A group of well-respected criminologists has come out with a report about Justice Reinvestment not living up to its promise. Among other things, Kat believes one of the problems is that the table/the working group was not open to advocates . The only advocates who got to be invited were victim advocates, so folks in prison and the communities they come from had no seat/voice. Kat was interviewed by the Vera Institute and Kat expressed this frustration to them. This was especially sad because Hawai`i is the first (and only, Kat believes) state where JRI was initiated by community justice advocates.
The main problem is law enforcement and too much prosecutorial power. They have been obfuscating issues at the legislature and confusing policymakers who then worry more about their re-elections than public safety and justice.
Here are articles and the report:
Article from Sentencing Law and Policy
“The paper traces the history and examines the impact of Justice Reinvestment (JR) since its inception a decade ago to its current incarnation as a national initiative.
The primary conclusion is that while JR has served to soften the ground for criminal justice reform, it has not achieved significant reductions in the correctional populations or costs in most of the states in which it has been conducted. This is in contrast to its original intent: to reduce corrections populations and budgets and reinvest in high incarceration communities to make them safer, stronger, and more equitable.
As originally conceived, Justice Reinvestment called for the reduction of corrections populations and budgets to generate savings that would be reinvested in high incarceration communities to improve public safety, and reverse the destructive effects of mass incarceration and harsh punishment visited disproportionately upon individuals and communities of color.
As implemented through legislation in 18 states, the Justice Reinvestment Initiative has helped stabilize corrections populations and budgets, educate state legislators and public officials about the expense of correctional system, and persuade them to undertake reforms, but it runs the risk of institutionalizing mass incarceration at current levels.”
Critics Say Justice Reinvestment Sidesteps Minority Communities
The Crime Report