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Rhode Island Justice Reinvestment Working Group: Third Meeting, October 27, 2015

NCJ Number
Carl Reynolds; Chenise Bonilla; Ed Weckerly; Michelle Rodriguez
Date Published
November 2015
57 pages

This report covers the proceedings of the third meeting (October 27, 2015) of the Rhode Island Justice Reinvestment Working Group, which is leading an effort by the State, in consultation with the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments, to reduce corrections spending and reinvest savings in strategies proven to decrease recidivism and increase public safety.


The initial steps of the working group have involved the management of an analysis of existing data and data gaps that can identify current inefficiencies and unacceptable outcomes in the current Rhode Island corrections system. javascript:SearchID('SearchTerm.asp?strWhich=IndexTerm') Thus far, the working group has obtained data from four criminal justice agencies and received nearly 100 case-level data files, yielding a total of 2.3 million records. The first meeting of the working group consisted of an introduction to the concept of justice reinvestment, the identification of project focus areas, and an outline of next steps. The working group's second meeting consisted of a discussion of recidivism as a principal measure of the effectiveness of corrections policies and practices, as well as a review of current and projected pretrial and probation procedures. The agenda of the third meeting, which is addressed in this report, consisted of stakeholder perspectives and probation outcomes, sentencing trends and supervision practices, and State probation statutes and case law. Three themes emerged from the meeting. First, stakeholders' dominant view of Rhode Island's corrections system is that it is ineffective, as shown by high recidivism. Second, sentencing produces lengthy supervision terms, and probation practices are insufficiently "evidence-based," i.e., they are not based on the findings of scientific evaluations of program effects on recidivism. Third, State policy on sentencing and supervision is outdated compared with models in other States. Extensive data presentation and analysis