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Prison Fellowship Responds to Alarming Increase of Homicide Rate in 2020 FBI Report

·3-min read

Prison Fellowship Issues Statements Regarding FBI Report Citing the Largest Single Year Increase in Homicide Crimes, Despite Decrease in Overall Crime Rate by 5 Percent from 2019

Washington, D.C., Sept. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Prison Fellowship®, the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, is issuing the following statements concerning the new FBI Crime Statistics for 2020:

“2020 brought hardship to all Americans, particularly families and communities impacted by rising deadly violence,” said James Ackerman, President and CEO of Prison Fellowship. “We cannot solve this problem without the action of the local church to care for victims and be a voice for justice that restores.”

“This increase in violent crime, particularly homicide crimes, should cause us to mourn. Deadly violence dishonors the innate, God-given dignity of all people and brings grave loss to families and communities,” said Heather Rice-Minus, Senior VP of Advocacy & Church Mobilization for Prison Fellowship. “Policymakers on the Hill and in the states should act to pass criminal justice reforms that prioritize violence reduction, proportional punishment, and rehabilitation.”

About Prison Fellowship
Prison Fellowship is the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading voice for criminal justice reform. With more than 45 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive, and just society.


  • In 2020, the rate of homicide crimes increased by 29 percent.

  • During the same year, violent crime overall increased by an estimated six percent.

  • Overall Homicide and Violent Crime Rate Trend: This represents the largest single year increase in homicide crimes ever recorded. Despite this troubling increase, the homicide rate remains below the national peak recorded during the 1980’s. Initial data shows that this is still more than 30 percent lower than the volume of homicide crimes recorded in the early 1990’s.

  • Overall Crime Rate in 2020:

    • Overall, the crime rate was five percent lower than reports from the previous year.

  • Overall Crime Rate Trend:

    • When taken overall, 2020 continues an 18-year decline in the national crime rate.

    • Research suggests that only 25 percent of the overall decrease in violent crime throughout the past 20 years, and an even smaller percentage of the decrease in property crime, can be attributed to increased incarceration.i

    • Other factors besides incarceration, including a growing economy, changes in the drug market, the aging population, strategic policing, and community responses to crime have been found to be significant contributing factors to the decline in crime. ii

i William Spelman, The Limited Importance of Prison Expansion, in The Crime Drop in America, 97-128, Alfred Blumstein and Joel Wallman 2006); See also National Research Council, “The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences,” National Academies Press (2014).

ii Steven D. Levitt, “Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not,” 18 J. Econ. Persp. 163 (2004); Oliver Roeder, et al., “What caused the crime decline?,” Brennan Center for Justice (2015).

CONTACT: Jim Forbes Prison Fellowship 703-554-8540

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