“States across the country are increasingly seeking cost-effective and evidence-based strategies to enhance public safety and manage their corrections and supervision populations. One such effort emerged in the mid-2000s, when several states experimented with a criminal justice reform effort built on a foundation of bipartisan collaboration and data-driven policy development. This model—justice reinvest-ment—yielded promising results, supporting cost-effective, evidence-based policies projected to generate meaningful savings for states while maintaining a focus on public safety. In response to these early successes, Congress appropriated funds to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to launch the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) in 2010 in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew). The initiative formalized the process and provided both financial support and in-kind technical assistance for states to engage in this work. This report describes the JRI model and the experiences and interim outcomes in 17 participating JRI states: Arkansas, Delaware, Geor¬gia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Caro¬lina, South Dakota, and West Virginia” (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; the JRI Model described; population and cost drivers and responses; projected and preliminary outcomes; reinvestment; challenges; and concluding remarks and implications. The appendix provides case studies of the 17 participating states.
“This brief summarizes the efforts of states involved in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a program designed to identify and implement cost-efficient, evidence-based criminal justice reforms. To do so, jurisdictions use data analysis to identify criminal justice population and cost drivers and then develop policy options to reduce those drivers.” Correctional population and cost drivers include: parole and probation revocations; sentencing policies and practices; insufficient and ineffective community supervision and support; and parole system processing delays and denials. Strategies for reducing the costs related to these challenges include: risk and needs assessment; expansion or improvement of problem-solving courts; intermediate and graduated sanctions; increased use of evidence-based practices; expanded incentives, such as good time and earned credits; penalty changes; streamlines parole processes and expanded parole eligibility; expansion and increase in community-based treatment programs; mandatory supervision requirements; and accountability measures. The principle ways cost savings, resulting from improved justice systems, are reinvested are: reinvestment of tangible savings—funding based on the amount of costs that have been saved; up-front reinvestment--funding based on projected future savings; and reallocation—funding based on redirecting existing monies.
"Almost half of the 195,809 federally sentenced individuals in the Bureau of Prisons are serving time for drug trafficking offenses, but little is known about their criminal histories or the nature of their offenses. This brief examines both, finding that many people in federal prison for drug crimes have minimal or no criminal histories, and most were not convicted of violent or leading roles. Nonetheless, many serve long prison sentences due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Lasting reductions in the size of the federal prison population will require big cuts in length of stay for drug offenses" (home page). Sections of this brief cover: many drug offenders housed in federal prisons have little to no criminal histories; few are convicted of leading trafficking organizations or responsible for violent acts during drug trafficking crimes; long federal sentences are driven by mandatory minimums; and continued federal prison population reductions require shorter drug sentences.