Governors highlight justice reform in annual state of the state addresses

Nationwide, governors highlighted justice reinvestment, a data-driven approach for lowering corrections spending, in recent state of the state addresses. In this approach, cost savings are partially reinvested in strategies for reducing recidivism and increasing public safety.

Examples from state addresses include:

  • Alabama’s state-run prisons, at over 195 percent capacity, are the most overcrowded nationwide. Gov. Robert Bentley committed to ending costly, dangerous, inefficient short-term fixes. Bentley highlighted Prison Reform Task Force (lawmakers, criminal justice leaders, judges, victims’ rights groups, etc.) efforts. This group recommended strengthening community-based supervision and treatment; prioritizing prison space for violent and dangerous offenders; and providing supervision to every person released from prison.
  • In Idaho, Gov. “Butch” Otter praised courts, legislators and executive agencies for “unprecedented collaboration” implementing the 2014 Justice Reinvestment Act. He encouraged legislative support for an “outstanding set of administrative rules” intended to improve public safety; reduce recidivism; and lower incarceration costs by improving post-release supervision with better sanctions.
  • In West Virginia, revocation to prison increased 47 percent from 2005-2011, with substance abuse a leading cause of failure to meet supervision conditions. The state has reinvested nearly $2.5 million in community-based substance abuse treatment and recovery services.
  • In South Dakota, justice reinvestment is focused on improving supervision outcomes. Prison population is flat, below projections, as a result.
  • In Georgia, justice reinvestment was highlighted as part of multistep criminal justice reform.
  • In Oklahoma justice reinvestment policies are being implemented.
  • In Nebraska, the governor highlighted reform as a priority, and lawmakers are considering several legislative initiatives.

GEO Reentry is the nation’s leader in safe, secure alternatives to detention and reentry services for offenders released to community treatment and supervision. GEO Reentry works closely with public corrections officials to achieve results that enhance public safety in a cost-effective, lasting manner. Today, GEO Reentry supports correctional agencies nationwide with flexible options such as residential housing and treatment, day reporting programs, and in-custody treatment and training.