or jobs.241 Compari-

A fundamental difference between reentry services
in the U.S. and in comparison nations such as
Australia, Canada, Germany, and Finland is that
reentry services are part of and are paid for by the

son nations, Australia, Germany, Finland, and England and Wales, take such a rehabilitative approach
to reentry, emphasizing both individual behavior
and societal influences.242

parole system and viewed as either the primary

Aside from philosophical differences in the approach

function of parole or as a significant part of parole.

to reentry, other nations have innovative methods of

The two charts included in this section of the report

reducing the chances that a person returns to prison.

show that in those nations rehabilitation, attach-

For example, Finland has a short term program that

ments to the community, employment, and other

is designed to connect people to the community

connections are priorities of parole or probation

through service work. By creating a sense of invest-

services and their staff. Consequently, those ser-

ment in the community, it is thought that a person

vices are also paid for by those agencies. (See Con-

will be less likely to commit another offense.243

ditional Release and Reentry charts included in this
section for additional details.)

Although some reentry services are better than
none at all, more effective models that include

In contrast, reentry and social services in the

mental health and address specific behaviors may

United States are inconsistent, vary greatly across

prove to be more cost effective for reducing the

localities, and are frequently administered, if not

number of people returning to prison and more

paid for, by nongovernmental organizations. With

likely to improve life outcomes overall.

some notable exceptions included in the section
prior to this one, parole offices are first tasked with

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Policy Opportunities
Increase conditional releases to parole: Nations
like Australia, Finland, and Germany routinely release people from prison after they have served a
certain portion of their sentence. Short of sweeping changes to parole that increase conditional
releases, releases on medical parole, which is also
used by comparison nations, and increases in the
use of good time credits for early release would
reduce the number of people in prison.

Juvenile Justice
Young people are still developing mentally, physically and socially.260 To what extent this immaturity
is considered when a youth comes in contact with
systems of law and order varies both within the
United States and between the United States and
other countries. As treatment and other supportive
services have been shown to yield positive benefits
for youth and society,261 a nation’s use of punitive
sanctions against youth engaging in unlawful or
delinquent behavior demonstrates a desire to pun-

Shift parole from a supervision modality to

ish and the use of the justice system as a way to

one of service and social work: A social work

exert punishment.

orientation related to parole will help a person access the services, like education and employment
counseling that are integral to ensuring that a
person is successful outside prison so that they do
not return.
Routinely include mental health and behavioral
services in reentry: Other nations successfully
put into practice an approach to reentry that includes both mental and behavioral health, as well
as sociological factors like housing, employment,
and education. Such a holistic approach could be
cost effective in terms of keeping people from returning to prison and improving life outcomes.
Ensure delivery of reentry services to all people returning to the community from prison,
even if they are not on parole: In comparison
nations, everyone leaving prison participates in
services to reconnect them to jobs, education,
housing, and the community. By comparison, in
the U.S. whatever reentry services are available
are offered in conjunction with parole supervision.
Yet, about 100,000 people leave prisons in the

A single repository of comparable data for the
detention or confinement of youth is difficult to
obtain because not all comparison nations conceptualize juvenile justice in the same way. However,
comparing only the number of youth under the
age of 18 held in secure confinement shows that
the U.S. holds almost six times as many youth in
secure confinement as all other comparison nations.262 In addition, on any given day as many as
7,500 youth can be found in adult lockup facilities
in the United States,263 a practice that other comparison nations do not follow.
The age of criminal responsibility, i.e. when a person is judged to understand whether a behavior or
action is illegal or wrong, varies greatly between
comparison nations. This is particularly important
in the U.S., where a youth can be tried as an adult.
Depending on the state, youth as young as six can
be held criminally responsible in the U.S. Such a
low age of criminal responsibility likely adds to
the total number of youth held in secure facilities

U.S. at the end of their sentence, but are not on

in the U.S.

parole and are not likely to receive reentry ser-

Although the United States founded the juvenile

vices. Delivery of services to all people leaving
prison, regardless, of whether or not they are on
parole, is important to ensuring successful reentry
to the community.

court at the turn of the 20th century and it served as
a model for other nations, the principles of rehabilitation and age-appropriate responses that guided
it have been severely eroded; this is reflected in the

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number of youth held in secure facilities, tried as

or restorative justice for youth in conflict with

adults, held in adult jails, and given life without

the law, although options like those exist in the

parole sentences.

U.S. (see text box “Innovation and Promising Policies in the U.S.”). U.S. policy tends to first find

Serving time in a juvenile facility in the United
States has been found to be a risk factor for
later involvement in the adult criminal justice
system,267 as well as a host of other negative social
outcomes.268 Limiting the contact that youth have
with secure confinement, both by using community-based alternatives and decreasing their overall contact with the justice system, should reduce
the number of people in prison in the long term.
The U.S. relies heavily on incarceration and the
justice system instead of treatment, rehabilitation,

fault in the youth for committing a crime, while
other nations tend to ask why the crime was
committed and what services can and should be
provided to help the young person have more
positive life outcomes. Finland and Germany, in
particular, take a very different approach to youth who have committed some offense:
•	

Finland focuses heavily on welfare, using “Care Orders” that
connect youth to social services
and supports.269 In 2007, only
three people under the age of
18 were in custody.270 By viewing crime or status offenses as

The U.S. has almost 6 times as many youth in secure
confinement as all comparison nations combined, despite
having only a third greater general population.

30,000

58,706

Other nations place a greater focus
on pro-social options instead of
incarceration for young people.

25,000
20,000

10,572

UK
(2008)

6
Canada
(2007-2008)

1,221

5,000

2,749

10,000

2,018

15,000

4,578

Number of youth in secure confinement

46

0

Australia
(2005-2006)

Germany
(2008)

Finland
(2008)

All Comparison United States
Countries
(2006)

Sources: Australian Institute of Health and Warfare, Canberra, Juvenile justice in Australia 2005-06, www.aihw.gov.au/publications/juv/jjia05-06/jjia05-06-c03.pdf, 2007, Secure
Confinement, www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/downloads/Lessons_from_abroad.pdf, Secure Confinement, www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/downloads/Lessons_from_abroad.pdf, Includes Detention Facilities, Long Term Secure, Bootcamp, Sickmund, M., Sladky, T.J., Kang, W., & Puzzanchera, C. (2008). “Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement.” Available: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezacjrp/, Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE I – 2008 (Strasbourg, France:
Council of Europe, 2010), www.coe.int/t/e/legal_affairs/legal_co-operation/prisons_and_alternatives/statistics_space_i/PC-CP(2010)07_E%20SPACE%20Report%20I.pdf

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

a symptom of larger social problems as evi-

people can also be seen in the adult system,

dence of individual emotional or behavioral

and contributes to low incarceration rates in

issues, Finland is able to successfully avoid

the country.

incarcerating youth in prisons. This attitude
of rehabilitation and treatment toward young

Convention on the Rights of the Child
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by every country except the United
States and Somalia,264 sets out guidelines for protecting the rights of youth in the criminal justice system and ensuring appropriate treatment given their age and cognitive development. These include:
children should not be put in prison with adults; when detained, they should be able to keep in contact
with their families; they should not be treated cruelly when they break the law; and they should not
be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without possibility of release.265 While not all of the countries consistently have been found in compliance with the Convention (Finland, Germany, and the UK
have repeatedly been criticized by the UN for insufficient distinctions between the adult and juvenile
systems),266 the ratification of the Convention shows a sustained effort to increase voice, agency, and
protections for youth in the juvenile justice system.

U.S. law allows for very young children to be charged with crimes.

Age of Criminal Responsibility (Years)

16
15

14

14

12

12

10

10

10

Australia

England
and Wales

8
6

6

4
2
0

United States

Canada

Germany

Finland

* Age of criminal responsibility varies by state
Source: John Muncie, The ‘Punitive Turn’ in Juvenile Justice: Cultures of Control and Rights Compliance in Western Europe and the USA (London: The National Associate
for Youth Justice, 2008); Canadian Department of Justice www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/yj-jj/prt/hps.html; The age of criminal responsibility (Canberra: The Australian Institute of
Criminology, 2005) www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/cfi/101-120/cfi106.aspx.

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Innovation and promising policies in juvenile
justice from the U.S.
In some ways, the United States is a leader in developing innovative practices and policies to address
the needs of youth who come in contact with the law. These innovations are not available to all youth,
but where they are, they have been effective.
Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI): Founded in 1992 in response to the rapidly
growing number of youth in pre-adjudication detention facilities, JDAI works directly with localities
across the U.S. to reduce the number of youth in detention. Participating cites reported reduced
numbers of youth in detention, lower youth crime rates, and reductions in racial disparities.275
Models for Change: Established by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Models for
Change seeks to institute systemic and lasting reforms in juvenile justice systems in four core states
that can be used as models for other states. Models for Change also established three action networks
to reduce disproportionate minority contact, improve juvenile indigent defense, and better address
mental health.276
Missouri Model: Missouri began by investing in community-based alternatives to incarceration for
youth and then changed the philosophy and operation of its long-term secure confinement facilities to
provide counseling and education in a more home-like setting.277 In 2006, Missouri’s recidivism rate
was 8.7 percent, lower than other states.278 The state also realized significant cost savings, spending
approximately $94 for each youth aged 10-17, compared to the surrounding eight states that spent, on
average, $140 per young person.279
Changing the Fiscal Architecture: States including Ohio, New York, and Illinois changed the
funding structure of their juvenile justice systems so that counties within the states have a financial
incentive to place youth in community-based alternatives, rather than the state-run youth correctional
facilities. Although the specific strategies differ, the states have sent fewer youth to long-term secure
confinement and realized cost savings.280
Evidence-Based Practices: Although there are many community-based alternatives to incarceration
for youth, there are six that have been rigorously evaluated and have been shown to reduce
recidivism, improve life outcomes for youth, and save taxpayer dollars. These include Multi-Systemic
Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Aggression Replacement Training, Family Integrated Transitions,
Coordination of Services, and Victim Offender Mediation.281
Roper v. Simmons: In 2004, the United States Supreme Court declared
the death penalty for people who committed their offense while under age
18 unconstitutional.282
Graham v. Florida: In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected life
sentences without the possibility of parole for youth not convicted of
homicide.283

7,500

youth can be found in
adult lockup facilities
in the United States
on any given day.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

•	

Instead of detention, the German system

was established by the juvenile court and is still re-

focuses heavily on “educative and disciplin-

flected in the practices of many comparison nations

ary measures” that provide for social and

would reduce the number of youth in juvenile se-

economic supports and reparation for the of-

cure confinement, as well as in prison populations.

fense.

271

Sentences of educative measures are

often available to people up to the age of 21 for
a first offense. Recognizing that “harsher sanctions do not reduce recidivism and, conversely,
that ‘mildness pays off’”272 these nations are
able to craft systems that help steer potentially
troubled young people to a positive, pro-social
path instead of starting a cycle of incarceration.
Policies centered on interventions based on risk are
steeped in a philosophy of fixation on what transgressions young people might commit.273 Instead
of a proactive, welfare and health-based approach
that seeks to ensure success and support, the justice
system is used as an authoritarian tool that metes
out punishment and establishes a system of correctional control.
Of course, the U.S. is home to a large number of
innovative and successful programs and services
for youth that come into contact with the law
that focus on rehabilitation and improving life
outcomes,274 but these programs are not widely
available to all who need them. At the same time,
jurisdictions in the U.S. continue to transfer youth
to adult courts, imprison youth for status offenses
like running away, and house youth in jails that
also house adults. Shifting the response to youth
who come into conflict with the law back to what

Policy Opportunities
Raise the age of criminal responsibility: Raising the age of criminal responsibility from six years
of age to one that is more reflective of a youth’s
development would have some effect on the number of youth in secure custody in the U.S. and
would begin to change the culture of punitiveness
towards children.
End transfers to adult courts: No other comparison nation transfers as many youth to adult criminal courts as the United States or at such young
ages. Youth transferred to adult courts are at risk
of sexual assault, are not guaranteed education or
other rehabilitative services, and are more likely to
be rearrested for another offense later in life than a
youth who was not transferred.284
Provide services first: Finland’s system of “Care
Orders” connect youth with services, like treatment, counseling, education, or other services
before punitive measures are used. Germany’s
responses to youth that come into contact with
the law combine education, accountability and restoration before
incarceration.

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PART 5

Differences across nations
present some challenges to
implementing policy.
Although there are similarities between the U.S. and the comparison countries
that would support reforms to reduce prison populations, some characteristics of the U.S. create an environment that supports incarceration and makes
implementing policies from other nations a challenge.

ences in incarceration. The list of potential factors

Politics and
government structure

includes, but is not limited to: extent and avail-

The basic construction of the political systems in

ability of social welfare; political culture; fear of

comparison nations play a role in the way poli-

crime; social equality or inequality; and public

cies are implemented, creating opportunities and

confidence in the government and social institu-

challenges. Both the specific roles of particular

tions.285 (see Appendix for additional reading)

stakeholders and larger institutional structures

International scholars have carefully analyzed the
differences between nations that explain differ-

While the complicated interplay of national
politics, economics, and social factors is important, this report’s focus is on differences which
might be particularly influential in a criminal
justice policy debate in the United States and,
to some degree, may realistically be changed.
Differences included in this report are political and governmental structures, the role of the
media, and funding structures related to social
institutions. While they do not necessarily create
insurmountable barriers to incorporating other
countries’ policies and practices, it may be that
the U.S. needs to be innovative and customize
them so that they best fit this country’s culture
and socio-political climate.

play an important role in the ways that the justice
system operates.

