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La Vigne, Nancy G.

“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.

Justice Reinvestment Initiative State Assessment Report Cover

“The program interviews Dr. Nancy G. La Vigne Director, Justice Policy Center, The Urban Institute regarding Justice Reinvestment. With state and local governments grappling with growing corrections costs and budget shortfalls, they are asking how they can reduce costs and get a better return on criminal justice investments while maintaining public safety. One answer is Justice Reinvestment, a collaborative, data-driven approach to criminal justice planning that yields savings that can be invested in evidence-based, prevention-oriented activities. Dr. La Vigne describes this complex but compelling model highlighting the experiences of 17 states and 16 localities.”

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“The federal prison population has risen dramatically over the past few decades, as more people are sentenced to prison and for longer terms. The result? Dangerously overcrowded facilities and an increasing expense to taxpayers. In [this] new Urban Institute report, the authors project the population and cost savings impact of a variety of strategies designed to reduce the inmate population without compromising public safety. They find that the most effective approach is a combination of strategies, including early release for current prisoners and reducing the length of stay for future offenders, particularly those convicted of drug trafficking.” Sections of this publication following an executive summary include: introduction to the impact of federal prison growth; understanding the federal prison population and drivers of growth—the main drivers being who goes to prison and for how long; policy options to ease growth and reduce costs—front-end changes and back-end changes; and conclusion.

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“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.

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