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Obama cites data from Institute for Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck

Harvard Law Review article focuses on criminal justice reform

Writing for the Harvard Law Review, outgoing US President Barack Obama has used data from the World Prison Brief (WPB), the unique online resource of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), which provides open access to information on the world’s prison systems.

In ‘The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform’, Barack Obama reflects on his own record on criminal justice reform. The article urges President Elect Trump to press on with the current reform agenda for the good of all US citizens, one in three of whom has a criminal record today, and all of whom bear the burden of a prison system costing US$ 80 billion a year. Obama explains how Presidents can drive and influence reform at federal, state and local level, and discusses the challenges and opportunities for the incoming administration.

Using statistics sourced from ICPR’s World Prison Brief, this article highlights the vast disparity between America’s prison population rate and that of other states across the world.

Catherine Heard, Director of ICPR’s World Prison Research Programme, said: “Recent decades have seen unrelenting growth in the use of imprisonment, nowhere more so than in America. The huge social and economic costs are now clear: poverty, homelessness, family breakdown, drug dependency, disease and mental illness. Since 2000, a growing political consensus towards reform has led to America’s rate of prisoner growth being halted, then reversed. This shows there is nothing inevitable about ever-rising prisoner numbers – it takes political will to reduce prison use.”

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