National Atlas of Sentencing and Corrections Now Available

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Saturday - October 02, 2010.

Washington: Recently, the Justice Mapping Center launched the National Atlas of Sentencing and Corrections-an online tool that shows a neighborhood-level view of where prison inmates, probationers, and parolees are from and where corrections spending is highest.  Click hereto connect with the Atlas which is online. The atlas serves as an invaluable tool for policymakers, the media, researchers, and members of the public looking for neighborhood-specific criminal justice data. Drilling down to single ZIP codes, users can learn the number of people in prison, the number released from prison each year, the number on probation or parole, what share of the state's total population this data represent, and the total dollar amount spent on corrections.

Reentry program planners will find the atlas useful in identifying the target population for their reentry initiatives. Also, Second Chance Act grantees can use the information to focus supervision and treatment resources on a specific geographic area.  The atlas highlights the concentration of incarceration rates in disadvantaged communities across the country. Corrections data are supplemented by data regarding income level, employment status, the number of single-parent households, and racial demographics for each of the thousands of jurisdictions spotlighted.

Specific findings include the following:

  • In New York City, neighborhoods that are home to 18 percent of the city's adult population account for more than 50 percent of prison admissions each year.
  • In Pennsylvania, taxpayers will spend more than $40 million to imprison residents of neighborhoods in a single ZIP code in Philadelphia, where 38 percent of households have incomes under $25,000.
  • In Austin, Texas, although neighborhoods in three of the city's forty-one ZIP codes are home to only 3.5 percent of the city's adult population, they grapple with more than 17 percent of people returning from prison each year.

Corrections departments from twenty-two states provided data to populate the atlas, which represents more than two years of research and planning. The project was supported by the Ford Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Open Society Institute.

About the Author

Scott J. Sheely

Scott J. Sheely

Scott J. Sheely served as Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board from 2000 until early 2015. He has worked as a Human Resource Director of a large mental health agency, operations manager of a nursing home chain, associate pastor of a church, and owner of a wholesale jewelry business.

Under Sheely's leadership, the WIB created the first health care-based Industry Partnership in Pennsylvania. He serves on the steering committee of the Pennsylvania Center for Health Careers and recently served on the Workfroce Cabinet of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.