As a continuation of the 50-State Summit on Public Safety held in November 2017 in Washington, DC, multiple states have been selected by the U.S Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to host individual state forums on public safety. Earlier this month, Vermont and Ohio became the first states to hold their forums, each of which was facilitated by staff from the CSG Justice Center.
Justice Reinvestment Posts
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed legislation on March 30 making his state the first in the country to require all of its counties to collect data pertaining to courts, jails, policing, and prisons in a statewide system that is publicly accessible.
As a result of justice reinvestment legislation passed in Georgia in mid-2017, 17,570 active felony probation cases were moved to unsupervised status later that year, and more active cases continue to be transitioned at a steady pace. Probation officer caseload sizes have also decreased from an average of 170 people on active probation in 2016 to an average of 130 currently.
Alabama state leaders have appropriated $26.5 million in the FY2019 budget to support justice reinvestment legislation enacted in 2015. This includes $18.5 million to hire probation and parole officers and staff and expand behavioral health community-based treatment and services, as well as $8 million to support community corrections programs (CCPs). This appropriation brings Alabama’s total reinvestment between FY2016 and FY2019 to $95.6 million.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (right) recently signed two major pieces of criminal justice legislation that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature: HB 4012 and SB 2371. Together, these bills represent the most significant changes to the state’s criminal justice system in decades.
Recently, the U.S. Congress approved the $1.3 trillion Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill that would set government funding through Sep. 30, 2018. The bill provides $30.3 billion for the Department of Justice and includes $2.9 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.
Arkansas’s first crisis stabilization unit (CSU) opened in Sebastian County on March 1 with high praise from Governor Asa Hutchinson. This center, which will provide services to people experiencing mental health crises, is the first of four such centers planned across the state. Officials are hopeful that it will serve as a model that other states can follow.
Victim restitution can be a vitally important part of a crime victim’s recovery, yet is often poorly understood and managed by states. Very few states have been able to show substantial progress in improving restitution, but Hawaii has done so and has the data to prove it. This success story was highlighted at the National Association of Attorneys General annual winter meeting in February in Washington, DC, in the panel discussion “Helping Crime Victims Recover from Financial Losses.”
While many approaches were touted, governors urged the use of research-based strategies proven to be effective, including technical skill and workforce development programs as well as addiction and mental health treatment provided during incarceration.
The Council of State Governments (CSG) recently announced that Megan Quattlebaum, research scholar in law at Yale University Law School and lecturer in law at Columbia University Law School, will be the next director of The CSG Justice Center.
In 2017, states continued to adopt cost-effective and data-driven solutions to improve public safety. Bipartisan majorities in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, and Rhode Island all successfully enacted historic policy changes to their adult criminal justice systems after conducting intensive data analysis through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.
On Nov. 13 and 14, state and local leaders from all 50 states convened in Washington, DC, for the 50-State Summit on Public Safety. Sponsored by The Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Association of State Correctional Administrators, the summit prepared state leaders to develop effective solutions that elected officials at all levels of government can support to solve public safety challenges.
Corrections directors, state legislators, law enforcement officials and behavioral health professionals from all 50 states recently gathered at The 50-State Summit on Public Safety, an event designed to help critical leaders examine individual state trends in crime, arrests, corrections populations, addiction and mental health, and ultimately develop integrated approaches to addressing their unique challenges.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has announced the recipients of this year’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Maximizing State Reforms awards. The JRI Maximizing award began in FY2014. Under the grant program, states may apply to receive up to $1,750,000 over a period of 36 months.
On October 5, 2017, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed a package of justice reinvestment bills, which are expected to improve the state’s criminal justice system by supporting rehabilitation and informed decision making in sentencing, probation, and parole.
“These crisis stabilization units promise to provide a great deal of help to our state, not merely in helping [alleviate] jail overcrowding and assisting our first-responders, but also in making sure that those who need help are more likely to get it,” Governor Hutchinson said.
The Pennsylvania Justice Reinvestment Working Group recently released a comprehensive report that details how the state can increase public safety by strengthening probation supervision, improving access to substance use treatment programs and expanding available responses for parole violations, while reducing its prison population by more than 1,000 people.
North Dakota Presiding District Court Judge Frank Racek is calling for state leaders to work together to transform the current system for delivering community-based services to people in the criminal justice system to one that follows risk, needs, and responsivity principles. Judge Racek argues that the system for delivering rehabilitative treatment must focus on people’s individual criminogenic needs; assess people promptly to help inform decisions and create action plans; respond to program participants’ setbacks appropriately; and, evaluate programs regularly to ensure that they’re effective.
