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 Missouri state leaders, the CSG Justice Center is working on several key criminal justice initiatives to increase public safety, including Face to Face, Stepping Up, and Justice Reinvestment.
Justice Reinvestment in Missouri
In May 2017, the CSG Justice Center embarked on a Justice Reinvestment approach in Missouri to help state leaders identify and address the most pressing criminal justice and behavioral health system challenges.
Violent crime in Missouri has risen in recent years, while arrests for these crimes have declined. At the same time, Missouri’s prison population continues to swell, driven mostly by admissions for supervision violations, many of which are technical violations, and admissions for prison-based behavioral health treatment, which research shows is less effective than community-based treatment. If the current rate of growth in Missouri’s prison population is not slowed, the state will need to build two new prison facilities by FY2021, which will cost nearly half a billion dollars in combined construction and operating costs.
To address these challenges, Missouri leaders requested and received support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) in May 2017 to utilize a Justice Reinvestment approach to study the state’s criminal justice system, with intensive technical assistance from The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. The bipartisan Missouri State Justice Reinvestment Task Force—which included designees from all three branches of government and state and local criminal justice system stakeholders—was formed to support this work.
The task force worked with CSG Justice Center staff to review analyses and develop policy options to reduce violent crime, improve community-based treatment, reduce recidivism, and invest in strategies to increase public safety. Many of these policies are reflected in HB 1355, which was signed into law in June 2018.
This comprehensive Justice Reinvestment legislation aims to provide resources to local law enforcement to help reduce violent crime, increase community-based treatment for people in the criminal justice system who have substance addictions and mental illnesses, and increase support for victims, among other measures.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: Overview (July 11, 2017): This publication outlines several criminal justice trends in Missouri, including an increase in violent crime; a rapidly growing female prison population; and prison admissions that are largely driven by recidivism, and summarizes the stages involved in utilizing a justice reinvestment approach to address these trends.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: First Presentation (July 12, 2017): The first presentation to the Missouri State Justice Reinvestment Task Force introduces the justice reinvestment process and explains how it prioritizes public safety.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: Second Presentation (September 20, 2017): The second presentation to the Missouri State Justice Reinvestment Task Force focuses on the findings and policy recommendations related to reentry in Missouri, including how people are prepared to leave prison, parole policies and practices, and probation and parole supervision practices in the community.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: Third Presentation (October 24, 2017): The third presentation to the Missouri State Justice Reinvestment Task Force focuses on findings and policy recommendations related to recidivism, violent crime and victimization, the female prison population, and the challenges law enforcement faces in Missouri.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: Fourth Presentation (November 28, 2017): The fourth presentation to the Missouri State Justice Reinvestment Task Force focuses on findings and policy proposals related to jail population trends, the pretrial system, and approaches to reducing crime and recidivism in Missouri.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: Fifth Presentation (December 13, 2017): The fifth presentation to the Missouri State Justice Reinvestment Task Force focuses on findings and policy recommendations related to behavioral health challenges in Missouri that pertain to people in the state’s criminal justice system. The presentation also includes final policy options for the task force to consider and act upon.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: Policy Framework (May 22, 2018): The final report of the CSG Justice Center outlines policy recommendations developed in collaboration with the Missouri Justice Reinvestment Task Force. Among other things, these policies aim to reduce violent crime, increase the availability and effectiveness of community-based treatment for substance addiction and mental illnesses for people in the criminal justice system, and reduce recidivism.
- Justice Reinvestment in Missouri: Lowering Recidivism by Improving Supervision, Enhancing Connections to Services, and Addressing Violent Crime (November 27, 2018): After using a Justice Reinvestment approach, Missouri passed legislation that will help local law enforcement combat violent crime, ensure that risk assessment results drive key decisions about people on community supervision, provide better community-based treatment and services for people on probation or parole who have behavioral health conditions, and strengthen infrastructure to support victims of crime. This publication presents a summary of the Justice Reinvestment process and legislation.
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