COVID-19 Assistance for the Justice Community
The ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires policymakers and criminal justice practitioners to rapidly adapt their day-to-day operations to the situation at hand. While the pace and scale of the crisis can be overwhelming, the CSG Justice Center is committed more than ever to supporting its members—state and local officials working in all three branches of government in criminal and juvenile justice, behavioral health, housing, and labor.
In partnership with Idaho state leaders, the CSG Justice Center is working on several key criminal justice initiatives to increase public safety, including Stepping Up and Justice Reinvestment.
Justice Reinvestment in Idaho
In 2013, the CSG Justice Center embarked on a Justice Reinvestment approach in Idaho to help state leaders identify and address the most pressing criminal justice system challenges.
In 2012, Idaho’s crime rate was among the lowest in the nation, but recidivism had increased between FY2008 and FY2012. Idaho’s prison population was projected to increase 16 percent between FY2014 and FY2019. From 2013 to 2014, the CSG Justice Center worked with Idaho state leaders to develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce spending on corrections and increase public safety. CSG Justice Center experts analyzed Idaho’s criminal justice data and interviewed stakeholders across the criminal justice system. State policymakers enacted justice reinvestment legislation in 2014. Among other things, the law:
- Strengthens supervision practices and programs designed to reduce recidivism and expands limited supervision caseloads for people who are assessed as least likely to reoffend and have complied with supervision conditions;
- Tailors sanctions for supervision violations, provides recidivism information at sentencing, and structures parole to make more productive use of prison space and increases the number of people released to parole supervision; and
- Assesses, tracks, and ensures the impact of recidivism-reduction strategies.
Idaho has benefitted from the passage of this legislation in multiple ways:
- As of December 2015, IDOC exceeded projections, housing 880 fewer individuals as a result of the justice reinvestment legislation (around 7,871 people). This represents a 3 percent decrease in the prison population between July 2014 and December 2015.
- It is estimated that the state has avoided spending approximately $14 million because of reduced bed needs (not including averted construction costs).
- As a result of these averted costs,
- $1.8 million was returned to Idaho’s General Fund this year;
- IDOC was able to close a unit at the Idaho Correctional Center; and
- All people housed in out-of-state prisons will be returned to Idaho by April 2016.
The Idaho State Legislature invested more than $5 million in improvements to its criminal justice system, including $2.4 million in community-based substance use treatment, and nearly the same amount in the hiring and training of probation and parole officers and the development of a web-based reporting system for limited supervision caseloads to support implementation of justice reinvestment efforts over two years (FY2015 and FY2016).
The CSG Justice Center provided technical assistance to Idaho on the implementation of its justice reinvestment policies. In particular, the CSG Justice Center helped Idaho redesign its programming system for people in prison and on supervision, implement swift and certain sanctions, and develop an evidence-based and research driven parole decision-making process.
- Justice Reinvestment in Idaho: Overview (June 18, 2013):
- Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group: First Presentation (June 18, 2013): Presentation of initial analyses, including a system assessment and big-picture trends delivered to the Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group on June 18, 2013 at the Idaho State Capitol in the Senate Majority Caucus Room.
- Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group: Second Meeting (August 29, 2013): Presentation of intermediate analyses, including the drivers of Idaho’s incarceration rate, what works to reduce recidivism, and Rider and other diversion strategies delivered to the Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group on August 29, 2013, at the Idaho State Capitol in the Large Auditorium.
- Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group: Third Meeting (October 31, 2013): Presentation of detailed analyses, including recidivism from supervision and diversion programs, information on how Idaho can lower recidivism by using best practices, and data on long and costly sanctions for revocations delivered to the Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group.
- Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group: Fourth Meeting (December 11, 2013): Presentation of strategies and policy options to reduce spending on corrections and increase public safety delivered to the Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group on December 11, 2013, at the Idaho State Capitol.
Justice Reinvestment in Idaho: Analyses and Policy Framework (January 16, 2014): If implemented, the package of policies outlined in the framework has the potential to generate significant savings in Idaho and estimates a 15-percent reduction in recidivism.
Idaho’s Justice Reinvestment Approach (September 29, 2014): Justice reinvestment legislation was enacted in March 2014 and the state is projected to avert between $221 and $288 million in construction and operating costs by FY2019.
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