The Council of State Governments Justice reinvestment team convened the working group for a third meeting this week. Their presentation focused on recidivism with particular attention to pretrial decision-making, incarcerated populations, and programming within HOC institutions. The CSG also provided an addendum with additional slides.
Justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach to improve public safety, reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease crime and reduce recidivism.
States receiving technical assistance from the CSG Justice Center
Other states that have pursued a justice reinvestment approach with technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts or the Vera Institute of Justice include: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. For a complete, listing visit BJA’s justice reinvestment website.
Pennsylvania’s incarceration rate climbed 20 percent between 2004 and 2014, with the total correctional population, which includes both state prisons and county jails, jumping by 17 percent. By comparison, neighboring states New York and New Jersey saw their incarceration rates drop by 20 percent and 21 percent, respectively, in that time.
After reviewing data on pretrial detainees held in three county jails, members of a state criminal justice working group said they could see benefits to adopting a data-based pretrial risk assessment tool, although barriers exist to doing so in Massachusetts.
Prisoners who are released to the community without any supervision in Massachusetts reoffend at higher rates than those who are released with supervision. Yet, some of the most dangerous criminals are often the ones released without supervision, according to information released recently by the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
The U.S. Department of Education released a report last week that shows all states have accelerated their spending on prisons more than they have on public education. And West Virginia is one state that has come close to leading the nation in its push to pour more money into corrections.
Earlier this month, Hawaii enacted Senate Bill 2964, which—among other measures—changed the penal code to raise the felony theft threshold for the first time since 1986, from $300 to $750.
If your agency is using a risk and needs assessment, you should take action to identify how the tool is performing and develop a plan to remediate any issues (e.g., scoring inconsistencies or low predictive accuracy) you may discover.
States across the country have reduced corrections spending by using a data-driven justice reinvestment approach and are investing savings in programs to reduce crime and recidivism. However, just as most people wouldn’t buy a house without first inspecting it to see if it needs extensive repairs and is worth purchasing, policymakers shouldn’t fund programs without periodically evaluating whether they’re in need of renovating and are worth investing in.
The third working group presentation focuses on jail and DOC detainee populations, release decision making, and various measures of recidivism.
The research addendum contains additional information on county and DOC detainee populations, HOC and DOC populations, demographics of the incarcerated populations, and a follow-up analysis of Continuances Without a Finding (CWOFs).
The Justice Reinvestment in Georgia Overview highlights recent criminal justice reforms and potential areas of analysis in the state that Georgia’s Probation Subcommittee, Sentencing Subcommittee, and CSG Justice Center staff will be exploring in the coming months as part of the state’s justice reinvestment efforts.