During a period when jail admissions have doubled nationwide, New York City jail admissions dropped by nearly half, the Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported today. This dramatic decline in jail admissions occurred during a simultaneous decrease in reported crime of more than 60 percent. From 1995 to 2015, the number of annual admissions to the city’s correction department fell 46.9 percent, from 121,328 to 64,458. The decline was not evenly distributed by the age of those admitted: the admission rate for 16-to-17-year-olds declined by 76.0 percent; for 18-to-20-year-olds, 61.1 percent; for 21-to-24-year-olds, 48.1 percent; and for 25-to-34-year-olds, 60.9 percent. For those 35 and older, the admission rate dropped 36.5 percent.
For felony admissions, the decline was most pronounced for drug sale charges, which dropped by 81.7 percent, and drug possession charges, which declined by 67.6 percent. Admissions for robbery charges declined by 60.0 percent. Several national organizations and advocacy groups are looking to reduce jail populations. Mayor Bill de Blasio has made significant investments in improving conditions in city jails and making case processing more efficient. bringing efficiencies to case processing. “The report, which focuses on the ‘front door’ of the City’s correctional system, creates a framework for the policy discourse on ways to reduce the City’s pretrial detention population,” said John Jay president Jeremy Travis. He said the report “suggests the emergence of a criminal justice system in our City that is far less intrusive in the lives of New Yorkers, particularly for young men of color, without a parallel increase in crime.”