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Corrections reform

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

"Faced with the most crowded prison system in the nation and overwhelmed probation and parole systems, state leaders in Alabama pursued justice reinvestment. After extensive analyses identified key challenges in the state’s criminal justice system, policymakers developed a policy framework designed to reduce prison overcrowding and strengthen community-based supervision. Justice reinvestment legislation was enacted in May 2015 and is projected to avert $380 million in construction and operations cost by FY2021." Sections of this brief include: overview; summary of justice reinvestment process—challenge, findings, and solutions; summary of SB 67 policies to strengthen community-based supervision and to reduce recidivism, prioritize prison space for violent and dangerous offenders, and ensure supervision for everyone upon release from prison, and expand victim notification; looking ahead; sustainability policies; and "Projected Impact of SB 67 on Alabama's Prison population" chart.

Alabama’s Justice Reinvestment Approach cover

This analysis covers supervision compliance outcomes of quick dips, two or three day periods of jail confinement in response to probation non-compliance. The purpose of quick dips, results, and implication are presented. Offenders who received quick dips were more likely to have positive supervision outcomes, less revocations in the follow-up period, and less absconding than the comparison group. Overall, quick dips are an effective quick and certain response to offender non-compliance.

Analysis Summary Short Term Cover

The use of cost-effective evidence-based practices to reduce offender recidivism, crime rates, and costs is explained. Strategies covered are: establish recidivism reductions as an explicit sentencing goal; provide sufficient flexibility to consider recidivism reduction options; base sentencing decisions on risk/needs assessment; require community corrections programs to be evidence-based; integrate services and sanctions; ensure courts know about available sentencing options; encourage swift and certain responses to probation violations; use court hearings and incentives to motivate offender behavior change; and promote effective collaboration among criminal justice agencies.

Arming the Courts with Research Cover

This brief presents information regarding pretrial and bail reform during 2013. Sections of this publication address: legislative activity; bail bond industry balks at attempts to collect forfeitures; some jurisdictions utilize pretrial services to ease jail crowding; corrupt bondsmen; and recommendations. "Overall, most jurisdictions continue to rely on money instead of scientifically measured public safety risk when it comes to pretrial release decisions. That practice, shown time and again to be ineffective, unfair and expensive, threatens public safety and puts money in the pockets of the for-profit bail bonding industry" (p. 1).

Bail Reform Update, 2013 Cover

"As broader acceptance of recent findings in the field of adolescent development has opened the way for change, juvenile justice policymakers, stakeholders, practitioners, and advocates across the country have not been slow to champion numerous innovations in policy and practice, generating remarkable momentum for reform. This momentum can be leveraged to change policy in five areas where current practice is fundamentally incompatible with healthy adolescent development … This document seeks to concisely frame these policies in light of the research on adolescent development, and thereby aid the juvenile justice reform field in taking strategic action to create a developmentally appropriate juvenile justice system that keeps everyone safer" (p. 4). Sections of this report cover: what we know about adolescent development and juvenile justice interventions—research findings showing that juveniles are different, fairness demands a new approach to youth offending, a developmental approach makes communities safer, and treating youth differently costs less; four recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings stating youth must be treated differently than adults; four lessons for juvenile justice policymakers from the National Research Council; five opportunities for developmentally appropriate policy change with descriptions of current practice, the developmental perspective, and the characteristics of a model system—prosecution of youth in the adult criminal system, solitary confinement, safeguarding confidentiality, registries for youth who commit sex offense, and courtroom shackling; and towards an age-appropriate justice system for young people.

Because Kids are Different: Five Opportunities for Reforming the Juvenile Justice System Cover

“During the past six years, Texas overhauled its juvenile corrections system, enacting a series of reforms that led to a significant reduction in the state-level committed population and yielded millions of dollars in cost savings while protecting public safety” (p. 1). Sections of this brief cover: problem; reforms—authorizing legislation, redirected resources, incentive funding, standardized tools, and streamlines system; and impact—commitments down, costs reduced $50 million per year, and public safety maintained.

Bending the Curve: Juvenile Corrections Reform in Texas cover

“[W]henever safe and appropriate, youth with mental health needs should be prevented from entering the juvenile justice system in the first place. For youth who do enter the system, a first option should be to refer them to effective treatment within the community. For those few who require placement, it is important to ensure that they have access to effective services while in care to help them re-enter society successfully” (p. 1). This paper explains how this can be done. Topics discussed include: the widespread mental health challenges associated with justice-involved youth; new scientific discoveries that can help these youth; the ways in which two states are taking the lead in helping these juveniles—Louisiana and Connecticut; and how more communities can use these strategies for youth with mental health needs involved with the juvenile justice system.

Better Solutions for Youth with Mental Health Needs in the Juvenile Justice System Cover

“In recent years, research has overwhelmingly shown the harmful effects of incarcerating children. In the short term, incarcerated children are subject to dangerous and abusive conditions, including physical abuse, sexual assault, and practices such as isolation, which can cause permanent psychological damage. These harmful conditions have been proven conclusively in 39 states. Long term, children who are locked up in juvenile correctional facilities are less likely to succeed in school or to find employment, and they are more likely to reoffend compared to similar children who are placed on probation or in alternative programs … With current research on deincarceration and successes in Ohio and other jurisdictions, the question is not whether states should engage in deincarceration strategies, but how to best implement strategies that have been shown to reduce youth incarceration while maintaining public safety. This report will explore Ohio’s evolution of deincarceration programs and, based on Ohio’s experiences, discuss decision points and options that other states and localities should consider when implementing new or modifying existing deincarceration programs to create the most positive outcomes for youth and communities” (p. 3). Ohio's juvenile deincarceration strategies have helped to reduce the juvenile corrections population from 2,500 youth in 1992 to fewer than 500 in 2015. This publication is divided into five sections: introduction; creating a climate for change—the start of Ohio's deincarceration efforts; support for local efforts—Ohio's array of deincarceration programs, such as RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors)--two subsidy program and three competitive programs; putting it all together—coordinating and analyzing Ohio's efforts—eight findings; and four recommendations.

Enhancing Care for Childbearing Women and their Babies in Prison cover


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