Recent Posts

RIDGE Project Among Grantees at NRRC Intensive Training Summit

RIDGE Project Among Grantees at NRRC Intensive Training Summit

The RIDGE Project is today divided into an adult division, a workforce development division, and a youth division. The adult programming begins inside the prison; fathers whose children are younger than 22 and who are within six months from release are eligible.

State Standards: Building Better Mental Health Courts

State Standards: Building Better Mental Health Courts

As formal “mental health courts” (MHCs) enter their third decade in existence, policymakers are increasingly looking to distill the best of research and practice into state standards that foster high-quality programing and accountability for MHCs in their states.

Obama Supports ‘Second Chances’ for People Convicted of Nonviolent Offenses

Obama Supports ‘Second Chances’ for People Convicted of Nonviolent Offenses

After commuting the sentences of 46 people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes earlier in the week, President Barack Obama said in a major speech on July 14 at the NAACP that it was time to reduce sentences for people convicted of nonviolent crimes generally and to invest in helping formerly incarcerated people reenter society.

Bexar County Awarded Grant to Provide Attorneys to People with Mental Illness

Bexar County Awarded Grant to Provide Attorneys to People with Mental Illness

The Texas Indigent Defense Commission—chaired by Sharon Keller, presiding judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals—unanimously approved a $600,000 grant to be dispersed over four years for the Bexar County (San Antonio) Public Defender’s Office to provide attorneys at the initial court hearings of people who are indigent and have mental illnesses.

Rhode Island Launches New Justice Reinvestment Effort

Rhode Island Launches New Justice Reinvestment Effort

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Tuesday, July 7, to launch a comprehensive study of the state’s criminal justice system using a “justice reinvestment” approach, which will identify new ways to relieve pressures on the correctional system and increase public safety.

Announcements

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Introduced in U.S. House

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Introduced in U.S. House

U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Danny K. Davis (D-IL) recently introduced the bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015, which will allow pivotal investments in strategies to reduce recidivism and increase public safety to continue to be made for an additional four years.

Improved Reentry Education Opportunity Demonstration Grant Program

Improved Reentry Education Opportunity Demonstration Grant Program

The purpose of this program is to support demonstration projects that show the impact and effectiveness of reentry education for incarcerated individuals. The program seeks to demonstrate that high-quality, appropriately designed, well-integrated, and well-implemented educational services provided in institutional and community settings are critical in supporting educational attainment and reentry success for individuals who are involved with the justice system.

Register Now for ‘The Beat: A Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide to Drug Courts’

Register Now for ‘The Beat: A Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide to Drug Courts’

This course, hosted by the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI), is designed to educate law enforcement officers on drug court programs and the role law enforcement plays on a drug court team—which also generally includes a judge, public defender/defense attorney, prosecutor, evaluator, treatment provider, and probation officer.

WEBINARS

Responding to the Second Chance Act Technology-Based Career Training Program

Responding to the Second Chance Act Technology-Based Career Training Program

In this webinar, officials from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance explain the grant program and application process. These grants will provide up to $750,000 to states, units of local government, territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes for a 36-month project period. The goal of this program is to increase the post-release employability of individuals through technology-based career training.

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

This webinar provides foundational knowledge on RNR as well as guidance on understanding and implementing risk assessment tools as a way to direct resources and support recidivism-reduction strategies for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers.

PUBLICATIONS

Rhode Island Justice Reinvestment Working Group: First Meeting

Rhode Island Justice Reinvestment Working Group: First Meeting

This presentation introduces the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the justice reinvestment process, and includes initial analyses on Rhode Island’s criminal justice system. This material was delivered to the Rhode Island Justice Reinvestment Working Group on July 7, 2015.

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

Nearly all of the 1.6 million individuals incarcerated in the U.S. will be released at some point. Individuals returning to their communities from prison or jail have complex challenges and needs that contribute to the likelihood that they may return to incarceration.

Justice Reinvestment in Rhode Island Overview

Justice Reinvestment in Rhode Island Overview

The Justice Reinvestment in Rhode Island Overview highlights recent criminal justice trends in Rhode Island that the working group will be exploring in coming months as part of the state’s justice reinvestment effort.

Nebraska’s Justice Reinvestment Approach

Nebraska’s Justice Reinvestment Approach

Faced with a prison system at 159 percent of capacity and expected to grow to 170 percent of capacity by FY2020, state leaders in Nebraska pursued justice reinvestment. After extensive analyses identified key challenges in the state’s criminal justice system, policymakers developed a policy framework designed to reduce prison overcrowding and expand the use of probation and parole supervision.

Alabama’s Justice Reinvestment Approach

Alabama’s Justice Reinvestment Approach

Faced with the most crowded prison system in the nation and overwhelmed probation and parole systems, state leaders in Alabama pursued justice reinvestment. After extensive analyses identified key challenges in the state’s criminal justice system, policymakers developed a policy framework designed to reduce prison overcrowding and strengthen community-based supervision.

JUSTICE CENTER IN THE NEWS

Edward Fitzpatrick: High Time to Address Rhode Island’s Probation Inflation

Rhode Island has the nation’s third-highest probation rate. And in Providence, 1 out of every 11 men is on probation. Meanwhile, two-thirds of prison sentences are for “low-severity crimes” (drug or property crimes, as opposed to violent or sex crimes). And unless something is done, the state prison population is expected to grow by 12 percent over the next decade.

Evaluation Trumps Incarceration in L.A. Police Dept. Mental Health Efforts

“The LAPD has a multilayered approach, which is necessary for a more comprehensive response to connect individuals with mental illness to the most appropriate services needed,” said Nicola Smith-Kea, policy analyst for the Law Enforcement Program of the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

Dare County Gets Behind National Mental Health Initiative

Joining a growing effort to tackle what one official calls “a national crisis,” the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on July 20 to reduce the number of inmates with mental illness in the county jail. The board’s action came only days after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s July 14 announcement that he was creating the North Carolina Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force in support of the national “Stepping Up” initiative on mental illness and incarceration.