The U.S. prison population has quadrupled since 1980. Something’s wrong.

A female inmate in a cell in handcuffs

A new group of scholars is searching for answers—and solutions that really work

Given that the U.S. prison population has quadrupled to 2 million people since 1980, it’s clear criminal justice reform is one of the United States’ most pressing challenges. What role can scholarship play in providing real-world solutions?

As a scholar at Arizona State University, Professor Erik Luna ran into a problem when he tried to survey the landscape for scholarship on criminal justice reform.

Research that analyzed, measured, and reported the most—and least—effective solutions on the issue was scattered and incomplete.

Erik had an idea: Unite the top criminal justice scholars from across the country to produce a single, comprehensive source that studies every major aspect of our criminal justice system.

The Charles Koch Foundation—part of the Stand Together community—helped Erik bring his idea to life by supporting the launch of the Academy for Justice. The academy brings together the work of over 120 scholars from different perspectives to create an authoritative source for criminal justice issues. Their insights serve as a resource for everyone, including policymakers, nonprofit leaders, law enforcement officers, and many others.

If we want to address our country’s biggest challenges for future generations, rigorous scholarship can unlock key lessons from our past and present. That’s why the Stand Together community supports more than 1,000 professors at over 350 universities. Together they are expanding our country’s understanding of complex problems and discovering the most effective solutions.

Learn More About Our Efforts in Criminal Justice