In the spring of 2017, Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed a series of bills that were developed as part of a justice reinvestment approach and are expected to significantly improve the state’s criminal justice system.
For years, Idaho Department of Correction leaders believed they were running a top-notch corrections program. But an evaluation of their programming upended that notion and compelled then Director Kevin Kempf to make some tough choices to bring about change.
On May 9, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation to strengthen probation practices. Faced with the highest probation rate in the country, Georgia engaged in a justice reinvestment process to safely reduce the number of people on probation while improving supervision strategies to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation on April 21 that enables the state to appropriate $7 million from the general fund to increase the quality of community-based behavioral health treatment for people in the criminal justice system and an additional half a million dollars to increase the number of treatment providers to serve this population, which can significantly reduce recidivism and improve public health outcomes.
In 2012, probation officers began using short jail sanctions as a swift response to minor violations. A recent study conducted by the state found that people who received the short jail sanctions were one-third less likely to be revoked to prison than the comparison group.
On behalf of the U.S. Action Network, Public Opinion Strategies conducted a survey of 500 Pennsylvania voters about the state’s criminal justice system in January 2017. Respondents included Republicans and Democrats from urban, suburban, and rural parts of the state.
On March 8, state leaders from Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina convened at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. to discuss how these states have used the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI)—an approach designed to reduce spending on corrections and reinvest in more effective strategies to reduce recidivism and bolster public safety.
Arizona spent $100 million annually in 2008 to revoke people from probation to state prison. After adopting new evidence-based policies and practices, revocations are down 29 percent and new felony convictions by probationers have dropped by 21 percent, saving taxpayers more than $392 million over the past eight years.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center is currently engaged in justice reinvestment efforts in several states across the country. Here are some recent highlights of the work that is underway.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter is supporting a recommendation from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to spend $11.2 million to provide community-based mental health services to about 7,400 people on felony probation and parole.
Governors from West Virginia, Arkansas, and North Dakota recently pointed to criminal justice reform work that the CSG Justice Center has done in in their states.
Four years after enacting justice reinvestment legislation, Pennsylvania can point to significant improvements in its criminal justice system. The state has reduced inefficiencies in its parole and corrections systems; developed responses to major parole violations that include short periods of incarceration followed by supervision and treatment, as necessary; and made changes to state-funded community corrections programs.
Leading a statewide effort to reform criminal justice policies can be daunting because the stakes are high for everyone involved. That is why many state leaders turn to a data-driven justice reinvestment approach to identify the drivers of rising corrections costs and develop state-specific solutions that reduce corrections spending and reinvest a portion of those savings into strategies that can reduce recidivism.
This report, a compilation of a national survey of state parole boards and the U.S. Parole Commission, is a resource for parole and correctional authorities, policymakers, and other criminal justice system stakeholders who are interested in seeing how parole boards across the country compare with one another.
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 tragedies of the past week weigh heavily on us. As public safety officials in our respective states, we were outraged to see the very people working to protect the public murdered because of the uniform they wear. We also feel deeply for residents of communities who, because of the color of their skin, fear the people who have sworn an oath to protect them.
This report, from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, includes initial analyses and findings of performance measures related to the implementation of North Carolina’s Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) of 2011, which changed the state’s sentencing laws and correctional practices substantially
A new bipartisan Justice Reinvestment Working Group composed of members from all three branches of Pennsylvania’s government met for the first time on March 9 at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg for a presentation by The Council of State Governments Justice Center on pressing criminal justice issues in the state.
This report includes the written and oral testimony that W. David Guice, Commissioner of the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, gave to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary on February 10, 2016.
After enacting justice reinvestment legislation, North Carolina and Pennsylvania embarked on extensive statewide supervision staff training aimed at improving supervision practices. This Q&A discussion with two agency administrators may benefit other jurisdictions considering similar approaches.
“We welcome this opportunity to further review our criminal justice system and build on our work to reduce recidivism and to ensure that spending on corrections is as cost-effective as possible, while adhering to our high standards of public safety,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said.
In collaboration with The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, Massachusetts held the first in a series of working group meetings on Tuesday, January 12 that will examine the state’s criminal justice system with the goal of using a justice reinvestment approach to reduce recidivism, curb corrections spending, and improve public safety.
