Congress Introduces Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act of 2009Congress Introduces Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act of 2009
This week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Adam Schiff introduced the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bill is numbered S 2772 for the Senate and HR 4080 for the House. The complete text of the legislation can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov.
The Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes the U.S Attorney General to make grants to incentivize state and local governments and tribes to:
(1) analyze criminal justice trends to better understand what is driving the growth in their local jail and prison populations;
(2) develop tailored policy options to reduce prison spending, better manage the growth of the prison population, reduce recidivism and reinvest a portion of savings in strategies designed to increase public safety and improve conditions in neighborhoods to which most people return after prison;
(3) implement the proposed policies.
Justice reinvestment seeks to improve public safety more cost effectively through reforms of parole and probation policies and practices that downsize state prison populations and budgets. The money saved by these initiatives is then reinvested to improve community corrections and to strengthen community institutions - schools, job creation, affordable housing and health care - in the neighborhoods where people live before and after prison.
The idea was pioneered by Susan Tucker, Director of The After Prison Initiative at the Open Society Institute, and Eric Cadora, a former OSI Program Officer who now directs the Justice Mapping Center.
With support from the Open Society Institute, the Council on State Governments has developed justice reinvestment intiatives in 11 states.
More information can be found at www.justicereinvestment.org.