Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level

In 2008, the Bureau of Justice Assistance provided funding to the Urban Institute to implement Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level in three jurisdictions. We analyzed the jurisdictions’ criminal justice data to identify jail population drivers and worked with stakeholders to develop strategies for reducing the population and generating savings to reinvest in evidence-based public safety strategies.

The model for Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level proved to be an effective one, providing technical support to jurisdictions so they could undertake data-driven criminal justice reforms that suit their unique circumstances.

Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level Model

Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level was the predecessor to the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (link to page), a Bureau of Justice Assistance-funded program that similarly provides technical assistance, supporting state and local policymakers as they implement justice reinvestment.  

Based on our experience supporting Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level, we published a series of resources for practitioners looking to undertake JRI reforms in their own jurisdictions:

  • Justice Reinvestment: A Toolkit for Local Leaders presents an overview of the justice reinvestment process for local leaders who have an understanding of the different agencies in the criminal justice system and some executive authority over the programmatic, policy, or fiscal operations of at least one local criminal justice agency.
  • The Criminal Justice Planner’s Toolkit for Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level provides criminal justice planners technical information to identify cost drivers and design strategies to address those drivers. This resource distinguishes itself from other publications by examining the model from the planners’ perspective and by providing more detailed information about data collection and analysis.
  • Planning and Implementation Guide, Second Edition provides detailed instruction for jurisdictions aiming to improve the efficiency of their justice systems and generate savings that can be reinvested in evidence-based strategies. Contents include the steps involved in justice reinvestment, challenges that may be encountered, and how challenges can be overcome.
  • Improving Strategic Planning through Collaborative Bodies is an in-depth implementation brief discussing the central role of strategic planning entities in the justice reinvestment process, how these bodies are structured and operated, and guidance for establishing or expanding such a collaborative. A case study from one local justice reinvestment site is presented to highlight the recommended process.
  • Data-Driven Decisionmaking for Strategic Justice Reinvestment uses the fictional Doe County to detail the data that agencies must share and analyze to identify cost and population drivers, and provides examples of how data analysis findings can be used to formulate policy changes and reinvestment strategies.
  • Tracking Costs and Savings through Justice Reinvestment focuses on tracking costs and anticipated savings to target reinvestment. It provides guidance on how to conduct a comprehensive assessment of local justice spending, assess cost implications for agencies outside of the criminal justice system, and target reinvestment efforts.