The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center partners with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to propose solutions that will help local officials faced with heavy dockets, overwhelmed treatment services, and antiquated jail facilities and management information systems.
Faced with one of the highest violent crime rates in the country in 2010, Oklahoma state policymakers created the Safe Oklahoma Grant Program to fund law enforcement-led strategies to reduce violent crime as part of the state’s justice reinvestment effort. Between 2013 and 2015, almost $4 million was distributed to more than a dozen local law enforcement agencies to help implement new or enhance existing data-driven policing strategies.
In 2014, leaders in Nebraska asked The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to help the state tackle prison overcrowding using a justice reinvestment approach. Victim advocates in the state were actively engaged in the process, and the justice reinvestment legislation signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts in May 2015 is projected to increase the amount of victim restitution collected by $2.8 million over the next five years.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center met with the bipartisan Arkansas Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force recently to launch a study of Arkansas’s criminal justice system, with a particular focus on the sources of the state’s rapid prison population growth.
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.
In an effort to curb corrections spending, reduce recidivism, and improve public safety, Massachusetts state leaders announced the formation of a 25-member bipartisan working group that will partner with The Council of State Governments Justice Center to review the state’s criminal justice system.
The national prison population fell 1 percent from 2013 to 2014—down 15,400 to 1,561,500—making it the smallest total prison population since 2005.
Alabama state leaders celebrated a victory in September when the Legislature voted to allocate $16 million of the state’s General Fund budget to jumpstart wide-ranging justice reinvestment legislation enacted earlier this year.
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.
After years of pursuing separate approaches to providing supervision and treatment, Kansas has become a national leader in providing integrated services to people on probation and parole who need mental health or substance use treatment.
Programs that are effective at reducing recidivism have three core elements in common: they target people who are most likely to reoffend (who); they use practices rooted in the latest research on what works to reduce recidivism (what); and they regularly review program quality and evaluate how closely the program adheres to its established model (how well).
Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama and Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska each signed legislation enacting reforms to their states’ correctional and criminal justice systems, completing yearlong processes of analysis and policy-making that began in June 2014.
More states than ever before are using actuarial risk assessment to determine the likelihood that people involved with the criminal justice system will reoffend. This information is critically important for developing case management plans for people in prison and on supervision, as well as to inform parole release decision making and determine the intensity of supervision and programming for people upon release from prison.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley last week signed into law historic criminal justice reforms designed to significantly reduce the state’s prison population and bolster public safety through an overhaul of how people are supervised after being released from incarceration.
After decades of looking the other way while prison populations swelled and conditions deteriorated, the Alabama Legislature took a major step toward meaningful prison reform this week.
The Alabama Legislature today overwhelmingly approved a bill intended to reduce overcrowding in Alabama prisons.
The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center delivered separate reports to Nebraska and Washington last month outlining potential policy changes as state government leaders consider making significant changes to their criminal justice systems.
During their recent State of the State addresses, governors across the country talked about criminal justice reforms in their states, including justice reinvestment, which is a data-driven approach to reduce corrections spending and reinvest a portion of the savings in strategies that can reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
In his 2015 State of the State address, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter highlighted his administration’s progress in establishing more effective community supervision practices and reducing recidivism through implementation of the state’s Justice Reinvestment Act.
In his 2015 State of the State address, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin highlighted his administration’s progress in expanding access to substance use treatment for individuals on supervision, a key component of the state’s Justice Reinvestment Act, which includes policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety.
Olympia, WA—Governor Jay Inslee, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, and a bipartisan group of state legislators accepted a justice reinvestment policy framework for the state’s criminal justice and corrections systems on Jan. 14, capping a year of interbranch research and cooperation. […]
Members of Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature convened to review proposals for tackling state prison overcrowding while also addressing the rights of victims and increasing public safety.
The bipartisan Washington State Justice Reinvestment Taskforce voted on December 5 to adopt a set of policy options developed to address issues in the state’s criminal justice system.
Co-hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, the three-day event, “Justice Reinvestment National Summit: Sustaining Success, Maintaining Momentum,” aimed to give participants an opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences with justice reinvestment, an approach designed to reduce corrections spending and reinvest in strategies that can reduce recidivism and improve public safety.
Three years after enacting comprehensive reforms to its criminal justice system, North Carolina is showing significant signs of success from its data-driven, “justice reinvestment” approach, according to a report released today by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center.
The CSG Justice Center launched justice reinvestment projects in several states earlier this year. Take a look at what’s being done in Alabama, Nebraska, and Washington.
