Decarceration and its possible effects on inmates, staff, and communities

Brett Garland
Nancy Hogan
Eric Wodahl
Aida Hass, Missouri State University
Mary K. Stohr
Eric Lambert


Few current criminal justice scholars, practitioners, and politicians expected to witness the phenomenon of decreasing correctional populations. Yet, there is evidence at local, state, and regional levels of significant declines in the growth of incarceration and even decreases in the size of prisoner populations. In this article we delineate the extent of decarceration and examine the context in which it has occurred. We then explore possible positive and negative outcomes resulting from decarceration and conclude with an agenda for advancing a decarceration movement.