Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $5,301,579)
Despite states pouring more funds into their criminal justice systems, public safety outcomes remain poor – evidenced by the high recidivism rates across the country and minimal impacts on crime reduction. This, in addition to the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, has prompted states to examine the utility of their corrections investments. This inquiry requires a comprehensive data-driven analysis to identify costly areas of inefficiency and opportunities to reinvest in effective public safety strategies. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) model provides a mechanism for states to develop a comprehensive understanding of where resources are being directed with little impact on public safety and to identify strategies to reallocate resources to policies and practices that enhance public safety. Technical assistance for this model is requisite to equip states with the necessary information to make data-driven policy decisions but also to provide the support necessary to transform these decisions into law and practice through bi-partisan engagement and statewide education. The Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) at CRJ brings the experience and technical expertise necessary to provide such assistance.
Building on prior successes as a JRI partner, CJI proposes to provide technical assistance to two states as part of this award. The success of JRI lies in (1) bipartisan, inter-branch stakeholder engagement, (2) effective use of data to inform decisions, and (3) implementation support with the ability to measure ongoing performance. In Phase I, CJI will select and prepare states, conduct a qualitative and quantitative assessment to identify drivers of cost and reallocation opportunities, provide education on research and evidence-based practices, assist in the development of state policies to address JRI goals, and provide support for policy enactment including the development of policy impacts and cost projections. In Phase II, CJI will provide assistance with implementation and sustainability planning, will support efforts to measure the impact of policy changes, and will manage and monitor subaward funding awarded to states. CJI will also work with the states to build internal capacity to carry out the reforms and sustain them after the technical assistance ends.
With a track record of providing successful JRI training and technical assistance to 14 states across the country, as well as decades of experience developing evidence-based, data-driven policies, managing complex processes with diverse stakeholders, and driving systems-level organizational change, CJI is uniquely positioned to continue advancing the JRI model.