While activists and some lawmakers are advocating for criminal justice reforms aimed in part at reducing the number of people incarcerated, seven of the state’s district attorneys pushed back on Wednesday with a call to shift the focus.
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.
“Despite our state’s falling crime rates, Montana’s prison population continues to grow and our correctional facilities are over capacity,” Gov. Steve Bullock said during a press event to launch the Justice Reinvestment Initiative led by the Commission on Sentencing. “If we continue on the path we’re on now, we will be faced with a prison population that continues to increase along with increased state spending.”
“A thorough examination of our criminal justice system is long overdue,” Gov. Steve Bullock said Wednesday. “We must determine what is driving the growth in our prison population. We’re at a pivotal moment as our prison population nears capacity, and we must take a proactive and collaborative approach to establishing a more effective system that bolsters public safety.”
Idaho’s prison system met a key deadline in October to provide new training to all probation and parole staff on how to apply tailored sanctions for violations, better track offenders and make other changes designed to encourage offenders not to re-offend, state prisons chief Kevin Kempf reported to state lawmakers recently.
“An assessment of our programs found that in nine out of 12 of our programs—including our sex offender program, substance abuse program and cognitive behavior program—they did not have a sufficient amount of evidence that they work,” said Kevin Kempf, director of the Idaho Department of Correction.
Leaders from both parties joined Governor Steve Bullock on Wednesday, Nov. 18, to launch a comprehensive examination of Montana’s criminal justice system as the state faces a growing prison population and costly projections to expand capacity.
In 2012, West Virginia’s governor and legislative leaders faced some dire challenges. The state had the highest drug overdose death rate in the country, funding for treatment in the community was scarce, everyone from prosecutors to judges was clamoring for more treatment for people with substance use issues who were going through the courts, and supervision failures often stemming from substance use were fueling growth in the prison population, which was rising faster than nearly every other state in the nation.
When Kevin Kempf became director of the Idaho Department of Correction in December 2014, he knew he needed to take a hard look at the nearly $10 million the department spends annually on programs to reduce recidivism among the 22,000 people in prison or on probation and parole supervision.
The Justice Reinvestment in Montana Overview highlights recent criminal justice trends in Montana that the Montana Commission on Sentencing and the CSG Justice Center staff will be exploring in coming months as part of the state’s justice reinvestment efforts.
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.
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.