35 States Reform Criminal Justice Policies Through Justice Reinvestment

Legislative action aims to increase public safety return on corrections spending

35 States Reform Criminal Justice Policies Through Justice Reinvestment

Overview

Since 2007, 35 states have reformed their sentencing and corrections policies through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a public-private partnership that includes the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the Crime and Justice Institute, and other organizations. Although reforms vary from state to state, all aim to improve public safety and control taxpayer costs by prioritizing prison space for people convicted of serious offenses and investing some of the savings in alternatives to incarceration that are effective at reducing recidivism. Some states have engaged in more than one reform effort.

In the years since the wave of reforms began, the total state imprisonment rate has dropped by 11 percent while crime rates have continued their long-term decline. At the same time, states that have enacted justice reinvestment laws expect to save billions of dollars because of their reforms.1

Endnote

  1. Samantha Harvell et al., “Reforming Sentencing and Corrections Policy: The Experience of Justice Reinvestment Initiative States” (2016), Urban Institute, https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/86691/reforming_sentencing_and_corrections_policy_2.pdf.

National Homeownership Month

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.