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This paper does a great job in explaining how your criminal justice system can greatly reduce incarceration while ensuring community safety. "We [the authors] argue that states should reevaluate their policy choices and reduce the scope and severity of several of the sentencing practices that they have implemented over the past twenty-five or thirty years. We propose that states introduce a greater degree of discretion into their sentencing and parole practices through two specific reforms: (1) a reduction in the scope and severity of truth-in-sentencing laws that mandate that inmates serve minimum proportions of their sentences, and (2) a reworking and, in many instances, abandonment of mandatory minimum sentences. We also propose that states create incentives for localities to limit their use of state prison systems" (p. 2). Five chapters follow an abstract: introduction; mass incarceration in the United States; a proposal to reduce incarceration through smarter use of prisons; questions and concerns; and conclusion.

A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime Cover

“The ill-conceived War on Drugs and the overly harsh sentences imposed for low-level offenses have affected almost every area of our criminal justice system, from over policing to sentencing and re-entry. As a result, the disproportionate number of minorities and low-income individuals that encounter our criminal justice system face numerous barriers to successful re-entry when attempting to reintegrate into society. This report examines the consequences of these practices and makes a series of policy recommendations regarding their reform. While it is beyond the scope of the report to examine policy solutions to address racial disparities and the disparate impact on low-income individuals entering the criminal justice system, it examines some of the many challenges faced by individuals reintegrating into society and offers policy suggestions” (p. 5). Seven chapters comprise this report: introduction to the problem of mass incarceration; navigating life after re-entry; the dirty little secret of exorbitant prison phone rates; education works, there needs to be more of it; out of prison, out of work; and when millions of Americans aren’t allowed to vote, it’s bad for the citizen and bad for the community. A conclusion and recommendations finish off this report.

A Second Chance: Charting a New Course for Re-Entry and Criminal Justice Reform Cover

"Moving knowledge about evidence-based practices (EBPs) from research into practice in the justice and treatment systems is essential for improving both offender (client-level) and system-level outcomes. The Criminal Justice Targeted Research and Application of Knowledge (CJ-TRAK) website is home to several decision-support tools designed to facilitate knowledge translation in the justice/treatment system for justice-involved populations." The RNR Simulation Tool can be used to figure out what programing is needed by your agency to effectively reduce recidivism. This tool is composed of three portals: Assess an Individual; The RNR Program Tool for Adults; and Assess Jurisdiction's Capacity. SOARING2 is an e-learning program that provides corrections professionals with knowledge and skills they need to use EBP effectively in managing offenders. The training system is comprised of five modules: Risk-Need-Responsivity; Motivation and Engagement; Case Planning; Problem Solving; and Desistance. The final instrument is the Evidence Mapping (EMTAP) Tool. The EMTAP synthesizes meta-analyses and systematic reviews on what works in correctional health services. It "allows users to examine the outcomes, settings, populations studied, and methods at a glance" that match their selected offender area.

CJ-TRAK Knowledge Translation Tool Suite Cover

This report is for anyone interested in the challenges associated with incarcerated youth. The Justice Policy Institute “discovered that adjusting funding schemes was just one of many successful strategies for juvenile confinement reform and, in fact, there are many states that have significantly reduced their juvenile confined populations without fiscal reform. States have initiated top-down policy changes, requiring police and courts to treat juveniles differently, resulting in fewer youth confined. Others have simply closed their state’s juvenile correctional facilities, forcing judges to adopt less restrictive responses to juvenile delinquency. What follows is a critical analysis of those elements that appeared to contribute to the greatest reductions in rates of confinement over the past decade” (p. 3). Sections of this report include: introduction; measuring reform—focus on juvenile confinement; the national perspective in confinement, 2001 to 2010; common elements among states that were the “top performers”; brief data analysis of these five states—Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Arizona; and recommendations.

› Common Ground: Lessons Learned from Five States that Reduced Juvenile Confinement by More than Half Cover

A “framework that identifies the characteristics and competencies that paroling authorities must have to be effective in implementing evidence-based practices in the context of transition programs and services” is presented (p.8). These sections follow an executive summary: introduction; the impact of history on current reform efforts; the key elements of the parole process—the institutional, reentry, community, and discharge phases; the foundation of system effectiveness—evidence-based practice, organizational development, and collaboration; moving forward; and conclusion. An appendix lists intermediate and process measures for implementation.

