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Joan Petersilia: Prison Downsizing in America

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Published on Jul 31, 2012

2012 NIJ Conference, Keynote Speech
When John invited me to speak here today and told me I could really speak about any topic, I knew I had to accept the invitation, and I knew what topic I wanted to speak about. Something has been bothering me for about the last six to nine months, and I thought this would be exactly the kind of audience to have a frank discussion about kind of what's on my mind.

The title of my talk is called "Looking Back to See the Future of Prison Downsizing in America." I chose this topic because, of course, I think prison downsizing is the most important issue we are now facing — I was here 2 years ago. That wasn't even on the topic of that conference. Now it's everywhere. I mean, in 2 years we have seen a downsizing in the American state prison population unheard of in the previous 40 years.

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