Over the past three decades, the U.S. incarceration rate has increased to historic highs, while crime rates have dropped significantly. Today, the U.S. incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. In addition to the 2.3 million people incarcerated in our nation’s jails and prisons, 4 million individuals are on probation or parole at any given time. The individuals on probation and parole — who represent the community corrections system in America — are the largest part of the correctional system. Yet, this aspect of corrections has been largely absent from the national conversation surrounding incarceration rates and criminal justice reform — this despite the fact that community corrections presents the most obvious alternative to incarceration for many and perhaps the best opportunity for reforming the criminal justice system in ways that will promote public safety, efficiency and fairness.
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