Rethinking How to Allocate Criminal Justice and Social Service Resources Is Focus of Publications for Local Officials

Source: Urban Institute, June 2012

From the abstract:
With municipalities and counties grappling with burgeoning jail populations and escalating costs, local public officials and community leaders are looking to the justice reinvestment process to tighten spending, control growth in jail use, and maintain safe neighborhoods. Three policy briefs help state, county, city, and community officials to identify the drivers of criminal justice costs, implement strategies to relieve spending pressures, and reinvest freed-up funds to yield greater public safety.

Tracking Costs and Savings through Justice Reinvestment, by Pamela Lachman and Rebecca Neusteter — focuses on how to reinvest savings to further public safety goals. It offers guidance on conducting a comprehensive spending assessment, targeting reinvestment efforts, and making the most of the savings. A worksheet describes a step-by-step approach to preparing for a justice reinvestment project.

“Data-Driven Decisionmaking for Strategic Justice Reinvestment,” by Allison Dwyer, Rebecca Neusteter, and Pamela Lachman, explains how population and cost data can help identify opportunities for increased efficiencies and measure the impact of reinvestment activities.

Improving Strategic Planning through Collaborative Bodies,” by Justin Archer, Rebecca Neusteter, and Pamela Lachman, discusses the essential role of strategic planning entities, outlines how they are structured and operated, and offers suggestions on forming collaborations. A case study from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, highlights how a successful collaborative body can conduct case reviews to identify systemic problems and develop solutions.

Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level: Planning and Implementation Guide,” an 80-page how-to, was published in 2010. A revised edition will be issued this summer, along with two toolkits. Each toolkit — one for county executives and other municipal leaders and the second for local criminal justice planners and analysts — will detail the necessary steps for individuals in these positions to undertake a justice reinvestment strategy in their community.

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