Federalism: States, provinces,
and localities
The structure of the governments of the comparison nations is also important to the way that
policies are implemented. In countries like the
U.S., Canada, and Australia, in particular, some
functions of the criminal justice system operate at
the state, province, county, city, or otherwise local
level. In other words, it can be difficult to implement one single policy across the entire nation.
This, of course, allows for innovation at the local
level, but also presents a challenge in implementing a promising practice consistently and effectively across all jurisdictions. Canada is a notable
exception, however, because even though criminal

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

justice policies are carried out at the provincial

thus potentially putting pressure on the pros-

level, criminal justice policies are made at the fed-

ecutor to have a guilty verdict.

eral level, making policies less susceptible to local
pressures or perceptions.286

•	

Role of the prosecutor: In the U.S. and the
U.K., the prosecutor represents the state and

By contrast, smaller countries like Germany and

has broad discretionary powers in the judicial

Finland that maintain national control of aspects of

process, including setting the charge. The

the criminal justice system, including parole, pre-

prosecutor is generally encouraged to win on

trial decisions, and juvenile justice functions, have

behalf of the state and, in the U.S. may be re-

more control over the implementation of a single

elected based on the number or types of wins.

policy, but potentially less opportunity for innova-

By contrast, in Germany and Finland, the

tion in a smaller jurisdiction.

prosecutor is a more neutral party, bearing a
closer resemblance to the judge, doing investi-

Role of justice officials

gation and arbitration, creating less confrontation in courtrooms. 287

Prosecutors, judges and government officials play
different roles within the justice systems of different countries, which in turn, affects the number of
people in prison in those nations. Some of those
differences include:
•	

Adversarial systems: The U.S. and the U.K.
both have adversarial court systems that require the prosecution and defense to appear
before a court to essentially dismantle the other
side’s case before a relatively passive jury and
judge. In Germany and Finland, the prosecutor plays a more neutral role. The inherent
confrontational nature of this system creates
a competition to convince the judge and jury,

•	

Resources for public defense: The United
States devotes proportionally fewer funds to
public defense288 than do the comparison nations in this study. The United States spends
.0002 percent of its per capita GDP on public
defense per person. Comparatively, the United
Kingdom budgets .20 percent per person of
its per capita GDP to defend people who cannot afford private counsel. Furthermore, the
United States distributes resources in favor of
prosecution, budgeting over twice the amount
of money for prosecution as it spends on public defense.289 By contrast, the United Kingdom
allocates approximately four times as much
funding for public defense as it does for pros-

Penal severity instead is closely
associated with public sentiments
(fears, levels of trust, and punitiveness), the extent of welfare
provision, differences in income
inequality, political structures, and
legal cultures.
– tapio lappi-seppälä, national

research institute of legal policy,
helsinki

ecution, while Finland spends more money on
both sides but allocates more towards public
defense than prosecution.290 Fewer resources
for public defense likely affects quality of
council and means more people may be found
guilty and sentenced to prison.

Elections of court personnel
In the U.S., many prosecutors and judges are
elected by citizens or are nominated and confirmed
through a political process by other elected officials. Political processes for prosecutors and judges

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make getting elected and being reelected a central

and implemented by a small group of professional

concern for such officials. For this reason, the goal

and academic criminal justice experts with close

of creating fair, cost-effective policies, may take

ties to several Ministers of Justice, allowing policy

second place to satisfying the perceived desires of

to remain apolitical and potentially less punitive.293

the constituents, appease the media, and respond
to campaign financiers. In particular, the following
issues are raised related to elected justice officials:
•	

Perceived pressure from the media and the
public: In-depth interviews with state legislators about the risk of people who have committed sex offenses revealed that legislators
monitor the media’s coverage of events in

More important, the government
and the opposition rarely make
crime issues a central part of their
political platform [in Canada].
– anthony n. doob, professor of criminology,
university of toronto and cheryl marie webster,
professor of criminology, university of ottowa

order to be responsive to constituent complaints or concerns. Such perceived complaints
or concerns can affect how elected judges and
prosecutors make decisions related to criminal
justice as well, perhaps exacting harsher penalties in response.
•	

Campaign financing from private sources: In
a 2001 poll of state judges, 46 percent indicated
that campaign contributions do influence judicial decisions.291 For example, money received
from private prison corporations as campaign
contributions may influence judges to sentence
more people to prison than other communitybased alternatives.

•	

Media defines crime
and policy in many
comparison nations
For many in the comparison nations, including
policymakers, the media are the primary source of
information about the criminal justice system and
public safety. The media also have a significant
influence in the social construction of crime, or the
way that crime and crime policy are understood
by people. And the way crime is defined contributes to the level of fear that people have about

Term limits: Elected officials usually face term

crime and how they want to respond to it, which

limits and at some point will return to the pri-

includes incarceration. The way the media affects

vate sector for work, thus making the influence

policymakers and the public varies across nations

of potential employers, such as law firms, aca-

and helps explain some of the difference in policy

demic institutions or businesses, an additional

implementation related to incarceration.

factor in decision-making in the courtroom.292

Understanding how media influences criminal jus-

Comparatively, criminal justice administrators in

tice policies is critical in determining what reforms

many European countries are appointed by the

can be sustained. The media, the government,

Ministry of Justice and are career civil servants, al-

and the public all constantly reinforce each other.

lowing them to be less influenced by external pres-

Through the media, policymakers perceive that

sures than court personnel in the U.S. In Germany,

there is a problem with crime, and respond with

for example, criminal justice policy is the result of

punitive policies. These responses reinforce with

a bargaining process among insulated government

the public and the media the existence of a crime

officials. Similarly, Finnish penal reform is designed

problem; in turn, people are led to believe that they

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

should be afraid, leading them to demand even
harsher criminal penalties.

Media influence on policymakers
Not only do policymakers rely on the media to de-

Given the influence that the media has over policy
and public perception, particularly in the U.S. and
the U.K.,294 the content of media stories is important. The media, especially traditional television

termine how their constituents are reacting to crime
or public safety issues during a campaign, they also
use the media to make policy decisions, especially
in the U.S.

and print media, must sell papers or gain viewers

A 1991 survey of St. Louis gang members, law en-

to satisfy advertisers. Media stories therefore must

forcement officials, and policymakers determined

create the most interest and drama, regardless of

that while most gang members and law enforcement

whether or not those stories truly capture the entire

officers got their information from first- and second-

context of the story. For example, the following

hand experiences, the majority of policymakers

research in the U.S. shows how the media follows

reported that the mass media were their primary

the “If it bleeds, it leads”295 philosophy:

sources of information about gangs.301 In-depth

•	

U.S. television news covers crime on a level
similar to that of the Presidency or Congress,
devoting about 13 percent of all stories.296

•	

the importance of the media in the formulation of
opinions.302 In particular, legislators stated that they
received information from other government agen-

stantial portion of its coverage to crime news,

cies through news stories, but that they also stayed

the crime rate as a whole was decreasing and

on top of the media’s coverage of events in order to

violent crime remained a small percentage of

be responsive to constituent complaints or concerns.
Comparatively, research in Canada suggests that

Research on media in Australia, Canada, and
Great Britain has shown misrepresentation
and distortion of crime news, particularly
through a disproportionate emphasis on vio-

•	

of information about sex offenders also highlight

In every case where the media devotes a sub-

crime as a whole.297
•	

interviews with policymakers about their sources

imprisonment rates in that country have remained
stable as rates in the U.S. and the U.K. have increased because of the absence of media influence
on criminal justice policymakers. In Canada, crimi-

lent crime.298

nal justice policies are made at the federal level and

One study of British newspapers found that

influence at the local level has far less of an impact

over 60 percent of the articles about crime exam-

on a federal policymaker many miles away.303

put into practice at the provincial level, thus media

ined referred to violent acts, while only 12 percent dealt with theft or other property crimes.299

Economics and spending

Comparatively, in Finland, newspapers are sold al-

The economic environment of the comparison na-

most exclusively by subscription, thereby reducing

tions is perhaps most indicative of the way nations

newsstand competition and the drive for catchy,

invest in incarceration versus other social institu-

dramatic headlines. The presence of one dominant

tions, like education or social welfare. Shifting

Thus,

monetary investments away from incarceration and

the influence that the media has on policymakers

toward other positive social institutions, in the case

and the public to encourage fear and drive punitive

of the U.S., is also a possibility for creating more

responses to crime is more limited.

opportunity for the adoption of cross-national

daily paper further reduces competition.

300

criminal justice policies.

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The United States spends proportionally less on education compared to the
criminal justice system compared to other Western Democracies, other than
the United Kingdom.
2005 Public
Education
Spending
(% of GDP)

2005 Law & Order
Expenditure
(% of GDP)304

Ratio of Public
Education to
Law & Order
Spending

2005 Social Spending
(% of GDP)305

United Kingdom

4.3
4.7
5.9
4.2
5

 -1.5
1.2
1.2
2.6

-3.13
4.92
3.00
1.92

17.1
16.5
26.1
26.7
21.3

United States

4.8

2.2

2.18

15.9

 
Australia
Canada
Finland
Germany

Source: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, “Country Statistical Profiles,” Stat Extracts, 2010, http://stats.oecd.org/viewhtml.aspx?query
name=18148&querytype=view&lang=en.
CIA World Factbook. Country Comparisons: Military Expenditures. www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2034rank.html

Spending priorities

the justice system in the first place, the U.S. directs

Perhaps one of the most telling differences between

a greater portion of its GDP toward policing, in-

comparison nations is amount of money spent on

carceration, and the justice system. In FY2008, for

law and order compared to other social institutions.

example, the U.S. spent $18.65 billion on prisons;
this translates into 88 percent of all law and order

The U.S. spends a comparable amount of its Gross

spending on corrections.307

Domestic Product (GDP) on education in relation
to the other nations in this study. However, when

This level of spending indicates that financial pri-

comparing the ratio of spending on education to

orities for both the U.S. and the United Kingdom

spending on law enforcement, United Kingdom

lie with the criminal justice system as a means of

and the United States spend proportionally less on

addressing social problems over other institutions

education than comparison nations. In addition,

despite evidence that those institutions, particular-

Canada, Germany, and Finland spend over three

ly education, are an effective means of improving

times as much on public education as they do on

public safety and reducing the number of people

corrections, but the U.S. spends just over two times

in prison.308

as much.
The U.S. is also an outlier on spending for social
services for the general public. The average percent of GDP spent on social services is 20.5 percent
in the OECD, and only South Korea, Mexico, and
Turkey, spend a smaller percentage of their GDP
on social services.306 These figures begin to tell the
tale of the American experience of incarceration
over the past few decades. Instead of focusing
funds toward ensuring that people do not enter

Social supports
The comparison nations also vary in terms of the
level of social support given to people who are out
of work. Although this is not the only aspect of a
social support or welfare system in a nation, it is
one that U.S. policy already includes and could be
expanded upon. Scholars indicate that the availability of social welfare is correlated with incarceration rates.309

GDP spent on out-of-work income maintenance per
unemployed person in the population over the age of 15

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Aside from the United Kingdom, the United States spent the least
of its GDP allocated for out-of-work income maintenance
per unemployed person over the age of 15.

$7000

$6,477

$6000

$5,737
$5000
$4000

$4,270

$4,325
$3,808

$3000
$2000
$1,280

$1000
$0

Australia

Canada

Finland

Germany

United Kingdom United States

Sources: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts, 2010. January 7, 2011. http://stats.oecd.org/Index.
aspx?DatasetCode=LMPEXP

Of the Gross Domestic Product spent on out-of-

However, despite an overall similarity in median

work maintenance or support, the U.S. spends

wages for all citizens in each nation, the wages of

less than any other nation except the U.K. per

the people that earn the least is more varied. The

person out of work in 2007.310 As a result, people

median income of the lowest earners is 21 per-

who are unemployed may face greater obstacles

cent lower than the next lowest median income

in meeting basic human needs in the U.S. than in

in Germany.

comparison countries.

Simply examining median wages alone ignores a

In response to recent declining economic condi-

more significant difference between nations: in-

tions, the U.S. did substantially increase its unem-

come disparities. The GINI coefficient measuring

ployment assistance, however, it is likely that it is

income disparities is a more robust and accepted

still not to the same degree as nations like Finland.

way of comparing levels of prosperity because of
differences in standards of living, wages, currency

Individual economic prosperity
All comparison nations have a fairly high and comparable level of median income. Median income
across nations indicates similar levels of prosperity for individuals, with a $3,973 range of wages
between comparison nations, with the U.S. median
income the highest at $26,990 and Finland the lowest at $21,010. The median income in the U.S. is
approximately 6.5 percent higher than Canada, the
nation with the next highest median wage.311

valuation, and other differences in measuring individual wealth across nations. Of the 30 nations
in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD), only Portugal, Turkey,
and Mexico have greater income inequality than
the U.S.312
Although higher wages are generally shown to
coincide with lower crime rates, other cross-national research indicates that income disparities are

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In 2005, the U.S. had both the highest wages and the highest level of income
inequality of the comparison nations.
 2005 STATISTICS

MEDIAN INCOME (USD)

MEDIAN INCOME OF LOWEST
10TH OF EARNERS (USD)

INCOME INEQUALITY
(GINI COEFFICIENT)

Australia

23,017
25,341
21,010
22,020
24,652
26,990

8,200
7,982
9,048
7,410
9,291
5,818

.301
.317
.27
.30
.335
.381

Canada
Finland
Germany
United Kingdom
United States

Source: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts, 2010.
http://stats.oecd.org/viewhtml.aspx?queryname=18148&querytype=view&lang=en

correlated with higher crime rates.313 Tapio Lappi-

in Western countries, it is important to note that

Seppälä of the National Research Institute of Legal

people with less income do not necessarily commit

Policy (Finland) found a strong correlation between

more crime, but due to a number of reasons, includ-

income inequality and incarceration rates among

ing law enforcement practices and access to public

Western countries.

defense resources, this group may be more likely to

314

While income disparities may have a strong correlation with incarceration rates and crime rates

be negatively impacted by justice systems.315

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

PART 6

Certain communities bear
a disproportionate burden
of incarceration in all
comparison nations.
In every nation included in this report there are communities who are disproportionately affected by incarceration. The specifics of such disproportionality
are masked by the averages and national pictures in this report; but nonetheless, the overarching commonality is that all nations struggle with the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on some communities.
Although the communities that experience dispro-

Americans make up .6 percent of the entire

portionate contact with the criminal justice system

world’s population, but African American

vary greatly from nation to nation, the effect is the

males alone make up 8 percent of the world’s

same. These communities often become part of a

prison population.317

cycle of criminal justice system involvement that is
difficult to exit and, as a result, systematically dis-

•	

Aborigines and Torres Islanders) make up 24

mantles families and communities.

percent of the people in prison,318 but 2 percent

In the United States, race and ethnicity are frequently the measures of disproportionality.
However, in other nations, race and ethnicity are

of the general population.319
•	

in the provinces and 18 percent of the people

include, instead, whether or not a person in prison

admitted to federal custody, but 4 percent of

is “foreign born” or indigenous. The information

the general population.320

available about the communities most affected by

8%

of the world’s prison population is
African American.

