Governor Tom Corbett yesterday, January 26, 2012, encouraged members of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a newly-formed panel of judges, lawmakers, state cabinet members and other officials, as they begin studying ways to increase public safety in Pennsylvania and reduce spending on corrections.
Corbett told the gathering at the Governor’s Residence yesterday morning, “We look to you to come up with solutions to make our system better. I expect this initiative will help reduce further our crime rate, decrease recidivism and manage corrections spending more efficiently.”
Led by Mark Zimmer, chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, the group will meet regularly during the next several months to review data analysis, hear from local government representatives, prosecutors and public defenders, victim advocates, treatment providers and others, before crafting policy proposals.
The Justice Reinvestment Initiative is a research-based approach that identifies factors driving the growth and costs in prison and jail populations. The data-driven format is designed to:
- Develop and implement policy options to control and lower the costs of the state’s corrections system.
- Improve offender accountability.
- Reinvest a portion of the savings into the justice system to further reduce corrections spending.
- Reinvest a portion of the savings into the community to prevent crime.
- Measure the impact of policy changes.
Despite significant state investments in resident programs for people on parole, a 2011 study showed that recidivism has declined but remains high as nearly half of people, approximately 44 percent, released from prison were re-incarcerated within three years.
“The commonwealth judicial system has been innovative in its establishment of problem-solving courts with specialized dockets focusing on mental health, substance abuse, veterans, and community re-entry offenders,” said Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. “I welcome the opportunity for the judiciary to play a key role in this statewide project examining how best to use our criminal justice system’s resources. We simply have to think smarter.”
Follow Yvonne P. Mazzulo on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace! To contact Y.P. Mazzulo, email email@example.com. To receive continuous updates on South Central Headlines as articles are published, click Subscribe.
*Free human trafficking victim, Sara Kruzan! www.freesarakruzan.org.*
©2012 Yvonne P. Mazzulo, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permissions from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC d/b/a modenook.com.