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Justice Reinvestment: How States Use Data to Design Innovative Strategies To Reduce Crime, Recidivism, and Costs

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2018
2 pages

This brief presents an overview of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center's Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), including its features, results, and the process whereby states participate in the JRI.


The JRI uses criminal justice and behavioral health experts to collect data that reveals the trends and drivers of crime, recidivism, and criminal justice costs in a participating state. Justice Center staff meet with a range of state stakeholders and review statutes, policies, and current practices. The Justice Center then delivers its findings to state leaders in clear and actionable presentations, followed by assistance to the state in implementing adopted changes. An ongoing data-monitoring process is then instituted. This justice reinvestment process has resulted in significant and cost-effective public-safety improvements across the country. Some examples of results are outlined. The JRI is funded by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and its private partner the Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew). State leaders must submit a letter of interest to BJA and Pew, which is reviewed to assess the readiness of the applying state to undertake a justice reinvestment project. Approved states then prepare data-collection mechanisms, create an interagency task force, plan a public launching of the JRI, and then commit to cooperating in the implementation of project phases.