Canada (2006): Aboriginal people made up
24 percent of the people admitted to custody

not considered or counted in the same way, but

criminal justice system includes:

Australia (2006): Indigenous people (including

•	

Germany (2008): “Foreign born” people make

•	 United States

up 26.3 percent of the people in prison, includ-

(2008): African

ing people held pretrial,321 but 12.9 percent of

Americans make

the general population.322

up 37 percent of the
number of people

•	

Finland (2008): “Foreign born” people make

in prison, but 12

up 9.5 percent of the people in prison, includ-

percent of the gen-

ing people held pretrial,323 but 3.4 percent of

eral population.316

the general population.324

One recent study
found that African

Further consideration of cross-national policy
implementation to reduce disparities in criminal

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justice systems in the comparison nations also
requires a broader consideration of the commonalities between communities that are most affected.
The groups who are disproportionately affected
by criminal justice systems in all comparison nations could also be considered socially alienated
or marginalized groups. Social marginalization is
created through the continued ostracism of members of certain communities—often communities
of color—through various social institutions,325 like

Policy implications
Drawing broad conclusions and making policy
recommendations aimed at reducing social marginalization of communities is complicated by these
vast differences in experiences of these groups. In
other words, policy solutions related to reducing
the number of people in prison who are “foreign
born” in Germany are not likely to work for indigenous people in Australia.

education or employment. One significant manifes-

What is considered diverse in one nation should

tation of social marginalization is poverty.

not be used to define diversity in another and

Social marginalization is a risk factor for incarceration, but incarceration also contributes to or causes
social marginalization by creating a system of social control. Loïc Wacquant, professor of sociology
at the University of California, Berkeley, argues
that incarceration is not simply a means of punishment, but also an instrument of social control and
management of certain groups of people.326 In the
United States, the concentrated impact of the social
control of prison falls on people of color who
are also poor, but in other nations, like Finland,
“foreign born” people who are also poor may be

should not be used as a reason to discount policies from other nations. Nor should the prevalence
of one group in one nation, but not in another,
prevent the consideration of cross-national policy
implementation. However, in order for policies to
work to reduce the disproportionate impact of incarceration of the criminal justice system on some
communities over others, policies may need to be
customized or implemented in specific communities for them to work.

Policy Opportunities

disproportionately affected by criminal justice

In terms of reducing disparities for socially mar-

systems. Cross-nationally, the disproportionate

ginalized communities, the United States may be

incarceration of people who are socially marginal-

the most innovative. Juvenile justice initiatives, like

ized is because criminal justice systems seem to

the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (dis-

operate either intentionally or otherwise to affect

cussed in the textbox “Innovation and promising

some groups more than others.

policies in juvenile justice from the U.S.”) and state

In addition, it is important to remember that
although people of color make up a significant
number of people who are socially marginalized
in each of the comparison nations, not everyone

initiatives like Wisconsin’s Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice
System are promising first steps at examining the
problem and then providing practical solutions.

who is socially marginalized is also a person of

However, much work is left to be done. In particu-

color. Arguably, however, nations that are more

lar, investing in institutions like education and em-

homogenous may have fewer people who are

ployment, especially in underserved communities,

socially marginalized.

may serve to address social marginalization, especially as it is related to income inequality and may
serve to reduce the number of people in prison.327

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

part 7

Conclusions and
Recommendations

United States policymakers can find direction for potential criminal justice
policies to reduce incarceration by looking to other nations.
Other nations may find some of the information in

from the research as showing promise in the

this report useful, but the recommendations included

United States:

here are aimed at U.S. policymakers and advocates.

Change the philosophy of policing: A shift to a

More, better data is needed for better compari-

philosophy of policing that is neighborhood-focused

sons: In an increasingly global society, nations

and centered on overall well-being of the commu-

should be able to compare criminal justice, juvenile

nity and the people who live there would promote

justice, and social data. This is important not only

public safety, limit fear of police, and reduce the

for determining if innovation can be adopted cross-

number of people arrested and imprisoned.

nationally, but also to get a snapshot of the health
and well-being of a nation’s people.

Use day fines instead of incarceration: Germany
and Finland both use a day fine system based on

More, better comparative research is needed for

the seriousness of the offense and apply propor-

better comparisons: Research that controls for

tional punishment on all people, regardless of so-

certain social or economic variables would be very

cio-economic status.328 The fine is generally levied

useful in drawing more concrete conclusions about

based on the amount of money a person earns on a

the impacts of different policies on public safety

given day.

and community well-being as well as on social and
economic costs. Such research should also be accessible and user-friendly for policymakers and the
public and allow the U.S., in particular, to evaluate
its policies and determine if incarceration and punitive measures are truly the best way to maintain
a safe, healthy society.
In addition to more general recommendations for
further research, these specific policies emerged

End commercial bail: In the U.S., states like Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin abolished
commercial bail, instead requiring down-payments
to the court which are refunded when a person
returns for trial. This can be a better way to protect
public safety and reduce the number of people unnecessarily held pretrial.
Provide more treatment for more people outside
the criminal justice system: Treatment for drug

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addiction should be widely available outside the

education. Such a holistic approach could be cost

criminal justice system and affordable for people

effective in terms of keeping people from returning

who need it. In cases in which the offense is related

to prison and improving life outcomes.

to the personal use of drugs, treatment should be
the first response rather than incarceration.

Raise the age of criminal responsibility: Raising
the age of criminal responsibility would have some

Scale back sentence lengths, especially for drug

effect on the number of youth in secure custody in

offenses: No other comparison nation has manda-

the U.S. and reinforce the concept that youth are

tory sentencing for possession of small amounts of

not developmentally the same as adults and should

illegal substances. Such broad sentencing structures

therefore not be treated as such.

are significant contributors to the number of people
in prison in the U.S. and are not the best or most
cost-effective way to protect public safety.

End transfers of youth to adult courts: No other
comparison nation transfers as many youth adult
criminal courts as the United States at such young

Make parole about providing services and not

ages. This has a negative impact on community

supervision: Refocusing parole towards social

and individual well-being, as it decreases the

work rather than policing will help people access

chance a youth will be able to avoid future justice

the services like education and employment coun-

involvement and increases the risk of harm to the

seling that are integral to ensuring that a person is

child while in custody.

successful outside prison so that they do not return.

Invest in positive institutions: The U.S. would do

Include a behavioral or mental health component

well to prioritize spending on strengthening and

to reentry services: Other nations successfully put

expanding institutions like education and employ-

into practice an approach to reentry that includes

ment, especially as they have been shown to not

both mental and behavioral health, as well as so-

only decrease incarceration, but also improve pub-

ciological factors like housing, employment, and

lic safety.

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Glossary of Terms
Age of Criminal Responsibility - when a person is judged
to understand what a behavior or action is illegal or wrong

would account for/have if the number divided equally.
Probation - a court-ordered sanction placing certain condi-

Bail -the release, prior to trial, of a person accused of a

tions on a convicted individual while allowing him or her

crime, under specified conditions designed to assure that

to remain in the community under supervision.

person’s appearance in court when required (can also refer
to the amount of bond money posted as a financial condition of pretrial release).

Remand Imprisonment – Generally a term used outside of
the United States to describe people who are deprived of
their liberty following a judicial or other legal process but

Boot Camps - in-prison programs that resemble military

have not been definitively sentenced by a court for the cur-

basic training and emphasize vigorous physical activity,

rent offense. Typically, they will be involved in one of five

drill and ceremony, manual labor, and other activities that

stages of the legal process: the investigation of the offense

ensure that participants have little, if any, free time. Strict

to determine if a case will be brought to court; awaiting tri-

rules govern all aspects of conduct and appearance. Correc-

al, during the trial; after a conviction, but before sentencing;

tional officers’ act as drill instructors, initially using intense

or awaiting a final sentence during an appeal process.329

verbal tactics designed to break down program participants’ resistance and lead to constructive changes.

Recidivism - the return to criminal activity of persons
previously convicted of crimes. Recidivism rate refers to the

Commercial Bail - the practice of paying a third party to

percentage of those who return to crime, once sentence has

post bail on your behalf.

been served.

Drug Courts - a separate court system that diverts nonvio-

Reentry Programming - involves the use of programs

lent, substance abusing individuals from prison and jail

targeted at promoting the effective reintegration of people

into treatment.

back to communities upon release from prison and jail;

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) - the yearly output or
value of goods and services produced by labor and property within a country.
Gini Coefficient - most commonly used measure of inequality; the coefficient varies between 0 (reflects complete
equality) and 1(indicates complete inequality).

programming often involves a comprehensive case management approach and is intended to assist people in acquiring the life skills needed to succeed in the community
and become law-abiding citizens.
Rehabilitation - programming intended to reform an individual so that he or she can lead a productive life free
from crime. Rehabilitation programs can take many forms

GNI (Gross National Income) - also referred to as Gross

including: psychological analysis, drug and alcohol treat-

National Product (GNP); the total value of goods and ser-

ment, educational programs, vocational training, relation-

vices produced (both domestically and abroad) within one

ship counseling, anger-management therapy, religious

nation’s economy in a year.

study, and any other service required to meet the needs of

Index Crimes/Offenses - murder, rape, robbery, aggravat-

particular incarcerated individuals.

ed assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson.

Restorative Justice - a theory and application of justice that

Mandatory Minimum -a minimum fixed sentence for a

emphasizes the way in which crimes hurt relationships

specific crime required by law, regardless of the level of
culpability of the person convicted and other mitigating

between people who live in a community. Crime is seen as
something done against a harmed party and a community,

factors.

not simply as a violation against the state. Restorative jus-

Parole -the supervised release into the community of an

programs, and requires the individual to take responsibility

individual who has completed part of his or her sentence.
Per Capita - a unit of population or a person; when applied
to a number such as GNI, it shows how much each person

tice involves the community in preventive and intervention
for his or her actions.
USD - United States Dollars.

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APPENDIX:

Additional Reading
George Cole and Christopher Smith, eds. “Day

Vol. 1: Punitiveness – global Phenomenon? Helmuth

Fines in Germany: Could the Concept Work in the

Kury & Evelyn Shea (Eds) (Germany, 2011).

United States?” in The American System of Criminal
Justice, 11th edition (Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007).
Anthony N. Doob and Cheryl Marie Webster,
“Countering Punitiveness: Understanding Stability
in Canada’s Imprisonment Rate,” Law and Society
Review 40(2), 2006.
Glenn Greenwald, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies (Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2009). www.

Tapio Lappi-Seppala, “Nordic Youth Justice in a
Nutshell” 2010.
Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Global Trends and Local Exceptions: Examining Differences in the Use of Imprisonment (Finland: National Research Institute of Legal
Policy, 2009).
Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, “Trust, Welfare, and Political
Culture: Explaining Differences in National Penal
Policies,” Crime and Justice 37 (2008).

cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/greenwald_whitepaper.

John Muncie, The ‘Punitive Turn’ in Juvenile Justice:

pdf

Cultures of Control and Rights Compliance in Western

Stefan Harrendorf, Markku Heiskanen, and Steven
Malby, International Statistics on Crime and Justice

Europe and the USA (London: The National Associate for Youth Justice, 2008).

(Halsinki, Finland: European Institute for Crime

John Pitts and Tarja Kuula, “Incarcerating Young

Prevention and Control, 2010).

People: An Anglo-Finnish Comparison,” Youth Jus-

Matti Joutsen, Raimo Lahti and Pasi Pölönen,

tice 5(3), December 2005, 147-164.

Criminal Justice Systems in Europe and North America,

Robbie Reese, “Determinants of the Fear of Crime,”

Finland (Helsinki, Finland: The European Institute

International Journal of Sociology 39, no. 1 (2009):

for Crime Prevention and Control, 2001). www.

62–75.

heuni.fi/uploads/mw1ahyuvuylrx.pdf

Eric Single, Paul Christie, Robert Ali, “The Impact

Marianne Junger and others, eds., “Preventing Vio-

of Cannabis Decriminalisation in Australia and the

lence in Seven Countries:

United States,” Journal of Public Health Policy 21, No.

