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Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Prioritizing Prison Resources Where They Matter Most

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2023
2 pages

This brief publication by the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) discusses the Justice Reinvestment Initiative’s (JRI’s) prioritization of prison resources.


This publication by the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) discusses the allocation of prison resources through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a partnership with state leaders from all three branches of government committed to using criminal justice data to examine and improve their systems by implementing proven, innovative, and comprehensive approaches to reduce crime, cut recidivism rates, and shift resources toward more effective public safety strategies. A central goal for states engaging in JRI is to focus prison space on those who have committed serious, violent, or repeat offenses, freeing up resources to invest in more effective recidivism-reduction strategies. A key indicator of progress toward prioritizing prison resources where they matter is the increase in the proportion of a state’s prison population comprised of people convicted of violent offenses versus nonviolent offenses. Four states that received technical assistance from the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI), with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, enacted policies to achieve this goal. The main strategies to shift the composition of the states’ prison populations include 1) creating tiered penalties to address violent conduct based on severity; 2) focusing recidivism reduction resources on those most likely to reoffend; 3) prioritizing incentives to encourage completion of treatment, employment, and education programs; and 4) expanding parole eligibility for those convicted of nonviolent offenses.

Date Published: May 1, 2023