The Justice Lab joined top university experts in calling on the CDC and states to prioritize incarcerated people and correctional staff in early-phase distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

On October 20, 2020, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a new study entitled Decarcerating Correctional Facilities During COVID-19: Advancing Health, Equity, and Safety.

On September 30, 2020 Columbia Justice Lab's Emerging Adult Justice Project hosted a panel discussion on specialized parole and resentencing laws for people who are incarcerated for lawbreaking as emerging adults (ages 18-25).

Watch the discussion here and read Natalie Behr's report here.

This research brief offers an initial analysis of newly-released data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which report on the number of people under probation and parole supervision in 2017 and 2018. This brief seeks to put the data into the context of historical and international community supervision trends and to examine supervision rates through a racial equity lens.

The Square One Project releases a new paper from Vincent Schiraldi, co-founder of the Columbia University Justice Lab, titled “Can we eliminate the youth prison? (And what should we place it with?).” The paper discusses the need to eradicate the use of youth carceral facilities.

Read the full report here.

In partnership with Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) on June 11th, the Justice Lab presented a virtual evening event featuring a half hour-long screening of the acclaimed documentary series College Behind Bars.

Watch the webinar here.

We are excited to welcome Gladys Carrión as the newest addition to the Justice Lab, joining our Youth Justice Initiatives team as an Adjunct Research Scholar!


This research brief assesses the impact of a March 27, 2020 announcement from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), indicating that it would release up to 1,100 people jailed in county facilities for accusations of technical parole violations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full brief here.

On April 21, over 120 Columbia University scholars, researchers, and educators released an open letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging his use of executive powers to immediately reduce the number of people incarcerated in New York’s prisons and jails. The letter expresses concern about harm coming to those who are incarcerated and those who are working in our state's prisons, jails and juvenile facilities, and about the potential for the heightened contagion in those facilities to inadvertently spread the virus to the larger community. In urging swift action, the letter also highlights disproportionate risks faced by people of color, who are more likely to work as essential staff in correctional facilities, and also more likely to be incarcerated.

Read the full letter here.

What risks does COVID-19 present to young people incarcerated in US jails, prisons and juvenile facilities?

Watch the webinar here.

Youth prisons house some of the most medically vulnerable youth in the US putting them in jeopardy of contracting or spreading COVID-19, according to a statement issued today by Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice (YCLJ), a group comprised of youth corrections officials who do or have run such youth facilities.

Read the statement here.

Fifty current and former probation and parole executives from across the country, as well as The National Association of Probation Executives and the American Probation and Parole Association, have released a statement providing guidance to limit the threat of coronavirus. The statement is the first attempt by corrections officials across jurisdictions to limit the impact of coronavirus on the U.S. through correctional population reduction measures.

This new paper highlights ways in which the harmful impacts of parole policies disproportionately fall on Black and brown communities in New York. The report also summarizes existing research on disparities in parole supervision practices nationally. The authors conclude that there is significant existing momentum toward reform in these areas, and that New York should take legislative action to reform parole practices while there is a window of opportunity to do so.

Read the paper here.

Policymakers often talk about the problem of recidivism. Too often, they fail to recognize that most people who return to prison are incarcerated for failing to abide by non-criminal parole conditions, not for new criminal convictions.

Read the article here.