Starting Point: Challenging the exploitave privatization of the criminal justice system

Organizing Strategy: Research institution documenting the case against mass incarceration

Tools: Publications

Outcomes: Turning the corner for making the case


What We Do

Justice Strategies is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing analysis and solutions to advocates and policymakers pursuing more humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration reform.

Justice Strategies was launched in 2003 to alter the laws, policies and practices that drive mass incarceration and racial disparity in the U.S. criminal justice and immigration systems. A project of the Tides Center, Inc., Justice Strategies conducts research on sentencing and correctional policy, the political economy of incarceration, and the detention and imprisonment of immigrants. In addition to policy expertise, Justice Strategies offers expert advice in campaign development, and grassroots organizing.

Texas Prison Bid’ness

Texas Prison Bid'nessSince March 2007 Justice Strategies, in cooperation with Grassroots Leadership, has operated Texas Prison Bid’ness, a “blog” that keeps Texans and others around the country informed of developments in the private prison capital of the world. Texas Prison Bid’ness posts information daily about the growing prison-for-profit industry in Texas and the problems that ensue. Since 1984 when the first prison-for-profit in the world opened in Texas, the state has become home to scores of private prisons of all shapes and sizes. The blog shares information about the true costs of private prisons to the individuals, families and communities of Texas and across the country.


Laws that heighten penalties for drug activity near schools and other locations frequented by youth have been enacted in all 50 states, but until recently their effectiveness had not been evaluated. Justice Strategies research finds that “drug-free school zone” laws fail to deter drug activity near schools while fueling racial disparity in imprisonment.

The convergence of crime control and immigration enforcement – reflected in rising levels of immigrant detention and imprisonment – has profound implications for both criminal justice and immigration policy. Justice Strategies tracks the growth in the number of immigrants behinds bars and documents the impact of changing law enforcement and sentencing practices on immigrant communities.

Many states have responded to budgetary pressures and the failure of tough-on-crime policies by implementing sensible reforms. But others struggle with crowding and mounting costs. Justice Strategies has worked with policymakers and advocates in several states to pinpoint the causes of prison population growth and craft policy responses that reduce costs while improving public safety.