Smart Decarceration Initiative

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The Smart Decarceration Initiative is a partnership between the Institute for Justice Research and Development at the College of Social Work at Florida State University and the Center for Social Development at the Brown School at the Washington University in St. Louis. The initiative aims to stimulate applied policy and behavioral intervention research to reduce the incarcerated population in ways that are humane, socially just, and sustainable.

Effective decarceration will be occurring when the incarcerated population in U.S. jails and prisons is substantially lessened, existing racial and economic disparities among the incarcerated are redressed, and public safety and public health are maximized.

In order to progress toward these goals, the Smart Decarceration Initiative promotes transdisciplinary work that reconsiders the utility and function of incarceration and supports innovations across all sectors of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, courts, jails, prisons, and community supervision. All work is rigorously evaluated and emerging evidence is rapidly applied to policy and practice.

The work of the Smart Decarceration Initiative provides the foundation for the Promote Smart Decarceration Grand Challenge for Social Work. Since 2016, over 100 social work scholars and practitioners have joined together to identify, develop, and implement actionable steps to promote Smart Decarceration in three primary areas of social work: Research, Practice, and Education.