The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) is a data-driven process to improve public safety by helping jurisdictions make more effective and efficient use of criminal justice resources to address the complex factors that drive crime and recidivism. BJA funds site-based projects as well as state-level efforts. JRI is a public-private partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts.
With support from data and policy experts, states identify opportunities to improve criminal justice outcomes, implement more cost-effective solutions, and invest in strategies that reduce recidivism and hold individuals accountable. JRI is a two-phase process. In the first phase, states examine criminal justice data to develop innovative and evidence-based policy recommendations designed to improve their criminal justice systems. When states codify or otherwise adopt the recommendations, they may move on to the second phase to implement the policy and practice changes and measure results.
Participating states receive intensive training and technical assistance (TTA) to examine the drivers of corrections and supervision populations and costs, tailor policy solutions to address these drivers, and strategically improve and measure return on investment. States that enact changes developed through JRI are also eligible to receive seed funding to support implementation as part of the TTA package.
To guide states through a data-driven, consensus-based system improvement process, JRI offers a tailored approach to justice system improvement by helping states:
- Conduct intensive and objective agency-spanning data analysis they couldn’t otherwise procure on their own.
- Take a comprehensive look at their systems, engaging everyone from law enforcement to parole officers in the process.
- Build the collaboration necessary to examine data on a statewide level while considering all aspects of the criminal justice system, including local perspectives.
- Craft innovative, data-driven approaches to improve public safety by contemplating policies to cut crime, recidivism, and costs.
- Identify and align state and local resources to fight violent crime.
- Improve collaboration between behavioral health and criminal justice agencies and stakeholders.
- Ensure that victim needs and community safety are addressed in policies that aim to increase public safety while holding people accountable.
The 30+ states that have participated in JRI have saved or averted more than $1 billion and invested half of that in strategies to reduce recidivism and improve system outcomes (see Reforming Sentencing Corrections Policy: The Experience of Justice Reinvestment Initiative States and Justice Reinvestment Initiative Data Snapshot: Unpacking Reinvestment).
Elected or appointed state officials can express interest in learning more about justice reinvestment assistance by contacting BJA or a TTA provider. A TTA provider will be assigned to orient state officials on the goals and process of a justice reinvestment engagement, assess the states’ suitability and readiness, and describe what is required to formally request assistance. States can then submit a letter requesting assistance; individual requests are required for each of the two phases of JRI. Letters are accepted on a rolling basis and should be addressed to BJA.
Since 2018, the site-based program provides funding for jurisdictions to use the JRI process to address persistent or emerging crime and public safety problems, or to remove impediments to directly addressing them. BJA’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Reducing Violent Crime by Improving Justice System Performance program employs the Justice Reinvestment approach which recognizes that every justice agency has a role to play in preventing crime, apprehending and prosecuting perpetrators, ensuring efficient and effective court and pretrial decision-making, facilitating appropriate sentencing and treatment, and protecting community security. Grantees develop and implement innovative approaches to improve the efficacy of state, local, and tribal justice systems.
State, local, and tribal jurisdictions are eligible to apply for grant funds and to receive technical assistance to implement funded projects. Current projects seek to improve court processing and efficient docket management, improve pretrial operations, and develop innovations in information sharing. See the Funding section for opportunities.