Global Convergence in Policies,” European Journal of
Criminal Policy Resolution 13, (2007):327–356.
Marvin D. Krohn, “The Durkheimian Analysis of
International Crime Rate,” Social Forces 57, no. 2
(1978): 654-670.
Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, “Changes in Penal Policy in
Finland,” in Punitivity. International developments.,

2 (2000):157-186.
Rodrigo R. Soares, “Development, crime and punishment: accounting for the international differences in crime rates,” Journal of Development Economics
73, (2004): 155– 184.
Lin Song and Roxanne Lieb, Recidivism: The Effect of
Incarceration

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

and Length of Time Served (Olympia, Wa: Washington
State Institute for Public Policy, 1993).
Steven Stack, “Income Inequality and Property
Crime,” Criminology 22, no. 2 (1984):229-257.
Cornelis Stadtland and others, eds., “Psychopathic
Traits and Risk of Criminal Recidivism in Offenders
with and without Mental Disorders,” International
Journal of Forensic Mental Health 4, no. 1 (2005): 8997.
Michael Tonry, “Why Aren’t German Penal Policies
Harsher and Imprisonment Rates Higher?” German
Law Journal 5(10), 2004.
Loïc Wacquant, “Deadly symbiosis: When ghetto
and prison meet and mesh.” Punishment &Society 3
(1), 2001:94-134.
Roy Walmsley, World Prison Population List (eighth
edition) (London: Kings College London, 2008).
Douglas B. Weiss and Doris L. MacKenzie, “A
Global Perspective on Incarceration: How an International Focus Can Help the United States Reconsider Its Incarceration Rates,” Victims and Offenders,
5(3), 2010.
Jan van Dijk, John van Kesteren and Paul Smit,
Criminal Victimisation in International Perspective
(Boom Juridische Uitgevers, 2007).

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International Policies
in the United States
april 2011

Some jurisdictions in the U.S. have already implemented policies that
are similar to ones in other nations.
Policy or
Approach

Country that does it

U.S. Jurisdiction

Community-Based
Policing

Finland: Finnish police have a lot of
contact with people in the community
without higher incarceration rates.

San Diego, California: Police in San Diego adopted a neighborhood policing strategy to reduce
“quality of life” offenses, like graffiti and loitering.
San Diego’s crime and arrest rates dropped.

No Commercial
Bail

All comparison nations: No other
comparison nations permit commercial, for-profit bail in which a 3rd party,
usually a bailbondsman, posts bail
on behalf of a person in jail.

Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin abolished commercial bail and require down-payments to the court, which are refunded only upon
the person’s appearance in court.

Limited Use Of
Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Canada and Australia both only use
mandatory minimums for violent offenses, usually murder.1 In Australia,
the Western Territory is the only territory to use mandatory minimums for
nonviolent offenses.2

Treatment, Not
Incarceration

Switzerland: The Four Pillars approach to drug use focuses on prevention, treatment, harm reduction,
and enforcement in that order of
priority.5
Vancouver, Canada: The Four Pillars
policy in Vancouver follows a similar
model to Switzerland and includes
other life skills, like job preparation.6

Michigan: In 2002, Michigan ended the practice
of using mandatory minimums for drug offenses.3
U.S. federal government: In 2010, the United
States scaled back mandatory minimum sentencing related to crack cocaine, reducing the disparity in sentencing for cocaine versus crack from
100 to one to 18 to one.4
California: The Substance Abuse and Crime
Prevention Act of 2000 (SACPA), or Proposition
36, went into effect in California in 2001 in order
to reduce the use of incarceration for people
charged with nonviolent offenses, reduce drugrelated crime and increase public health. It requires the use of drug treatment as an alternative
to incarceration for for adults convicted of nonviolent offenses and for drug possession for personal use. From its passage in November 2000
to December 2005, the rate of people incarcerated for drug possession in California dropped by
34.3 percent, from 89 to 58 people per 100,000.
Implementation of SACPA may not be the sole
cause of this rapid decrease; there were, however, no other major public policy changes during
this time.7

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Policy or
Approach

Country that does it

U.S. Jurisdiction

Day Fines

Germany and Finland: In lieu of
short-term incarceration an individual
is fined based on the calculation of
offense and the cost of an individual’s
day of freedom (the amount of income an individual would have forfeited if incarcerated for a day).8 The
fine is meted out in day increments,
for example a 20-day fine or a 60-day
fine. Defaulting is rare, but responses
to default can include jail.

Maricopa County, Arizona; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Staten Island, New York; various counties in
Oregon; and Polk County, Iowa9 all tried a version of day fines during the 1990s with various
levels of success.10

Australia: If the federal sentence is
less than 10 years, the person is
automatically released after the nonparole period without the discretion of
government officials. If the sentence is
over 10 years, the Minister makes the
release decisions.11 At the state or territory level, there are similar practices
related to non-parole periods.12

Increase
Conditional
Release

Parole Services
Over Supervision

Finland: People who have not been
in prison at some point in the prior
three years of the current offense, can
be released after serving half of the
sentence. If the offense was committed when under 21 years of age, the
corresponding time is one-third. Otherwise, people sentenced to prison can
be released on parole when they have
served two-thirds of their sentence or
half of the sentence if the offense was
committed when the person was under 21 years of age.13 On certain conditions, people serving life sentences
can be released after serving 5/6 but
at least three years of the sentence.
Finland: Supervision is required
in only one out of five cases, but
services are available to all people
released from prison.
Canada: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment approach is used to address
a person’s individual responses to
their environment, as well as the
environment itself.16

Mississippi: In 2008, the state legislature passed
a law allowing people serving sentences for nonviolent offenses and people who have not committed multiple offenses to become eligible for
parole after serving 25 percent of their sentence,
14
which scales back a 1995 law that required
people in prison to serve 85 percent of their
sentence. 15

Kansas, New Jersey and Georgia have implemented initiatives designed to create a servicecentered, graduated response approach to
parole with less concentration on surveillance. All
have reduced parole revocations.17

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Policy or
Approach

Country that does it

U.S. Jurisdiction

Finland: Finland focuses heavily on
welfare, using “Care Orders” that
connect youth to social services and
supports. In 2007 only three people
under the age of 18 were in custody.

Youth Development Approach to
Juvenile Justice

Germany: Instead of detention, the
German system focuses heavily on
“educative and disciplinary measures” that provide for social and
economic supports and reparation
for the offense.18 Sentences of educative measures are often available
to people up to the age of 21 for a
first offense.

1	
Department of Justice Canada, “Fair and Effective
Sentencing – A Canadian Approach to Sentencing Policy,”
October 2005. www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2005/
doc_31690.html
2	
Kate Warner, Mandatory Sentencing and the Role of the
Academic (Brisbane, International Society for the Reform of
Criminal Law: 2006). www.isrcl.org/Papers/2006/Warner.pdf
3	
Associated Press, “Michigan to Drop Minimum Sentence Rules for Drug Crimes,” New York Times, December 26,
2002.
4	
Drug Policy Alliance, “Press Release: Historic Legislation to Reduce Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity
Heads to President Obama’s Desk,” July 28, 2010. www.
drugpolicy.org/news/pressroom/pressrelease/pr072810.cfm
5	
The Swiss Four Pillars Policy: An Evolution From Local Experimentation to Federal Law, www.great-aria.ch/pdf/
Infos/Beckley_Briefing_2009.pdf
6	
The City of Vancouver, Four Pillars Drug Policy, “Four
Pillars Drug Strategy Fact Sheet,” December 3, 2010. http://
vancouver.ca/fourpillars/fs_fourpillars.htm.
7	
California Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs,
Office of Criminal Justice Collaboration. Fact Sheet: Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000.; California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Data Analysis
Unit. Characteristics of Population in California State Prisons
by Institution, June 30, 1999, December 31, 1999, and June 30,
2000 reports; Prison Census Data, December 31, 2000- December 31, 2005 reports.
8	

Kristen Allen, “Most Criminals Avoiding Jail in

Missouri: Missouri invests in community-based
alternatives to incarceration for youth and uses
its long-term secure confinement facilities to
provide counseling and education in a more
home-like setting.19 In 2006, Missouri’s recidivism
rate was 8.7 percent, lower than other states.20
The state also realized significant cost savings,
spending approximately $94 for each youth aged
10-17, compared to the surrounding eight states
that spent, on average, $140 per young person.21
District of Columbia: In 2009, the District of Columbia opened the New Beginnings Youth Development Center to serve youth committed to the
care of the Department of Youth Rehabilitative
Services. The facility and the continuum of care
built around it are similar to the Missouri Model.

Germany,” The Local, October 13, 2009. www.thelocal.de/
national/20091013-22543.html., George F. Cole and Christopher E. Smith, “Day Fines in Germany: Could the Concept
Work in the United States?” in American System of Criminal
Justice Eleventh Edition (Canada: Thomas Wadsworth, 2007),
467., Bureau of Justice Assistance, How to Use Structured Fines
(Day Fines) as an Intermediate Sanction (Washington, DC: Vera
Institute of Justice, 1996). www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/156242.pdf,
George Cole and Christopher Smith, eds. “Day Fines in Germany: Could the Concept Work in the United States?” in The
American System of Criminal Justice, 11th edition (Belmont, CA:
Thomson Wadsworth, 2007).
9	
George Cole and Christopher Smith, eds. “Day Fines in
Germany: Could the Concept Work in the United States?” in
The American System of Criminal Justice, 11th edition (Belmont,
CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007).
10	 Susan Turner and Joan Petersillia, Day Fines in Four
U.S. Jurisdictions (Washington, DC: Rand Corporation and
National Institute of Justice, 1996). http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/pr/163409.pdf
11	 Australian Law Reform Commission, “Same Crime,
Same Time: Sentencing of Federal Offenders,” Report
103, April 2006. www.alrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/pdfs/
publications/ALRC103.pdf, Australian Government
Attorney-General’s Department, “Release Conditions,”
September 2009. www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/
Federaloffenders_Releaseconditions
12	 Australian Law Reform Commission, “Same Crime,
Same Time: Sentencing of Federal Offenders,” Report
103, April 2006. www.alrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/pdfs/

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

publications/ALRC103.pdf
13	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Prison Services,” January
16, 2011. www.rikosseuraamus.fi/16939.htm
14	 PEW Center on the States, Public Safety Performance
Project: Reforming Mississippi’s Prison System (Washington,
DC: PEW Center on the States, 2009). http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewcenteronthestatesorg/Initiatives/PSPP/MDOCPaper.pdf?n=8407
15	 John Buntin, “Mississippi’s Correction Reform: How
America’s reddest state – and most notorious prison – became a model of corrections reform,” Governing, August
2010. http://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/
courts-corrections/mississippi-correction-reform.html
16	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry? Reviewing and Questioning the Evidence,” Federal Probation
68, no. 2 (2004): 4-8.
17	 National Institute of Justice, “Parole Violations Revisited: Innovations in Four States,” January 14, 2011. www.
paroleviolationsrevisited.org/4states

18	 Jörg-Martin Jehle, Criminal Justice in Germany, Fifth Edition (Berlin: Federal Ministry of Justice, 2009).
19	 Missouri Juvenile Justice Association. 2003. Celebrating 100 Year of Juvenile Justice in Missouri: 1903-2003. Online
at http://mjja.org/images/100Years.pdf., Mendel, Richard A.
2001. Less cost, more safety: Guiding lights for reform in juvenile
justice. Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum.
Online at www.aecf.org/upload/PublicationFiles/less%20
cost%20more%20safety.pdf.
20	 Missouri Department of Social Service. 2006. Division
of Youth Services Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2006. Online at
www.dss.mo.gov/re/pdf/dys/dysfy06.pdf.
21	 Richard A. Mendel, Less cost, more safety: Guiding lights
for reform in juvenile justice. (Washington, DC: American
Youth Policy Forum, 2001). www.aecf.org/upload/PublicationFiles/less%20cost%20more%20safety.pdf.

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Endnotes

1	
Don Stemen, Reconsidering Incarceration: New Directions
for Reducing Crime (New York, NY: Vera Institute of Justice,
2007).
2	
Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Key Facts at a Glance: Correctional Populations,” January 5, 2011. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.
gov/content/glance/tables/corr2tab.cfm
3	
Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Global Trends and Local Exceptions:
Explaining Differences in the Use of Imprisonment (Finland,
National Research Institute of Legal Policy, 2009).
4	
Doris MacKenzie, professor of crime law and justice, at
Pennsylvania State University, who provided the first inspiration for this project used these five countries as a starting
point.
5	
Douglas B. Weiss and Doris L. MacKenzie, “A Global
Perspective on Incarceration: How an International Focus Can
Help the United States Reconsider Its Incarceration Rates,”
Victims and Offenders, 5(3), 2010.
6	
Monty G. Marshall and Benjamin R. Cole, Global Report
2009: Conflict, Governance, and State Fragility (Severn, MD:
Center for Systemic Peace, 2009.) www.systemicpeace.org/
Global%20Report%202009.pdf
7	
Monty G. Marshall and Benjamin R. Cole, Global Report
2009, 2009.
8	
Human Rights Web, “Summary of United Nations
Agreements on Human Rights,” January 21, 2011. www.
hrweb.org/legal/undocs.html
9	
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts,
2010.
10	 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, “Education at a Glance 2010,” December 15,
2010. www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-aglance_19991487
11	 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts,
2010. http://stats.oecd.org/viewhtml.aspx?queryname=18148&
querytype=view&lang=en
12	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, “Trust, Welfare, and Political Culture: Explaining Differences in National Penal Policies,” Crime
and Justice 37 (2008)
13	 Heather C. West and William J. Sabol, Prisoners in 2009
(Washington, D.C., Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010).http://
bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/p09.pdf, Todd D. Minton,
Jail Inmates at Midyear 2009 – Statistical Tables (Washington,
D.C., Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010). http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.
gov/content/pub/pdf/jim09st.pdf
14	 U.S. Census Bureau, “United States – States: GCTT1-R. Population Estimates (geographies ranked by
estimate), 2009 Population Estimates,” January 5, 2011.
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&geo_id=01000US&-_box_head_nbr=GCT-T1-R&-

ds_name=PEP_2009_EST&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&mt_name=PEP_2009_EST_GCTT1_US40&-format=US40S&-_sse=on
15	 U.S. Census Bureau, “International Data Base, Countries
and Areas Ranked by Population: 2010,” September 8, 2010.
www.census.gov/cgi-bin/broker
16	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Highest to Lowest Rates,” January 5, 2011 www.
kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/wpb_stats.
php?area=all&category=wb_poptotal
17	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
18	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
19	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
20	 John van Kesteren, Pat Mayhew, and Paul Nieuwbeerta,
Criminal Victimisation in Seventeen Industrialised Countries: Key
Findings from the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey (The
Hague: Ministry of Justice, 2000). http://rechten.uvt.nl/icvs/
pdffiles/Industr2000a.pdf
21	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Global Trends and Local Exceptions,
2009.
22	 Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Report
1988-2008 (Table 4), www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm.
23	 William Sabol and Heather West, “Correctional Populations in the United States, 1997 and Prisoners in 2008,” Filename: incrt.csv (Imprisonment rate), http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/
index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=13, September 23, 2010
24	 Don Stemen, Reconsidering Incarceration, 2007; William.
Spelman, “What Recent Studies Do (and Don’t) Tell Us about
Imprisonment and Crime” Crime and Justice 27: 419, 2000.
25	 Timothy Roche, Nastassia Walsh and Jason Ziedenberg,
Maryland’s Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing Laws: Their
Impact on Incarceration, State Resources and Communities of Color
(Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, 2007).
26	 Morgan O. Reynolds, “Does Punishment Deter?,” Policy
Backgrounder, 148 (Dallas, TX: National Center for Policy
Analysis, 1998). www.ncpa.org/pdfs/bg148.pdf
27	 James Austin and others, The Use of Incarceration in the
United States: National Policy White Paper (Washington, DC:
American Society of Criminology, 2001).
28	 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “The Tenth
United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of
Criminal Justice Systems (Tenth CTS, 2005-2006)” June 2010.
www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/Tenth-CTS-full.
html.
29	 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “The Tenth
United Nations Survey,” 2010.
30	

