Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

New Robina Institute Project Aims to Examine Prison Release Practices During the Pandemic

The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice is pleased to announce that it has received support from Arnold Ventures to examine how states have made use of new and existing release levers to reduce prison populations in the wake of COVID-19. The 18-month project will build on the Institute's previous work in identifying the levers of change in parole release and other forms of prison release discretion.
As the novel coronavirus has spread across the US, many states have made efforts to quickly reduce their prison populations in order to reduce the number of individuals at risk for exposure within prisons. This project will utilize multiple methods to identify the various discretionary levers used across states to release people from prisons in response to COVID-19 and to examine states' experiences as they engage in these efforts. The ultimate goal of the project is to chronicle the successes and barriers states experienced in utilizing back-end prison release mechanisms, and to explore what lessons can be learned that might be applied to long-term efforts to reduce mass incarceration.