The Council of State Governments Justice Center recently released a report describing how 17 states have effectively reduced recidivism and corrections costs through justice reinvestment strategies. Justice reinvestment relies on a comprehensive analysis of criminal justice data and research to develop the most effective corrections policies.
The report highlights six lessons these states learned from their justice reinvestment strategies, which helped them reduce corrections costs and growing prison and supervision populations, while also enhancing public safety. The six lessons are:
- Conduct a comprehensive data analysis. Examining data on crime, arrest, conviction, sentencing, jail, prison, and probation and parole supervision better equips policymakers to identify the root causes of population growth and to invest in services and resources that will be most effective in reducing recidivism.
- Engage in diverse constituencies. By consulting a broad range of experts, officials, and criminal justice stakeholders, states can accurate diagnose systemic issues and effectively respond to them.
- Focus on the people most likely to reoffend. With scare resources, policymakers need to focus incarceration, treatment programs, and supervision priorities on the people most likely to commit future crimes; this will yield the biggest return on investment for public safety.
- Reinvest in high-performing programs. Savings generated by new policies should be redirected into strategies that have been shown to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.
- Strengthen community supervision. Because the community supervision population is twice as high as prison and jail populations, their programs and budgets need to be strengthened.
- Incentivize performance. If state agencies save money by lowering the number of prison admissions while protecting public safety, some of those savings should be invested in those agencies.
Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Hawaii, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states developed these effective justice reinvestment strategies with the help of the Justice Center, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Pew Charitable Trusts. BI Incorporated has worked with many of these states, such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania, to employ justice reinvestment strategies. BI has specifically helped develop high-performing treatment and parole programs that help reduce corrections costs and reduce recidivism rates.