S. Harrendorf and others, International Statistics on

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Crime and Justice (Helsinki, Finland: United Nations, 2010).
www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Crime-statistics/International_Statistics_on_Crime_and_Justice.pdf
31	 Arthur A. Jones and Robin Wiseman, Community Policing in Europe: Structure and Best Practices-- Sweden, France,
Germany (Bulgaria: Open Society Institute, Bulgaria, 2006).
www.lacp.org/Articles%20-%20Expert%20-%20Our%20
Opinion/060908-CommunityPolicingInEurope-AJ.htm
32	 Rod Morgan, “England/Wales,” in Dūnkel and Wagg,
Waiting for Trial, 198.
33	 Judith A. Greene,“Zero tolerance: A case study of police
policies and practices in New York City” Crime and Delinquency 45 (2), 1999: 171-187.
34	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
35	 Anne Rankin, “The Effect of Pretrial Detention,” New
York University Law Review 39 (1964), 641–655; Michael R. Gottfredson and Don M. Gottfredson, Decision Making in Criminal
Justice: Toward a Rational Exercise of Discretion (New York: Plenum Press, 1988); Williams, “The Effect of Pretrial Detention
on Imprisonment Decisions,” 299–316; C. E. Frazier and J.K.
Cochran, “Detention of Juveniles: Its Effects on Subsequent
Juvenile Court Processing and Decisions,” Youth and Society
17, no. 3 (1986): 286-305
36	

Rod Morgan, “England/Wales,” 198.

37	 Rick Sarre, Sue King and David Bamford, “Remand in
Custody: Critical Factors and Key Issues,” Trends and Issues
in Crime and Criminal Justice, no.310 (2006): 1-3. www.aic.
gov.au/documents/8/D/E/%7B8DE2E6F6-9D25-45E8-AED039FA7CC9EA79%7Dtandi310.pdf., Office of Public Sector
Information, “Bail Act 1976,” Revised Statutes, www.opsi.
gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1976/cukpga_19760063_
en_1#pb2-l1g3., Crime and Society: A Comparative Criminology Tour of the World, “Criminal Codes,” Canada,
www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/namerica/canada.
html..
38	 Crime and Society: A Comparative Criminology Tour of
the World, “Criminal Codes,” Finland, www-rohan.sdsu.edu/
faculty/rwinslow/europe/finland.html.
39	 Crime and Society: A Comparative Criminology Tour of
the World, “Detention,” United Kingdom, www-rohan.sdsu.
edu/faculty/rwinslow/europe/great _britain.html., Crime and
Society: A Comparative Criminology Tour of the World, “Detention,” Germany, www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/
europe/germany.html, Crime and Society: A Comparative
Criminology Tour of the World, “Criminal Codes,” Canada,
www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/namerica/canada.
html..
40	 Crime and Society: A Comparative Criminology Tour of
the World, “Criminal Codes,” Finland, www-rohan.sdsu.edu/
faculty/rwinslow/europe/finland.html.
41	 Adam Liptak, “Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains
in U.S.” New York Times, January 29, 2008. www.nytimes.
com/2008/01/29/us/29bail.html?pagewanted=all

42	 Rick Sarre, Sue King and David Bamford, “Remand in
Custody: Critical Factors and Key Issues,” Trends and Issues
in Crime and Criminal Justice, no.310 (2006): 1-3. www.aic.
gov.au/documents/8/D/E/%7B8DE2E6F6-9D25-45E8-AED039FA7CC9EA79%7Dtandi310.pdf., Office of Public Sector
Information, “Bail Act 1976,” Revised Statutes, www.opsi.
gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1976/cukpga_19760063_
en_1#pb2-l1g3., Crime and Society: A Comparative Criminology
Tour of the World, “Criminal Codes,” Canada, www-rohan.
sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/namerica/canada.html
43	 Amanda Petteruti and Nastassia Walsh, Jailing Communities: The Impact of Jail Expansion and Public
Safety Strategies (Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, 2008). www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/0804_REP_JailingCommunities_AC.pdf
44	 Adam Liptak, “Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains
in U.S.” New York Times, January 29, 2008. www.nytimes.
com/2008/01/29/us/29bail.html?pagewanted=all
45	 Data for Canada is from 2008 and data for the United
Kingdom is from 2010.
46	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
47	 Carlos Carcach and Anna Grant, Imprisonment in
Australia: The Remand Population (Canberra, Australia:
Australian Institute of Criminology, 2000). www.aic.gov.au/
documents/1/D/8/%7B1D8FA7F8-EC35-4353-9A65-355715E2A622%7Dti172.pdf
48	 Carlos Carcach and Anna Grant, Imprisonment in Australia: The Remand Population, 2000.
49	 Legal Services Commission of South Australia, “Prison
Institutions,” Accessed November 10, 2010. www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ch34s02s01.php, Department of Justice, Victoria, “Remand Prisoners,” October 19, 2010. www.justice.
vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/justlib/DOJ+Internet/Home/
Prisons/Prisoners/Remandees/
50	 Legal Aid, Western Australia, “Bail: What is Bail?”
March 31, 2010. www.legalaid.wa.gov.au/infoaboutlaw/aspx/
default.aspx?Page=Going/Bail.xml
51	 Legal Aid, Western Australia, “Bail: What is Bail?,”
2010., Legal Services Commission of South Australia, “Conditions of Bail,” July 8, 2009. www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/
ch02s03s03.php
52	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
53	 Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, “Tackling
Crime through Bail Reform,” November 23, 2006. http://
pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=1413
54	 Statistics Canada, “Adult and Youth Correctional Services: Key Indicators,” September 30, 2010. www.statcan.gc.ca/
daily-quotidien/091208/dq091208a-eng.htm, Sara Johnson,
Custodial Remand in Canada, 1986/87 to 2000/01, (Ottawa,
Canada: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2003). www.

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statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/85-002-x2003007-eng.pdf, Government of Alberta, “Edmonton Remand Centre,” Accessed
November 15, 2010.
55	 Ron Jourard, Criminal Lawyer, “Bail and Release from
Custody,” Accessed November 15, 2010. www.defencelaw.
com/printversion-bail-4.html#forfeiture
56	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
57	 Matti Joutsen, Raimo Lahti and Pasi Pölönen, Criminal
Justice Systems in Europe and North America, Finland (Helsinki, Finland: The European Institute for Crime Prevention
and Control, 2001). www.heuni.fi/uploads/mw1ahyuvuylrx.
pdf
58	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Turku prison and Turku
remand prison went into history: The prison of South western
Finland started operations,” June 1, 2003. www.rikosseuraamus.fi/22438.htm, Criminal Sanctions Agency, “The New
Vantaa Prison Replaces Helsinki Remand Prison,” April 23,
2002. www.rikosseuraamus.fi/14021.htm
59	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention in the European Union: Finland, (Tiburg,
Netherlands: Tilburg University, 2009).
60	 Matti Joutsen, Raimo Lahti and Pasi Pölönen, Criminal
Justice Systems in Europe and North America, Finland (Helsinki, Finland: The European Institute for Crime Prevention
and Control, 2001). www.heuni.fi/uploads/mw1ahyuvuylrx.
pdf, U.S. Department of State, “2009 Human Rights Report:
Finland,” March 11, 2010. www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/
eur/136030.htm
61	 Matti Joutsen, Raimo Lahti and Pasi Pölönen, Criminal
Justice Systems in Europe, 2010, A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M.
Knapen, C. Morgenstern, Pretrial Detention in the European
Union: Finland, (Tiburg, Netherlands: Tilburg University,
2009). http://ec.europa.eu/justice/doc_centre/criminal/
procedural/doc/chapter_9_finland_en.pdf
62	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
63	 Jörg-Martin Jehle, Criminal Justice in Germany, (Berlin,
Germany: Federal Ministry of Justice, 2009). www.bmj.bund.
de/media/archive/960.pdf
64	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention in the European Union: Germany, (Tilburg,
Netherlands: Tilburg University, 2009). http://ec.europa.eu/
justice/doc_centre/criminal/procedural/doc/chapter_11_germany_en.pdf, United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization, “Library System of Prisons in Hamburg, Germany,” Accessed November 15, 2010. www.unesco.
org/uil/literacyinprison/Page-Library-system-of-prisons-inHamburg-Germany-39.html
65	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention: Germany, 2009; U.S. Department of State,
“2009 Human Rights Report: Germany,” March 11, 2010.
www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eur/136033.htm

66	

Only includes data from England and Wales.

67	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
68	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention in the European Union: United Kingdom,
(Tiburg, Netherlands: Tilburg University, 2009).
69	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention: United Kingdom, 2009.
70	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention: United Kingdom, 2009.
71	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention: United Kingdom, 2009.
72	 A.M. van Kalmthout, M.M. Knapen, C. Morgenstern,
Pretrial Detention: United Kingdom, 2009.
73	 International Centre for Prison Studies, “World Prison
Brief: Country Profiles,” January 5, 2011 www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/
74	 Douglas J. Klein, “The Pretrial Detention ‘Crisis’: The
Causes and the Cure,” Washington University Journal of
Urban and Contemporary Law 52, (1997): 281-305. http://law.
wustl.edu/journal/52/306.pdf
75	 American Bar Association, “Criminal Justice Section
Standards: Pretrial Release,” Accessed November 16, 2010.
www.abanet.org/crimjust/standards/pretrialrelease_blk.
html#10-5.8
76	 U.S. Marshals Service, “Defendants in Custody and
Prisoner Management,” Accessed November 16, 2010. www.
usmarshals.gov/prisoner/index.html, Paul Gewirtz and Jeffrey
Prescott, “U.S. Pretrial Detention: A Work in Progress,” Caixin Online, March 24, 2010. http://english.caing.com/englishNews.jsp?id=100129236&time=2010-03-24&cl=111&page=all,
Federal Defender Program, Inc., Northern District of Georgia,
“Pretrial Detention,” Accessed November 16, 2010. http://
gan.fd.org/index_files/Page406.htm, Larry J. Siegel, Essentials
of Criminal Justice, Sixth Edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Cengage Learning, 2009).
77	 Paul Gewirtz and Jeffrey Prescott, “U.S. Pretrial Detention: A Work in Progress,” Caixin Online,
March 24, 2010. http://english.caing.com/englishNews.
jsp?id=100129236&time=2010-03-24&cl=111&page=all
78	 National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies,
“Facts and Positions: the Truth About Commercial Bail Bonding in America,” August 2009. www.napsa.org/publications/
napsafandp1.pdf
79	 Alfred Blumstein and Allen J. Beck, “Population Growth
in U.S. Prisons, 1980-1996,” Crime and Justice, 26, 1999, 17-61.
80	 Kauko Aromaa and Markku Heiskanen, eds. Crime and
Criminal Justice Systems in Europe and North America 19952004 (Helsinki: The European Institute for Crime Prevention
and Control, 2008). www.heuni.fi/Etusivu/Publications/
HEUNIreports/1215524277763; Jan van Dijk, John van Kesteren, and Paul Smit, Criminal Victimisation in International
Perspective: Key findings from the 2004-2005 ICVS and EU ICS

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

(The Hague: WODC, Tilburg University, UNICRI, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2007) www.unicri.it/wwd/
analysis/icvs/pdf_files/ICVS2004_05report.pdf
81	 George Cole and Christopher Smith, eds. “Day Fines in
Germany: Could the Concept Work in the United States?” in
The American System of Criminal Justice, 11th edition (Belmont,
CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007).
82	 U.S. Department of Justice, “How to Use Structured
Fines (Day Fines) as an Intermediate Sanction” (Washington,
DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1996). www.ncjrs.gov/
pdffiles/156242.pdf.
83	 U.S. Department of Justice, How to Use Structured Fines,”
1996.
84	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, “Changes in Penal Policy in Finland,” in Punitivity. International developments., Vol. 1: Punitiveness – global Phenomenon? Helmuth Kury & Evelyn Shea (Eds)
(Germany, 2011).
85	 According to the Public Safety Performance Project (One
in 100: Behind Bars in American 2008), one year of incarceration
costs on average $23,876.
86	 Lin Song and Roxanne Lieb, Recidivism: The Effect of
Incarceration and Length of Time Served (Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 1993). www.wsipp.
wa.gov/rptfiles/IncarcRecid.pdf
87	 Tom Bonczar State Prison Admissions, 2006: Sentence
Length by offense and admission type (Washington, DC, Bureau
of Justice Statistics: 2010) http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.
cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2174.
88	 These figures do not include sentences of life without
parole, life plus additional years nor death.
89	

Jörg-Martin Jehle, 2009.

