The Crime Funnel

The Rose Institute of State and Local Government presents its first comprehensive analysis of crime and criminal justice in the United States in our first report on the Crime Funnel Project.

A crime funnel is a succinct way to display the likelihood that the commission of a crime will result in an arrest, a felony conviction, incarceration (in a local jail or state prison), and imprisonment. While every serious crime should ideally result in the conviction of the offender and the imposition of an appropriate sentence, there is a drop-off at each stage of the process because not all crimes result in an arrest, not all arrests lead to a felony conviction, and not all convictions result in an appropriate sentence. Together, these drop-offs can be displayed as a graph in the shape of a funnel.

After compiling data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Judicial Reporting Program (NJRP), our team constructed over 80 funnels to display and analyze the changes in the criminal justice system over the last two decades.

Professor Joseph Bessette directed student researchers Elise Hansell ’15, Charlotte Bailey ’16, Nina Kamath ’16, and Lane Corrigan ’17 for this Rose Institute publication.

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