Since 2007, 33 states have reformed their sentencing and corrections policies through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a 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, the Vera Institute of Justice, and other organizations, says a new Pew fact sheet. Reforms that vary from state to state aim to improve public safety and control costs by prioritizing prison space for serious and repeat offenders and investing some of the savings in programs for low-level offenders that reduce recidivism.
Justice reinvestment policies include sentencing laws, laws that determine the conditions for offenders’ release from prison; supervision laws that guide monitoring of those on probation or parole, and oversight laws that track the progress of changes. In the years since reforms began, the total state imprisonment rate has declined slightly, while crime rates have continued a long-term decline. States that have enacted justice reinvestment laws expect to save billions of dollars, Pew says.