90	 Tom Bonczar State Prison Admissions, 2006, 2010);
Marcelo F. Aebi and others, European Sourcebook of Crime and
Criminal Justice Statistics, Fourth Edition (Zurich, Switzerland,
Ministry of Justice, 2010). www.europeansourcebook.org/
ob285_full.pdf ; Prisoners in Australia, 2006 (Canberra, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006) www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/
abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4517.02006?OpenDocument.
Robbery: Defined as “Robbery, extortion and related offences” in Australia. Assault: Defined as “Violence against
the person” in England and Wales. Fraud: Defined as “Fraud:
Defined as “Deception and related offences” in Australia and
“fraud and forgery” in England and Wales.
91	 John van Kesteren, Pat Mayhew, and Paul Nieuwbeerta,
Criminal Victimisation in Seventeen Industrialised Countries: Key
Findings from the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey. (The
Hague: Ministry of Justice, 2000). http://rechten.uvt.nl/icvs/
pdffiles/Industr2000a.pdf. The offenses included here are car
theft, theft from car, car vandalism, bicycle theft, motorcycle
theft, burglary, attempted burglary, robbery, sexual incidents, personal thefts, and assault and threats. Germany not
included.
92	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Global Trends and Local Exceptions,
2009.

93	 U.S. Department of Justice, “How to Use Structured
Fines, 1996).
94	 These figures do not include sentences of life without
parole, life plus additional years, nor death.
95	 George Zdenkowski, “Sentencing in Australia,” Legaldate, May 2009, Vol. 21 Issue 2, p5-7.
96	 Kate Warner, Mandatory Sentencing and the Role of the
Academic (Brisbane, International Society for the Reform of
Criminal Law: 2006). www.isrcl.org/Papers/2006/Warner.pdf
97	 Kate Warner, Mandatory Sentencing and the Role of the
Academic, 2006.
98	 Australian Institute of Criminology, “Sentencing Juveniles,” August 2009. www.aic.gov.au/crime_community/
demographicgroup/youngpeople/sentencing.aspx#nsw
99	 Law council of Australia, The Mandatory Sentencing Debate (Canberra: Law Council of Australia,
2001). www.lawcouncil.asn.au/shadomx/apps/fms/
fmsdownload.cfm?file_uuid=91B75434-1E4F-17FA-D2BAB6D5A60592A7&siteName=lca
100	 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia,
2006 (Canberra, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006) www.
abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4517.02006?Ope
nDocument.
101	 Judicial Conference of Australia, Judge for yourself:
A Guide to Sentencing in Australia (Adelaide: The Judicial
Conference of Australia, 2007). www.sentencingcouncil.vic.
gov.au/sites/sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/files/judge_for_
yourself_a_guide_to_sentencing_in_australia.pdf
102	 Department of Justice Canada, “Fair and Effective
Sentencing – A Canadian Approach to Sentencing Policy,”
October 2005. www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2005/
doc_31690.html
103	 John Howard Society of Alberta, Sentencing in Canada
(Edmonton, Alberta: John Howard Society of Alberta: 1999)
www.johnhoward.ab.ca/pub/pdf/C33.pdf
104	 Donna Calverly, Youth Custody and Community Services in Canada, 2004/2005 (Ottawa, Canada: Juristat, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2007).
105	 Includes 10 provinces and territories.
Life sentences recoded to 25 years for mean calculation.
Michael Marth, “Adult Criminal Court Statistics, 2006/2007,”
Juristat 28, no. 5 (2010). www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/85002-x2008005-eng.pdf
106	 John Howard Society, Sentencing in Canada (Edmonton,
Canada: John Howard Society of Alberta, 1999). www.johnhoward.ab.ca/pub/pdf/C33.pdf
In the case of custodial sentences of ninety days or less, the
court can order that a sentence be served intermittently (nonconsecutively). For example, a court may direct a person to
serve prison time on weekends or certain days, while being
under a probation order when not in custody.
107	 Ministry of Justice, Finland, “Justice System of Finland,”

71

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January 16, 2011. Finland Courts, “Imprisonment and Community Service,” January 16, 2011. www.oikeus.fi/16073.htm
108	 Matti Joutsen, Raimo Lahti and Pasi Pölönen, Criminal
Justice Systems in Europe and North America: Finland (Helsinki, Finland: The European Institute for Crime Prevention
and Control, 2001).
109	 Section 1 of the Conditional Sentences Act, as amended
by Act 1989/992. Soon after the adoption of this amendment,
the Supreme Court decided a case involving its application.
In the case, the court had sentenced the defendant for attempted manslaughter to two years of imprisonment. He
had been under 18 at the time of the offence. In view of the
circumstances of the offence and the offender, the Supreme
Court took the view that, despite the seriousness of the offence and the length of the sentence imposed, there were no
“weighty reasons” for ordering the sentence imposed unconditionally (Supreme Court decision no. 1991:185, 20 December
1991).
Matti Joutsen, Raimo Lahti and Pasi Pölönen, Criminal Justice
Systems: Finland, 2001.
110	 Matti Joutsen, Raimo Lahti and Pasi Pölönen, Criminal
Justice Systems: Finland, 2001.
111	 Personal Communication with Tuomo Niskanen
A. Kuhn, “Incarceration Rates: The United States in an International Perspective,” Criminal Justice Abstracts 30, no. 2
(1998): 321-353. www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.
aspx?ID=173492
112	 Judicial System, “Penalties,” January 2010. www.oikeus.
fi/16068.htm
It is possible for a defendant to be found guilty but nevertheless receive no penalty if the court is convinced that the person will change their behavior without a penalty
113	 Serious offenses in the German Criminal Code includes
all drug offenses in which more than minor amounts of drugs
are involved., Cornelius Nestler, “Sentencing in Germany,”
Buffalo Criminal Law Review 7, no. 1 (2003): 109-38. http://
wings.buffalo.edu/law/bclc/bclrarticles/7/1/nestler.pdf
114	 Frieder Dünkel, Juvenile Justice in Germany (Greifswald,
Germany: University of Greifswald, 2005). www.rsf.unigreifswald.de/fileadmin/mediapool/lehrstuehle/duenkel/
JuvenileJustice.pdf
115	 Exact mean not available.
Jörg-Martin Jehle, Criminal Justice in Germany, 2009).
116	 George Cole and Christopher Smith, eds. “Day Fines in
Germany: Could the Concept Work in the United States?” in
The American System of Criminal Justice, 11th edition (Belmont,
CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007).
117	 Diversion could include requirements for community
service, reparations, training courses, apology to harmed parties, mediation, or fines depending on the seriousness of the
crime.
Frieder Dünkel, Juvenile Justice in Germany, 2005).
118	 The information presented applies only to England and

Wales.
119	 The Sentencing Council for England and Wales, “About
Sentencing.” www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/about-sentencing.htm
120	 The Sentencing Council for England and Wales, “About
Sentencing.” www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/about-sentencing.htm
121	 The Sentencing Council for England and Wales, “About
Sentencing.” www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/about-sentencing.htm
122	 Sentencing Statistics: England and Wales 2008 Statistics
Bulletin (London: Ministry of Justice, 2008). www.justice.gov.
uk/publications/docs/sentencing-stats-2008.pdf
123	 The Sentencing Council for England and Wales, “About
Sentencing.” www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/about-sentencing.htm
124	 James Austin and others, The Use of Incarceration in the
United States: National Policy White Paper, 2001.
125	 Christopher Mascharka, “Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Exemplifying the Law of Unintended Consequences,”
Florida State University Law Review 28, no. 4 (2001): 93575. www.law.fsu.edu/journals/lawreview/downloads/284/
Masharka2.pdf
126	 Lia Monahon, Until They Die a Natural Death: Youth
Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Massachusetts (Lynn, MA:
Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts, 2009). www.clcm.
org/UntilTheyDieaNaturalDeath9_09.pdf
127	 Lia Monahon, Until They Die a Natural Death, 2009).
128	 Tom Bonczar State Prison Admissions, 2006, 2010.
129	 National Governor’s Association, Sentencing Options:
Baseline Information for Policymakers (Washington, DC: National Governor’s Association, 2003). www.nga.org/cda/
files/0309sentencing.PDF
130	 Allan Beck and Darrell Gilliard, Prisoners in 1994 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1995). http://bjs.ojp.
usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/Pi94.pdf. and William Sabol,
Heather West, and Matthew Cooper, Prisoners in 2008 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009). http://bjs.ojp.
usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/p08.pdf
131	 Allan Beck and Darrell Gilliard, Prisoners in 1994, 1995).;
William Sabol, and others, Prisoners in 2008, 2009.
132	 United States: William Sabol, Heather West, and Matthew Cooper, Prisoners in 2008, 2009. Includes both people
in both federal or state prisons, Finland, Germany, UK:
Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE I – 2008
(Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe, 2010). www.coe.int/t/
dghl/standardsetting/prisons/SPACEI/PC-CP(2010)07_E%20
SPACE%20Report%20I.pdf Canada: Laura Landry and Maire
Sinha, “Adult Correctional Services in Canada, 2005/2006,”
Juristat 28, no. 6 (June 2008). www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002x/85-002-x2008006-eng.pdf, Sentenced only, does not include
remand. Australia: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners
in 2008, Australia (Canberra, Australia, Australian Bureau
of Statistics, 2008). www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/

F I N D I N G D IR EC TION

Previousproducts/4517.0Main%20Features22008?opendocum
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133	 Joseph A. Califano, Shoveling up II: The impact of substance abuse on federal, state and local

146	 Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE I –
2002 (Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe, 2003)
147	 Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE I –
2008 (Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe, 2010)

budgets. (New York: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2009). www.casacolumbia.org/articlefiles/380-ShovelingUpII.pdf

148	 Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes and Alex Stevens, “What
can we learn from the Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?” British Journal of Criminology 50(21 July 2010),
999–1022.

134	 Julian V. Roberts, Mandatory Sentences of Imprisonment in
Common Law Jurisdictions: Some Representative Models (Canada:
Department of Justice, 2004)

149	 European Legal Database on Drugs, Country Profiles,
Germany, http://eldd.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index5174EN.html#.

135	 Drug Policy Alliance, “Press Release: Historic Legislation to Reduce Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity
Heads to President Obama’s Desk,” July 28, 2010. www.
drugpolicy.org/news/pressroom/pressrelease/pr072810.cfm

150	 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Drug Situation, “Country Overview: Germany,”
March 2010. www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/countryoverviews/de#pdu .

136	 Karen Davis, Cathy Schoen, and Kristof Stremikis, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S.
Health Care System Compares Internationally -2010 Update
(New York, NY: The Commonwealth Fund: June 2010).
www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/
Fund%20Report/2010/Jun/1400_Davis_Mirror_Mirror_on_
the_wall_2010.pdf

151	 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug
Addiction, Drug Situation, “Country Overview: Finland,”
March 2010. www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/countryoverviews/fi#nlaws.

137	 International Harm Reduction Association, The Global
State of Harm Reduction 2010: Key issues for broadening the
response (London, United Kingdom: International Harm Reduction Association, 2010). www.ihra.net/files/2010/06/15/
GSHR2010IntroductionWeb3.pdf.
138	 Benjamin Dolin, National Drug Policy: The Netherlands
(Ottawa, Canada: Library of Parliament, 2001). www.parl.
gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/commbus/senate/com-e/ille-e/library-e/
dolin1-e.htm.
139	 Drug Policy Alliance, “The Netherlands,” www.drugpolicy.org/global/drugpolicyby/westerneurop/thenetherlan/,
accessed June 2, 2010.
140	 Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE I –
2006 (Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe, 2009)
141	 Benjamin Dolin, National Drug Policy: The Netherlands,
2001.
142	 Glenn Greenwald, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies
(Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2009). www.cato.org/pubs/
wtpapers/greenwald_whitepaper.pdf
143	 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World
Drug Report 2009 (Vienna, Austria: United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime, 2009). www.unodc.org/documents/wdr/
WDR_2009/WDR2009_eng_web.pdf
144	 Neal Conan, Talk of the Nation, “Mixed Results For
Portugal’s Great Drug Experiment,” NPR, January 20, 2011.
www.npr.org/2011/01/20/133086356/Mixed-Results-ForPortugals-Great-Drug-Experiment
145	 Glenn Greenwald, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal:
Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies, 2009.

