When criminal justice systems reduce prison populations and reinvest a portion of the savings in evidence-based methods of reducing crime, not only are taxpayer dollars saved, but more efficient and effective programs can be fiscally prioritized.
For example, Kentucky is using a portion of the savings from reduced prison populations to fund drug treatment beds that aim to get more Kentucky offenders off drugs—for good. Recent data showed Kentucky policymakers that drug treatment can cut recidivism among otherwise addicted inmates by one-third, and the Kentucky Legislature jumped at the chance to save money and reduce crime in their state.
In Hawaii, crime victims will receive additional attention as some of the justice reinvestment savings are used to fund victim counselors and their support staff. This will permit their victims’ outreach efforts to expand from violent crime victims to violent and property crime victims, and for longer periods of time. Putting the focus on victims in this way not only makes the criminal justice system more responsive to community needs, but also what is necessary to make the harmed party whole after the criminal act.
The post above is reprinted with permission from the blog of Right on Crime, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a research institute in Austin, TX.
Jeanette Moll is a juvenile justice policy analyst in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Prior to joining TPPF, she served as a legislative aide in the Wisconsin Legislature, where she dealt with various policy issues, media affairs, and constituent outreach. Moll earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then earned a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, where she served on the board of the Texas Review of Litigation and interned with a federal bankruptcy judge, a Texas appellate court judge, and a central Texas law office.
*Photo at top by Flickr user Tax Credits