NCCD works with states, counties, legislators, law enforcement, and public and private organizations to demonstrate, test, and evaluate innovative alternatives to ineffective and costly adult criminal justice practices. NCCD’s goals in adult criminal justice are to modify sentencing laws and correctional practices in the adult system, while stressing non-incarceration and community-based alternatives to incarceration. Thus, our work is intended to focus public attention and galvanize political opinion toward meaningful system change. By employing research, advocacy, technical assistance, and training, NCCD examines issues such as disparate pre-trial lengths of stay, sentences, and terms of probation. These efforts have already yielded significant benefits by critically analyzing theories of violence, gathering data on these topics, offering recommendations for change, and working with communities to implement reforms.
Our research considers how many individuals need to be incarcerated at all and, of those incarcerated, who can be placed in less secure settings while maintaining public safety. In addition to comparing the costs of various kinds of placement, NCCD examines the current availability of community-based correctional programs, develops blueprints for the most appropriate programs, and determines costs. Most importantly, our research seeks to deepen understanding of the lives and experiences of those involved in the adult justice system in an effort to capture the multifaceted damage inflicted by excessive incarceration.