152	 The Coordination of Australian Illicit Drug Strategy, Drug
Policy Modeling Program, 2010. www.dpmp.unsw.edu.au/
DPMPWeb.nsf/resources/Monograph+16.pdf/$file/Mono+18.
pdf. Accessed Mar. 9, 2010.
153	 Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy. The National Drug
Strategy: Australia’s Integrated Framework 2004-2009 (Sydney,
Australia: Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs & Australian
National Council on Drugs, 2004). www.nationaldrugstrategy.
gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/5EAED
77A78166EB5CA2575B4001353A4/$File/framework0409.pdf.
154	 Simon Lenton, , “Pot, politics and the press —reflections on cannabis law reform in Western Australia,” Drug
and Alcohol Review pp 225-228, http://web.ebscohost.com/
ehost/pdf?vid=3&hid=7&sid=39bbebc7-9612-4148-a7363fe9d8404b0f%40sessionmgr14.
155	 Department of Justice, Victoria, Australia, “Drug
Court,” www.justice.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/
DOJ+Internet/Home/Courts/Victorian+Courts/JUSTICE++Drug+Court, accessed June 1, 2010.
156	 Drug Info Clearinghouse, The drug prevention network,
www.druginfo.adf.org.au/druginfo/drugs/drug_laws, accessed March 9, 2010.
157	 DrugScope, “The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971,” www.
drugscope.org.uk/resources/drugsearch/drugsearchpages/
laws, accessed June 1, 2010.
158	 The Matrix Knowledge Group, Dedicated Drug Court
Pilots: A Process Report (London, United Kingdom: Ministry of
Justice, 2008). www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/dedicated-drug-courts.pdf.
159	 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug
Addiction, Drug Situation, “Country Overviews: United
Kingdom,”
March 2010. www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/countryoverviews/uk#pdu.

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160	 Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, “Drugs and
Drug Policy in Canada: A Brief Review and Commentary,”
www.cfdp.ca/sen8ex1.htm, accessed June 1, 2010.
161	 Health Canada, “Medical Use of Marihuana,” www.hcsc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/index-eng.php, accessed June 1,
2010.
162	 Daniel Werb, Richard Elliot, Benedikt Fischer, Evan
Wood, Julio Montaner, and Thomas Kerr, “Drug Treatment
Courts in Canada: An Evidenced Based Review,” HIV/AIDS
Policy & Law Review 12, no. 2/3 (2007): 12-17.
163	 Canadian Department of Justice, “Backgrounder Mandatory prison sentences for serious drug crimes,” www.
justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2009/doc_32339.html,
accessed March 9, 2010.; Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network,
“Misleading and Misguided: Mandatory Prison Sentences for
Drug Offences,” Ottawa: 2009. www.idpc.net/sites/default/
files/alerts/CHLN_Misleading.pdf, accessed Mar. 9, 2010.
164	 ProCon.org, “Medical Marijuana,” http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002481#NY,
accessed March 9, 2010.
165	 The World Health Organization’s Project Atlas country
profile for Germany states that “since the late 1960s, psychiatric hospitals have reduced their beds by about 50% and
one psychiatric hospital was closed. A 15% reduction was
recorded even after 1999.”
166	 World Health Organization, Project Atlas: Resources for
Mental and Neurological Disorders, 2005; Canada is the only
country with numbers reflecting fewer resources than the
U.S.; number of patients is presumed given number of psychiatric beds; budget information is only available for Australia, the U.K., and the U.S.
167	 U.S. Department of Justice, “Bureau of Justice Statistics
Special Report: Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail
Inmates,” 2006. Available at: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.
cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=789
168	 “Psychisch kranke Gefängnis-Insassen brauchen bessere
Versorgung,” FOCUS Online Nachrichten (2009). Available
at www.focus.de/gesundheit/ticker/psyche-psychischkranke-gefaengnis-insassen-brauchen-bessere-versorgung_
aid_371698.html
169	 Healthy or Harmful? Mental Health and the Operational Regime of the New ACT Prison (Canberra, Australia:
ACT Community Coalition on Corrections, 2008). Available
at: http://correctionscoalitionact.org.au/Forums/Recent/PrisonEnvironment_MentalHealth.pdf
170	 Howard Meltzer, The Mental Ill-Health of Prisoners (Leicester, United Kingdom: Government Office for Science, 2007).
Available at: www.foresight.gov.uk/Mental%20Capital/SRB5_MCW.pdf
171	 Office of the Correctional Investigator , Annual Report
2007/08: 35th Anniversary Office of the Correctional Investigator,
1973-2008 (Ottawa, Canada: Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2008). www.oci-bec.gc.ca/rpt/annrpt/annrpt20072008eng.aspx.

172	 Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report of
the Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2009–2010, (Ottawa,
Canada: Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2010). www.
oci-bec.gc.ca/rpt/pdf/annrpt/annrpt20092010-eng.pdf
173	 Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report,
2010.
174	 M. Tmonen and others, “Psychiatric admissions at
different levels of the national health care services and male
criminality: the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort study,”
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Volume 35,
Number 5 (2000): 198-201. Available at: www.springerlink.
com/content/y6m4a14g5nqxk1k7/fulltext.pdf.
175	 Maureen C. Olley and others, Mentally Ill Individuals
in Limbo: Obstacles and Opportunities for Providing Psychiatric Services to Corrections Inmates with Mental Illness (British
Columbia: 2009). www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/
fulltext/122609206/PDFSTART, M. Tmonen and others., “Psychiatric admissions at different levels of the national health
care services and male criminality: the Northern Finland 1966
Birth Cohort study,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Volume 35, Number 5 (2000): 198-201. Available at:
www.springerlink.com/content/y6m4a14g5nqxk1k7/fulltext.
pdf.
176	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Prison Services,” January
16, 2011. www.rikosseuraamus.fi/16939.htm
177	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, “Changes in Penal Policy in Finland,” 2011.
178	 See graph related to proportion of prison population
released.
179	 Dr. Kimora, “The Emerging Paradigm in Probation and
Parole in the United States,” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation
46, no. 3 (2008): 1-11.
180	 Thomas P. Bonczar, Lauren E. Glaze, Probation and
Parole in the United States, 2008 (Washington, DC: Bureau of
Justice Statistics, 2009). http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/
pdf/ppus08.pdf
181	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Probation Service,” Accessed November 8, 2010. www.rikosseuraamus.fi/uploads/
sh3fp.pdf, Federal Ministry of Justice, “Criminal Code in
the version promulgated on 13 November 1998, Federal
Law Gazette [Bundesgesetzblatt] I p. 3322, last amended by
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183	 National Institute of Justice, “Parole Violations Revisited: Innovations in Four States,” January 14, 2011. www.
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184	 Maria Borzycki and Eileen Baldry, Promoting Integration
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186	 Maria Borzycki and Eileen Baldry, Promoting Integration : The Provision of Prisoner Post-release Services (Canberra,
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187	 Australian Law Reform Commission, “Same Crime,
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188	 Australian Law Reform Commission, “Same Crime,
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189	 Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, “Parole Conditions,” September 2009. www.ag.gov.au/
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190	 Parole Board of Canada, “Parole,” July 2010. www.
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191	 Marsha Axford and Rick Ruddell, “Police-Parole Partnerships in Canada: A Review of a Promising Programme,”
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192	 Correctional Service Canada, “Community Corrections
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193	 Parole Board of Canada, “Parole,” July 2010. www.
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194	 Parole Board of Canada, “Parole Decision-Making:
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195	 Correctional Service Canada, “About Parole Officers,”
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196	 Parole Board of Canada, “Overview,” July 2010. www.
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197	 Parole Board of Canada, “Parole Decision-Making:
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198	 Parole Board of Canada, “Parole: Contributing to Public

Safety (Continued),” September 2010. www.pbc-clcc.gc.ca/
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199	 Parole Board of Canada, “Parole: Contributing to Public
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200	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Supervision of Conditionally Released Prisoners,” Accessed November 8, 2010. www.
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203	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Prison Services,” January
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205	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Obligations of People
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210	 Jörg-Martin Jehle, Criminal Justice in Germany, 2009.
211	 Federal Ministry of Justice, “Criminal Code in the version promulgated on 13 November 1998, Federal Law Gazette
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[Bundesgesetzblatt] I p. 3322, last amended by Article 3 of the
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213	 Federal Ministry of Justice, “Criminal Code in the version promulgated on 13 November 1998, Federal Law Gazette
[Bundesgesetzblatt] I p. 3322, last amended by Article 3 of the
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www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.
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231	 Heather C. West and William J. Sabol, Prisoners in 2009,
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214	 Jörg-Martin Jehle, Criminal Justice in Germany, 2009.

232	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Prison Services,” January
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215	 CEP, The European Organization for Probation, “Summary Information on Probation in England and Wales,”
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216	 CEP, The European Organization for Probation, “Summary Information on Probation in England and Wales,” accessed November 9, 2010.
217	 National Probation Service, “About Us,” 2003. www.
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233	 Patrick A. Langan and David J. Levin, Recidivism of
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234	 Kimmo Hypen, The Released from Prison in Finland
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235	 James Bonta and Tanya Rugge, The Reconviction Rate of
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236	 Ministry of Justice, Reoffending of Adults: Results from the
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219	 The Parole Board, “About the Parole Board,” accessed
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237	 Federal Ministry of Justice, Second Periodical Report on Crime and Crime Control in Germany (Berlin,
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220	 The Parole Board, “A Quick Guide to Parole for Determinate Sentence Prisoners,” accessed November 2, 2010.
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238	 Council of State Governments, Report of the Reentry
Policy Council: Charting the Safe and Successful Return of Prisoners to the Community (New York, NY: Reentry Policy Council,
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221	 The Parole Board, “About the Parole Board,” accessed
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239	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry? Reviewing and Questioning the Evidence,” Federal Probation 68,
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222	 National Probation Service, “Information for Offenders: You and the Probation Service,” 2003. www.probation.
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223	 Lawrence F. Travis III, James Stacey, “A Half Century
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224	 Lawrence F. Travis III, James Stacey, “A Half Century of
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225	 Lawrence F. Travis III, James Stacey, “A Half Century of
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226	 Texas Senate Research Center, “In Brief, Parole: Then
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227	 National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of
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228	 Lawrence F. Travis III, James Stacey, “A Half Century of
Parole Rules, 2010
229	 Lawrence F. Travis III, James Stacey, “A Half Century of
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230	 Lawrence F. Travis III, James Stacey, “A Half Century of
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240	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry?,”
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241	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry?,”
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242	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry?,”
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243	 The Criminal Sanctions Agency, The Annual Report of the
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244	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry?,”
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245	 Matthew Willis and John-Patrick Moore, Reintegration
of Indigenous Prisoners (Canberra, ACT: Australian Institute
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246	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry?,”
2004.
247	 Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report
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248	 Correctional Service Canada, Hands at Work CORCAN
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249	 Correctional Service Canada, “Organization,” December 2007. www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/organi-eng.shtml.
250	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, The Annual Report of the
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rikosseuraamus.fi/uploads/bwwbjt.pdf.
251	 United Nations, “Delegates at United Nations Crime
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to Reduce Prison Overcrowding,”12th UN Congress on Crime
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252	 The Criminal Sanctions Agency, The Annual Report of the
Criminal Sanctions Field: 2008 (Helsinki, Finland: 2009). www.
rikosseuraamus.fi/uploads/bwwbjt.pdf.
253	 Criminal Sanctions Agency, “Projects: WOP (It Works if
you Work it Out),” July 2010. www.rikosseuraamus.fi/16925.
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254	 Home Affairs Committee, Rehabilitation of Prisoners Volume 1, First Report of Session 2004-2005, House of Commons
(London, England: 2005). www.publications.parliament.uk/
pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhaff/193/193.pdf.
255	 Kristen Allen, “Most Criminals Avoiding Jail in Germany,” The Local, October 13, 2009. www.thelocal.de/
national/20091013-22543.html., George F. Cole and Christopher E. Smith, “Day Fines in Germany: Could the Concept
Work in the United States?” in American System of Criminal
Justice Eleventh Edition (Canada: Thomas Wadsworth, 2007),
467., Bureau of Justice Assistance, How to Use Structured Fines
(Day Fines) as an Intermediate Sanction (Washington, DC: Vera
Institute of Justice, 1996). www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/156242.pdf
256	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry?,”
2004.
257	 National Offender Management Service, ”Alliances,”
July 2010. http://noms.justice.gov.uk/about-us/working-withpartners/alliances/.
258	 Joan Petersilia, “What Works in Prisoner Reentry?,”
2004.
259	 Amy L. Solomon et al., Outside the Walls: A National
Snapshot of Community-Based Prisoner Reentry Programs (Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2004).
260	 Beatrice Luna, “Brain and Cognitive Processes Underlying Cognitive Control of Behavior in Adolescence,” University of Pittsburgh, Oct. 2005..
261	 Elizabeth Drake, Evidence-Based Juvenile Offender Programs: Program Description, Quality Assurance, and Cost (Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2007) www.
wsipp.wa.gov
262	 Australian Institute of Health and Warfare, Canberra,
Juvenile justice in Australia 2005-06, www.aihw.gov.au/publications/juv/jjia05-06/jjia05-06-c03.pdf, 2007, Secure Confinement, www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/downloads/
Lessons_from_abroad.pdf, Secure Confinement, www.kcl.

ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/downloads/Lessons_from_
abroad.pdf, Includes Detention Facilities, Long Term Secure,
Bootcamp; Melissa Sickmund and others,”Easy Access to the
Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement.” 2008. http://
ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezacjrp/, Council of Europe, Annual
Penal Statistics – SPACE I – 2008 (Strasbourg, France: Council
of Europe, 2010), www.coe.int/t/e/legal_affairs/legal_cooperation/prisons_and_alternatives/statistics_space_i/PCCP(2010)07_E%20SPACE%20Report%20I.pdf
263	 Campaign for Youth Justice, “National Statistics”
(Washington, DC: Campaign for Youth Justice, 2010). www.
campaignforyouthjustice.org/national-statistics.html
264	 UNICEF, “Convention on the Rights of the Child: Frequently Asked Questions,” www.unicef.org/crc/index_30229.
html
265	 UNICEF, “FACT SHEET: A summary of the rights
under the Convention on the Rights of a Child,” www.unicef.
org/crc/files/Rights_overview.pdf
266	 John Muncie, “The `Punitive Turn’ in Juvenile Justice:
Cultures of Control and Rights Compliance in Western Europe and the USA,” Youth Justice 8(2), 2008, 107-121.
267	 Thomas P. Bonczar and Allen Beck, Lifetime Likelihood
of Going to State or Federal Prison (Washington, DC: Bureau of
Justice Statistics, 1997). http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/
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268	 Barry Holman and Jason Ziedenberg, Dangers of
Detention: The Impact of Incarcerating Youth in Detention
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Institute, 2006). www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/0611_REP_DangersOfDetention_JJ.pdf
269	 John Pitts and Tarja Kuula, Incarcerating Young People:
An Anglo-Finnish Comparison (London: The National Associate
for Youth Justice, Vol. 5 No. 3, 2005)
270	 John Muncie, The ‘Punitive Turn’ in Juvenile Justice: Cultures of Control and Rights Compliance in Western Europe and the
USA (London: The National Associate for Youth Justice, 2008)
271	 Jörg-Martin Jehle, Criminal Justice in Germany, 2009.
272	 Dietrich Oberwittler and Sven Höfer, “Crime and
Justice in Germany: An Analysis of Recent Trends and Research,” European Journal of Criminology, vol. 2, no. 4 (2005).
273	 John Muncie and Barry Boldson, “England and Wales:
The New Correctionalism” in Comparative Youth Justice (London: Sage Publications, 2006).
274	 John Muncie and Barry Goldson, eds., “Editor’s Introduction” in Comparative Youth Justice (London: Sage Publications, 2006).
275	 Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative,” November 17, 2010. www.aecf.org/MajorInitiatives/JuvenileDetentionAlternativesInitiative.aspx
276	 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
“Models for Change,” November 17, 2010. www.modelsforchange.net/index.html
277	 Missouri Juvenile Justice Association. 2003. Celebrating

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100 Year of Juvenile Justice in Missouri: 1903-2003. Online at
http://mjja.org/images/100Years.pdf., Mendel, Richard A.
2001. Less cost, more safety: Guiding lights for reform in juvenile
justice. Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum.
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278	 Missouri Department of Social Service. 2006. Division
of Youth Services Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2006. www.dss.
mo.gov/re/pdf/dys/dysfy06.pdf.
279	 Richard A. Mendel, Less cost, more safety: Guiding lights
for reform in juvenile justice. (Washington, DC: American Youth
Policy Forum, 2001). www.aecf.org/upload/PublicationFiles/
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280	 Justice Policy Institute, The Costs of Confinement (Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, 2009).
281	 Steve Aos, Washington State’s family integrated transitions
program for juvenile offenders: Outcome evaluation and benefit-cost
analysis (Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public
Policy, 2004). www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/04-12-1201.pdf.
282	 Roper v. Simmons, 2004
283	 Graham v. Florida, 2010
284	 Campaign for Youth Justice, The Consequences Aren’t
Minor: The Impact of Trying Youth as Adults and Strategies for
Reform (Washington, DC: Campaign for Youth Justice, 2007).
www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/Downloads/NEWS/National_Report_consequences.pdf, Campaign for Youth Justice,
Key Facts: Youth in the Justice System (Washington, DC: Campaign for Youth Justice, 2010). www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/documents/FS_KeyYouthCrimeFacts.pdf
285	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, “Trust, Welfare, and Political
Culture: Explaining Differences in National Penal Policies,”
2008. Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Global Trends and Local Exceptions,
2009.; Douglas B. Weiss and Doris L. MacKenzie, “A Global
Perspective on Incarceration,” 2010.; Michael Tonry, “Why
Aren’t German Penal Policies Harsher and Imprisonment
Rates Higher?” German Law Journal 5(10), 2004.
286	 Anthony N. Doob and Cheryl Marie Webster, “Countering Punitiveness: Understanding Stability in Canada’s Imprisonment Rate,” Law and Society Review 40(2), 2006.
287	 Marie Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows: The politics
of mass incarceration in America. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
288	 The provision of free legal representation for individuals who cannot afford to obtain their own representation.
289	 Prosecution data is from 2005, public defense data is
from 2007. Federal prosecution and public defense data is
not included. Lynn Langton and Donald J. Farole, Jr., Public
Defender Offices, 2007- Statistical Tables (Washington, D.C.:
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009). http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/pdo07st.pd, Steven W. Perry, Prosecutors in State
Courts, 2005 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics,
2006). http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/psc05.pdf
290	 Council of Europe, European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, “European Judicial Systems”, 2008. https://

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291	 James Sample and others, The New Politics of
Judicial Elections, 2000-2009 (New York, NY: Brennan Center for Justice, 2010). http://brennan.3cdn.net/
d091dc911bd67ff73b_09m6yvpgv.pdf
292	 Joachim J. Savelsberg, “Knowledge, Domination, and
Criminal Punishment,” American Journal of Sociology 99(4):
931-932 and 934-935,1994.
293	 John Pitts and Tarja Kuula, “Incarcerating Young
People: An Anglo-Finnish Comparison,” Youth Justice 5(3),
December 2005, 147-164.
294	 Anthony N. Doob and Cheryl Marie Webster, “Countering Punitiveness,” 2006.
295	 W. Lance Bennett, News: The politics of illusion, 6th ed.
(New York: Pearson Longman, 2005)., Frank D. Gilliam and
Shanto Iyengar, “Super-predators or victims of societal neglect? Framing effects in juvenile crime coverage.” in Framing
American Politics. K. Callagan and F. Schnell, eds. (Pittsburgh:
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005).
296	 Doris Graber, Crime News and the Public. (New York:
Praegar, 1980).
297	 Frank D. Gilliam and Shanto Iyengar, “Prime Suspects:
The influence of local television news on the viewing public,”
American Journal of Political Science 44(3): 560-573, 2000., Doris
Graber,. Crime News and the Public. (New York: Praegar,
1980).;P. A. Perrone, and Meda Chesney-Lind ,“Representations of gangs and delinquency: Wild in the streets?” Social
Justice, 24(4): 96-116, 1997.
298	 Harry L. Marsh, “A Comparative Analysis of Crime
Coverage in Newspapers in the United States and Other
Countries from 1960-1989: A review of the literature.” Journal
of Criminal Justice 19: 67-79, 1991).
299	 R. I. Mawbry and J. Brown, “Newspaper images of the
victim: A British study,” Victimology: An International Journal
9: 82-94, 1983.; Harry L Marsh, “A Comparative Analysis of
Crime Coverage in Newspapers in the United States and
Other Countries from 1960-1989: A review of the literature,”
Journal of Criminal Justice 19: 67-79, 1991.
300	 John Pitts and Tarja Kuula, “Incarcerating Young People,” 2005..
301	 S. Decker and K. Kempf-Leonard, “Constructing gangs:
The social definition of youth activities.” Criminal Justice
Policy Review, 5: 271-291, 1991.
302	 Lisa L. Sample and Colleen Kadleck, “Sex Offender
Laws: Legislators’ accounts of the need for policy.” Criminal
Justice Policy Review 19(1): 40-62, 2008.
303	 Anthony N. Doob and Cheryl Marie Webster, “Countering Punitiveness, 2006.
304	 Law & Order expenditure was calculated by subtracting
the CIA World Factbook amount Military Spending from the
OECD records of law, order and defense spending.

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From the OECD: Law and order covers the police forces,
intelligence services, prisons and other correctional facilities, the judicial system, and ministries of internal affairs.
Note that the figures shown here do not include the costs of
government-mandated security arrangements at airports,
seaports and other border crossings. Nor, of course, do they
include the provision of security in shopping-malls, football
matches, concerts and other public gatherings, all of which
have certainly increased in recent years.
305	 From OECD: Public social expenditure comprises cash
benefits, direct “in-kind” provision of goods and services, and
tax breaks with social purposes. To be considered “social”,
benefits have to address one or more social goals. Benefits
may be targeted at low-income households, but they may
also be for the elderly, disabled, sick, unemployed, or young
persons. Programs regulating the provision of social benefits
have to involve: a) redistribution of resources across households, or b) compulsory participation. Social benefits are
regarded as public when general government (that is central,
state, and local governments, including social security funds)
controls relevant financial flows. The expenditures shown
here refer only to public social benefits and exclude similar
benefits provided by private charities.
306	 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Factbook 2009: Economic, Environmental and
Social Statistics (Paris, France: Organization for Economic
Co-Operation and Development, 2009) http://dx.doi.
org/10.1787/544036521217
307	 One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections (Washington, D.C.: Pew Center on the States, 2009).
308	 Don Stemen, Reconsidering Incarceration, 2007
309	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, “Trust, Welfare, and Political Culture: Explaining Differences in National Penal Policies,” Crime
and Justice 37 (2008)
310	 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat
Extracts, 2010. January 7, 2011. http://stats.oecd.org/Index.
aspx?DatasetCode=LMPEXP
311	 Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts,
2010. http://stats.oecd.org/viewhtml.aspx?queryname=18148&
querytype=view&lang=en
312	 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Factbook 2009: Economic, Environmental and
Social Statistics (Paris, France: Organization for Economic
Co-Operation and Development, 2009) http://dx.doi.
org/10.1787/544701673235
313	 Rodrigo R. Soares, “Development, crime and punishment,” February 2004.
314	 Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Global Trends and Local Exceptions,
2009.
315	 Sarah Lyons and Nastassia Walsh, Money Well Spent:
How positive social investments will reduce incarceration rates,
improve public safety, and promote the well-being of communities
(Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, 2010).

316	 William J. Sabol and others, Prisoners in 2008, 2009.;
U.S. Census, “American Community Survey Factfinder: 20062008,” January 24, 2010.
317	 Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Hoodlums,” The Atlantic December 7, 2010. www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/12/
hoodlums/67599/
318	 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia –
2006 (Canberra, Australia: Australian Bureau of Statistics,
2006). www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/21A
1C193CFD3E93CCA257243001B6036/$File/45170_2006.pdf
319	 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Experimental Estimates
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June
2006,” November 18, 2010. www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.
nsf/Latestproducts/3238.0.55.001Main%20Features1Jun%2020
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1&issue=Jun%202006&num=&view=#
320	 Laura Landry and Maire Sinha, Adult Correctional Services in Canada, 2005/2006 (Ontario, Canada: Statistics Canada,
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2008). www.statcan.
gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/85-002-x2008006-eng.pdf
321	 Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE
I – 2006 (Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe, 2009), www.
coe.int/t/e/legal_affairs/legal_co-operation/prisons_and_alternatives/statistics_space_i/PC-CP(2010)07_E%20SPACE%20
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322	 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts,
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323	 Council of Europe, Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE
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coe.int/t/e/legal_affairs/legal_co-operation/prisons_and_alternatives/statistics_space_i/PC-CP(2010)07_E%20SPACE%20
Report%20I.pdf
324	 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development Stat Extracts, Country Statistical Profiles Stat Extracts,
2010. http://stats.oecd.org/viewhtml.aspx?queryname=18148&
querytype=view&lang=en
325	 Moosa-Mitha Mehmoona, “Situating anti-oppressive
theories within critical and difference-centered perspectives,”
In L. Brown and S. Strega (Eds.) Research and Resistance (Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2005).
326	 Loïc Wacquant, “Deadly symbiosis: When ghetto and
prison meet and mesh.” Punishment &Society 3 (1), 2001:94134.
327	 Sarah Lyons and Nastassia Walsh, Money Well Spent,
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328	 U.S. Department of Justice, “How to Use Structured
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Acknowledgements
Finding Direction

This report would not have been possible without the generous support of the Open Society Institute
through its Seize the Day Fund, as well as the support of the Public Welfare Foundation.
The Justice Policy Institute would like to express gratitude to Tappio Lappi-Seppälä, Loïc Wacquant,
Michael Tonry, Rob Allen, Will McMahon, Jasmine Tyler, and Terrance Pitts for their valuable insight
and review of the report. JPI would also like to thank Lara Kinne, Zachary Levy, and Matthew Scalf for
their assistance gathering data and research and Paul Ashton, and Emily Sydnor for their significant
contributions to the report.
JPI staff includes Paul Ashton, Jason Fenster, Zerline Hughes, Amanda Petteruti, Kellie Shaw, Tracy
Velázquez, Keith Wallington, and Nastassia Walsh.

Special Acknowledgement
JPI is indebted to Professor Doris MacKenzie and Douglas B. Weiss, whose work provided the academic
foundation and inspiration for this report. JPI used the framework from their article, “A Global Perspective
on Incarceration: How an International Focus Can Help the United States Reconsider Its Incarceration
Rates,” which appeared in Victims & Offenders in June 2010, to select the nations considered and conduct
analyses of index offenses, education and social spending, unemployment rates, income disparity levels,
and types of sentencing.
JPI would also like to thank Gene Guerrero of the Open Society Foundations Policy Center for providing
the original impetus for the project.

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justice policy institute

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Amanda Petteruti, Associate Director
Amanda Petteruti is a researcher and policy analyst at the Justice Policy Institute. Early in her career, she
organized a writing program for youth at the National Campaign to Stop Violence and provided general
support to the National Juvenile Defender Center. Prior to joining the staff of the Justice Policy Institute,
she conducted research on issues pertaining to urban education at the Council of the Great City Schools.
Petteruti has earned a Master of Arts in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland
College Park and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Bates College. Petteruti has contributed to several JPI
reports related to education policy and co-authored The Vortex: The Concentrated Racial Impact of Drug
Imprisonment and the Characteristics of Punitive Counties and JPI’s Public Safety Policy Brief series.

Jason Fenster, Communications Associate
Before joining the JPI team, Jason served in a year-long fellowship as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant
at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC). There, he worked with civil rights and interfaith
coalitions to develop campaigns and advocacy strategies surrounding issues of criminal justice, civil rights,
gun control, and voting rights. He graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics
and a minor in Legal Studies.

Reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system and promoting policies
that improve the well‐being of all people and communities.

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TEL (202) 558-7974
FAX (202) 558-7978
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