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Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Thinking Local for State Justice Reinvestment

NCJ Number
Elizabeth Davies; Samantha Harvell; Lindsey Cramer
Date Published
March 2015
15 pages
This policy brief considers the importance of collaboration with local justice partners in the formulation and implementation of a State-level Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which operates at both the State and local levels, helping jurisdictions examine corrections and related criminal justice spending, manage and allocate criminal justice populations in a more cost-effective manner, and reinvest savings in data-driven strategies that improve public safety.
The discussion emphasizes the importance of three actions in implementing JRIs: sharing data to identify and implement cost-saving solutions; partnering to promote successful policy implementation; and investing locally. First, one step toward most cost-effective policy solutions is understanding how the criminal justice system currently works. This requires collaboration and data-sharing between local and State agencies. Second, the successful implementation of most State-level policy solutions hinges on strong partnerships with local stakeholders, who control many daily criminal justice system operations. In many States, the majority of prison population drivers are influenced by decisions made by city and county agencies that often control arrest (police), charging (prosecution), sentencing (judges), detention (jail administrators, judges or pretrial programs), and violations or revocations of supervision (probation officers and judges). Third, many States involved in the JRI process are aware of potential local impacts and have acted to reduce the potential cost burden on localities by including funding provisions, implementing graduated sanctions grids or pretrial reforms, expanding earned discharge from probation and parole, and using a number of other strategies. 22 notes and 26 references
Date Published: March 1, 2015