Comprehensive Framework for Paroling Authorities in an Era of Evidence-Based Practice Cover

The impact of external and internal forces on “corrections policy innovation in which measures to control prison populations and enhance service delivery were implemented despite challenging institutional and social environments” is examined (p. 2). This is good reading for those agencies looking to implement their own strategies for correctional system reform. This report contains these sections: introduction; the context and dynamics of corrections reform—expanding capacity (1980 to early 1990s), addressing prison growth (early 1990-2005), and implementing broader correctional reforms (2006 to the present); context and design of the Kansas Offender Risk Reduction and Reentry Program (KOR3P) and Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative (MPRI); documenting organizational change—domains of change within the DOC and beyond and similarities and differences in design and implementation of the reforms; emerging challenges and constraints; and conclusion and recommendations.

Context and Impact of Organizational Changes in State Corrections Agencies: A Study of Local Discourses and Practices in Kansas and Michigan Cover

"This report presents "statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2014, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail. The report describes the size and change in the total correctional population during 2014. It details the downward trend in the correctional population and correctional supervision rate since 2007. It also examines the impact of changes in the community supervision and incarcerated populations on the total correctional population in recent years. Findings cover the variation in the size and composition of the total correctional population by jurisdiction at yearend 2014. Appendix tables provide statistics on other correctional populations and jurisdiction-level estimates of the total correctional population by correctional status and sex for select years. Highlights: Adult correctional systems supervised an estimated 6,851,000 persons at yearend 2014, about 52,200 fewer offenders than at yearend 2013; About 1 in 36 adults (or 2.8% of adults in the United States) was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2014, the lowest rate since 1996; The correctional population has declined by an annual average of 1.0% since 2007; The community supervision population (down 1.0%) continued to decline during 2014, accounting for all of the decrease in the correctional population; [and] The incarcerated population (up 1,900) slightly increased during 2014."

Correctional Populations In The United States, 2014 cover

Budget reductions don’t discriminate. Correctional agencies are being hit hard in these tough economic times with no relief from mandates. Prisons, jails, and community corrections are all faced with increasing workloads, combined with diminishing resources. Amid the worsening financial crisis, there are opportunities to implement evidence-based strategies that can maximize resources while preserving public safety.

This 3-hour program provides an overview of opportunities that can help correctional organizations stay afloat in the current environment. Participants will be able to: explore the events and decisions that have contributed to the current fiscal crisis facing corrections; identify strategies for successfully managing operations with evidence-based practices; describe safe, effective criminal justice models that maximize resources while maintaining public safety; and identify partnerships for accessing community resources that can help corrections address challenges.</p>

Corrections Budgets in Free Fall: Finding Opportunities in Turbulent Times Cover

“This dynamic analysis tool allows you to examine National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) on inmates under the jurisdiction of both federal and state correctional authorities … The pre-set Quick Tables show you trends in prisoner statistics and provide links to key tables in the most recent BJS publication on the U.S. prisoner population. If you would like more detail, use the Custom Tables to analyze yearend populations, admissions, or releases. You can create custom tables of yearend populations by the number of inmates in custody or under legal jurisdiction, those held in the custody of private facilities and local jails, the imprisonment rate of prisoners sentenced to more than 1 year, and noncitizens and juveniles in prison. You can customize tables of prison admissions or releases by many variables. All custom tables can be analyzed further by the prisoner’s sex.” Access is provided to: User's Manual; quick tables; custom tables; methodology; definitions; supporting documents; and FAQs.

Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool Cover

This article examines the major considerations to be taken when performing a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This process is illustrated by showing how the costs and benefits are determined for the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation. Sections discuss: the market for crime; cost-benefit analysis in criminology--alternative explanations, or counterfactuals, whose benefits count, and variable estimates; the MADCE; what the MADCE impact evaluation found; measuring the costs and benefits of drug courts; adding up the costs and benefits; what the MADCE CBA found; and improving CBAs in criminology. “The CBA performed in the MADCE study demonstrates that criminal justice reforms can have tangible, positive benefits, including fewer crimes and more savings in victimization costs” (p. 6).

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Criminal Justice Reforms Cover


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