States that work with the Council of State Governments Justice Center on justice reinvestment must, at a minimum, build a spreadsheet that captures essential correctional metrics such as admissions, releases, and average daily population.
As part of West Virginia’s justice reinvestment approach to controlling prison growth, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced in May the award of $1.26 million in grants to expand substance use treatment and services for individuals at risk of failing on probation or parole.
Approximately 45 percent of the parole population for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole is estimated to have a current or past mental disorder, ranging from depression to schizophrenia.
In this video clip, members of the West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary receive an update on implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act during August interim meetings in Bridgeport, West Virginia.
Nearly 100 criminal justice stakeholders came together in Lansing recently as part of a Michigan Law Revision Commission (MLRC) forum to address challenges in Michigan’s sentencing and criminal justice systems.
Business executives and policymakers found common ground during a meeting at the White House on Monday designed to review ways in which government can help—or hinder—efforts to improve employment outcomes for people with criminal records.
In an effort to improve public safety, avert prison growth, and reinvest savings in strategies that can reduce recidivism, Washington Governor Jay Inslee joined state leaders in June 2014 to launch a comprehensive study of the state’s criminal justice system.
In an effort to avert prison growth, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Chief Justice Michael Heavican, and Speaker of the Unicameral Legislature Greg Adams joined together with the CSG Justice Center in June to launch a comprehensive study of the state’s criminal justice system using Justice Reinvestment.
Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV) joined Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to discuss their states’ progress in reducing recidivism and cutting corrections costs.
Earlier this year, the Alabama legislature passed a joint resolution (SJR 20) creating the bipartisan Prison Reform Task Force, which is made up of 26 people representing all three branches of government and agencies across the state’s criminal justice system.
In state-of-the-state addresses across the country this year, governors noted significant improvements to their states’ criminal justice systems. No longer solely focused on imposing tougher penalties for all crimes, states are increasingly making efforts to strengthen community supervision and use […]
As part of implementing the state’s justice reinvestment legislation, which Governor Sam Brownback signed into law in May 2013, Kansas has allocated this upfront “reinvestment” to hire 40 experienced service providers in community corrections departments and community-based organizations throughout Kansas to increase access to behavioral health treatment for people on probation.
Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed legislation (SB 1357) into law on March 19, 2014 aimed at containing the cost of corrections, reducing recidivism, and increasing public safety.
On January 14, 2014, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) hosted the Building Bridges Revisited summit, which brought together some 275 government officials, state policymakers, community members, and advocates to discuss ways to improve criminal justice policies in the state.
On January 16, 2014 Congress passed the $1 trillion omnibus federal spending package, which includes a $51.6 billion Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill. Under this bill, the Second Chance Act would receive $67.7 million in funding, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) would receive $8.2 million, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative would receive $27.5 million, which includes $1 million for the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections.
In his 2014 State of the State address, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin highlighted his administration’s progress in implementing the Justice Reinvestment Act, which includes policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety.
On December 2, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) began offering a range of new reentry services to people on parole in the Commonwealth to help them succeed when returning to the community after incarceration.
Recently, Alabama state leaders from all three branches of government and criminal justice stakeholders, including judges, prosecutors, and public defenders, attended the Smart on Crime Reentry Policy Summit to explore opportunities to address the state’s overcrowded prisons and high rates of recidivism.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) and the Vermont Department of Corrections (Vermont DOC) have launched the Vermont Corrections Dashboard, an innovative template for quarterly reports to summarize key data for the corrections agency, including change in corrections populations, recidivism indicators, and average length of stay.
Leaders in Idaho recently held a kickoff event to launch their “Justice Reinvestment Initiative.” Justice reinvestment is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to developing and implementing policies to control corrections spending and reinvest a portion of the savings in strategies to […]
On April 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office for Victims of Crime presented Pamela Ferguson-Brey, Executive Director of the Hawaii Crime Victim Compensation Commission (CVCC), with the Crime Victims Financial Restoration Award.
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North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signs the Justice Reinvestment Act (House Bill 642).
State leaders announce kickoff of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Oklahoma.
Hawaii Justice Reinvestment Bill Signing
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announces the launch of Justice Reinvestment in West Virginia.
Hawaii leaders today released a report on how to reduce corrections and increase public safety.
In his successful 2010 campaign for the governor’s office of Vermont, then-Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin declared a “war on recidivism.”