1. Protect public safety
  • Do not release individual prisoners who present a demonstrable threat to the public in general or to any particular person
  • Provide evidence-based risk reduction programs to prisoners with severe behavioral problems regardless of their security classification
  • Maximize the opportunity to address people’s needs while they are incarcerated
  • Use validated risk assessment tools and objective, verifiable evidence to determine whether each person eligible for parole presents a current risk of reoffending
2. First do no harm
  • Do not jeopardize the health or safety of prisoners or staff by worsening conditions in
  • prisons that are already overcrowded
  • Do not place prisoners at higher security classifications than are necessary
  • Do not “max out” any prisoner directly from segregation or maximum security
  • Eliminate expensive and often counterproductive restrictions on probationers and
  • parolees; tailor conditions of supervision to each individual’s actual risks and needs.
3. Treat prisons as a scarce resource
  • Incarcerate only people who present an ongoing risk to public safety or whose crimes require the harshest punishment
  • Do not sentence people to prison who do not meet one of these criteriaDo not use prison to deliver services that could be community-based, whether it is mental health or substance abuse treatment, education or the care of people who are aging or medically fragile.
    • Do not keep people in prison longer than a court has determined appropriate for punishment or than is necessary because of current risk
    • Do not return parolees to prison unless their conduct demonstrates that any level of community supervision would pose a danger to the public
4. Follow the research
  • Undertake or identify relevant research; do not avoid seeking answers because they may not fit preconceptions
  • Use credible research to develop policies, even when it contradicts popular assumptions
  • Require all opposition to cost-saving measures to be justified by credible evidence
  • Routinely evaluate all programs, services and contracts for quality and efficiency
5. Innovate
  • Be willing to experiment with non-traditional programs or practices
  • Seek common interests with non-traditional allies
  • Find ways to supplement corrections resources through other government agencies, higher education, private foundations, non-profits and volunteers

Download>> Principles for cutting corrections