What is Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level?
Justice reinvestment employs data and collaborative decisionmaking to help jurisdictions lower crime, reduce local criminal justice spending, and control growth in correctional populations.
The overarching goal of local justice reinvestment work is to reduce county correctional costs and reinvest resources in high-stakes communities to yield a more cost-beneficial impact on public safety and community well-being.
With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Urban Institute Justice Policy Center is working with three jurisdictions – Alachua County, Florida; Travis County, Texas; and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania – on justice reinvestment activities.
The Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level Model
Effective justice reinvestment activities are dependent on ongoing interagency strategic planning. Such planning should represent an institutionalized process involving key stakeholders both within and outside of the criminal justice system. These stakeholders must:
- Coordinate new and existing efforts
- Focus on sharing information among agencies, including providing access to data systems
- Routinely track and evaluate the jurisdiction’s progress on justice reinvestment activities
Justice reinvestment can help achieve cost savings through expediting case processing, improving responses to frequent jail residents, revisiting revocation policies, and developing an array of alternatives for unsentenced detainees. The process of implementing justice reinvestment can generate a great impact on public safety with existing resources. It can improve communication within the criminal justice system and enhance the ability to share data across agencies.
The JRLL model, illustrated below, includes five elements:
1. Collect and analyze relevant criminal justice data: aids stakeholders in targeting interventions based on risks to public safety.
2. Develop and implement alternative strategies: enables the county to identify interventions that address the key drivers of criminal justice costs.
3. Document costs and potential savings: clarifies the financial impact of the criminal justice population on various agencies' budgets.
4. Reinvest in the community and the jail: measures the impact of activities to increase savings and improve public safety.
5. Assess the impact of reinvestment strategies: reinvestment can be focused on prevention strategies in the jail or specific neighborhoods.
Effective justice reinvestment activities are dependent on ongoing interagency strategic planning. Such planning must represent an institutionalized process involving key stakeholders within and outside of the criminal justice system.