U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Dialogue on Strategies to Save States Money, Reform Criminal Justice & Keep the Public Safe

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2011
170 pages
The American Bar Association (ABA) and its Criminal Justice Section I present an agenda for discussion at an event entitled,"Dialogue on Strategies to Save States Money, Reform Criminal Justice and Keep the Public Safe."
Based on success stories from States that have already tried reforms in five key areas in which the ABA has strong policy, this report provides background material in order to stimulate discussion in five areas: pretrial release of arrested defendants; decriminalization of minor offenses; effective reentry programs; increased use of parole and probation; and community corrections programs. Regarding pretrial release reform, better tools, methods, and technologies for supervising nonviolent offenders enable States to save money by reducing the resources spent on pretrial detention while reducing risk to the community. Those who pose the lowest risk can be identified, released before trial, and then appropriately monitored and supported so they do not engage criminal behaviors. Regarding the decriminalization of minor offenses, this will reduce the resources expended by police and prosecutors on low-risk behaviors, thus allowing resources to be focused on the investigation and processing of serious crimes that may be linked to applicable civil fines that increase budget resources. Since recidivists account for a significant proportion of cases processed in the criminal justice system and are likely to lead to incarceration, a focus on effective reentry programs for released inmates can reduce the percentage who will reoffend. The increased use of parole and probation with appropriate offenders has proven cost-effective by reducing the costs of incarceration without increasing risk to public safety. This effort is enhanced by a focus on evidence-based community corrections. Included examples of effective State programs, presenter bios, additional resources, and a list of attendees