Reduced spending on corrections, increased public safety, and improved conditions in high-crime neighborhoods is the aim of the Justice Reinvestment project of the Council of State Governments. The project, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance and private foundations, was discussed yesterday at the National Forum on Criminal Justice and Public Safety in Louisville.
Texas and Kansas enacted laws last year that are putting some justice reinvestment principles into practice, Marshall Clement of the state government council told the forum. Both states have been able to cancel plans for prison construction and consider investments in community corrections. Prison population has stabilized in Texas and decreased slightly in Kansas. In one pilot project in Wichita, officials are laying plans to revitalize the crime-plagued Central Northeast neighborhood with more-coordinated services and better housing. The state now spends $11.4 million to imprison people from the area; the project’s hope is that some of that money could be spent instead on helping convicts re-enter society successfully in the neighborhood.