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.

State policymakers are grappling with a unique combination of public safety challenges, including upticks in violent crime, the opioid epidemic, people who have mental illnesses in the justice system, high rates of recidivism, and the high cost of corrections, all while trying to improve services for victims and increase opportunities for people returning to communities from jail and prison. To tackle these issues, more than 30 states have partnered with the CSG Justice Center to use the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI).

JRI is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and utilizes criminal justice, behavioral health, and other reentry experts from the CSG Justice Center to

  • Collect data that is often siloed and under-analyzed to spotlight the most pressing trends and drivers of crime, recidivism, and costs;
  • Meet with a range of stakeholders and assess statutes, policies, and current practices;
  • Deliver findings and recommendations to state leaders and stakeholders in clear, compelling, and actionable presentations;
  • Help address implementation challenges once changes are adopted; and
  • Establish an ongoing data monitoring process.

States receiving technical assistance from the CSG Justice Center

Justice Reinvestment News

Key Staff


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Ellen Whelan-Wuest
Program Director, State Initiatives
Ellen Whelan-Wuest provides policy research, analysis, and technical assistance to states going through the Justice Reinvestment process. Previously, she worked for the county manager in Durham, North Carolina, where she served on the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee and researched issues
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relating to medical care costs for the county jail system and the youth home detention facility. Ellen also worked as the Brooklyn director for a New York State Senator, and as a special assistant to the state director for a U.S. Senator in Chicago. Ellen holds a BA in Latin American history and sociology from Middlebury College, and an MA in public policy from Duke University.
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    Michelle Rodriguez
    Deputy Program Director, State Initiatives
    Michelle Rodriguez provides policy research, analysis, and technical assistance to states undergoing the Justice Reinvestment process. Michelle has worked on Justice Reinvestment projects in Rhode Island, North Dakota, and New Mexico. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, she worked
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    at Casey Family Programs, where she coordinated services to youth, young adults, and families involved in the child welfare system. Earlier in her career, Michelle was a mitigation specialist with the King County Office of Public Defense. In that role, she transitioned between the felony, mental health, and juvenile court systems to develop individual sentencing alternatives. Michelle received her BS in psychology and criminal justice at Seattle University and her MSW from the University of Washington.
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    Alison Martin
    Deputy Program Director, State Initiatives
    Alison Martin leads project management for states implementing Justice Reinvestment legislation, helping states adopt and measure research-driven corrections and community supervision policies and practices that reduce recidivism. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, Alison worked as a postdoctoral research
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    associate at the National Institute of Justice, where she was the lead investigator on projects related to the criminal justice response to crimes against American Indian and Alaska Native women. Alison also has experience conducting research on corrections, including topics such as prison violence, reentry, recidivism, and restorative justice. She earned her BS in public policy and administration from James Madison University and her MS and PhD in justice, law, and society from American University. 
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