Justice Reinvestment Initiative State Assessment Report
From Urban Institute, January 27, 2014
Seventeen Justice Reinvestment Initiative states are projected to save as much as $4.6 billion through reforms that increase the efficiency of their criminal justice systems. Eight states that had JRI policies in effect for at least one year – Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina – reduced their prison populations. Through the Initiative, states receive federal dollars to assess and improve their criminal justice systems while enhancing public safety. This report chronicles 17 states as they enacted comprehensive criminal justice reforms relying on bipartisan and interbranch collaboration. The study notes common factors that drove prison growth and costs and documents how each state responded with targeted policies.
Hawaii Case Study
Hawaii’s prison and jail populations experienced rapid growth between 2000 and 2011. This led to overcrowded corrections facilities and by 2011, approximately 1,700 prisoners were housed out of state.
With Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) technical assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center), stakeholders in Hawaii determined the drivers of the state corrections population as growing pretrial population, long periods of detention for parole violations, mandatory sentencing for drug offenses, and a high number of parole denials.
The state passed two pieces of legislation in May 2012 that address these drivers by requiring the use of a pretrial risk assessment tool, reducing sentences for certain parole violations and drug offenses, expanding the parole board, and enhancing community-based treatment and victims’ services.
After the first year of implementation, the state reduced its corrections population 4 percent, averted $2.5 million in costs, and allocated $3.4 million into its reinvestment strategies, (-$2.5M + $3.4M = $900K more cost) which include expanding treatment programs, hiring additional corrections and victims’ services staff, and initiating plans to establish a research and planning office in the Department of Public Safety (PSD).
Read ... Hawaii Case Study
Read ... Full Report
CB: Hawaii's Prison System More Efficient
Background: Judge Steven Alm: Justice Reinvestment and the future of HOPE Probation