Rhode Island’s once-overcrowded prison population has dropped by 10 percent over the last decade. At last count, Rhode Island had the third-highest probation rate in the nation: the equivalent of 1 out of every 44 adult residents, 60 percent “inactively supervised,” says the Providence Journal. Today, the Council of State Governments Justice Center will begin helping Rhode Island policy-makers identify potential new strategies “to reduce corrections spending and reinvest savings in strategies that can reduce recidivism and increase public safety.”
The effort began in May, when Gov. Gina Raimondo, Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell, A.T. Wall, the state’s prison chief, and General Assembly leaders requested support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. As a result, the Council of State Governments Justice Center will provide “intensive technical assistance” to collect and analyze data and work with state leaders to develop new policies. A working group will recommend policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety, for the General Assembly’s consideration by early next year.