The National Summit on Justice Reinvestment and Public Safety Addressing Recidivism, Crime, and Corrections Spending

Source: Marshall Clement, Matthew Schwarzfeld, Michael Thompson, Council of State Governments Justice Center, January 2011

This report summarizes the remarks, research, and case studies highlighted during the National Summit on Justice Reinvestment and Public Safety. It is meant to assist Congress and practitioners by providing a concise articulation of four key “what works” principles to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the challenges facing American corrections. The number of individuals incarcerated or under supervision is high, and states generally bear excessive costs related to this population. Despite the money expended, in many states the problems of incarceration and recidivism are getting worse, not better. However, policymakers armed with data-driven research based on evidence culled from their specific states are better equipped to make decisions that are both cost effective and enhance public safety.

As described in chapter 2, there are important principles that underlie creating cost effective corrections policies and programs. This starts with identifying those individuals who are likely to pose the greatest risk to public safety. Using the proper risk assessment tools enables criminal justice practitioners to evaluate individuals who are incarcerated or under community supervision and target those most likely to reoffend. The most effective corrections programs are based on models that have demonstrated success. Logical, research based supervision practices deliver the greatest return on taxpayer dollars. Examples of effective policies, practices, and programs are provided in this section.

Case studies of statewide efforts in applying the justice reinvestment approach are presented in chapter 3. The process of implementing the approach is outlined, beginning with data analysis, followed by adopting policies and enacting strategies, and ending with performance measurement. Four states that adopted the justice reinvestment approach are highlighted: Texas, Kansas, Arizona, and New Hampshire. Each case study underscores how the approach can be implemented and adapted to suit the specific state’s needs.

Chapter 4 concludes with a snapshot of useful national resources. Federal efforts to reduce recidivism and support state and local reentry efforts, such as the Second Chance Act and the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act, are highlighted as well.

Leave a Reply