This paper presents an overview of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which is a federally funded and administered model for states to follow in analyzing and reforming their criminal justice systems to be more cost-effective.
The paper first outlines the steps a state must take to receive federal approval for JRI participation, which involves pairing the state with a federally funded technical assistance provider, who works with state officials in completing the multi-year JRI process. The JRI model is then described under its three phases of policy development, policy implementation, and outcome measurement. The JRI process is then profiled under the activity phases of evaluation, policy development, final recommendations, the framing of recommendations in state legislation, and the implementation of the reform legislation. The JRI process is then presented as involving two phases. Phase I consists of analysis of current criminal justice policy and practice, the framing of reform recommendations, and the mandating of the reforms in state legislation. Phase II begins once a state enacts the reform legislation. In this phase, JRI technical assistance assists and supports state criminal justice policymakers and practitioners in installing and evaluating the reform mandates. The paper concludes with the display of a map that shows approximately 30 states that have used JRI since 2010. The map also shows the 13 states currently partnered with the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI), the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in providing technical assistance for JRI adult criminal justice reforms. JRI efforts in Nevada, Utah, and South Carolina are summarized.
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