In early June Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation establishing a “Justice Reinvestment Working Group.” (The news story is available here.) The role of this group will be to guide a comprehensive analysis of the state’s criminal justice system. The goal is to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety.
Gov. Brownback said concerning the legislation:
I’ve made it a priority to ensure we do everything possible to make the transition from correctional facilities back to the community safe and successful. In Congress I authored the Second Chance Act to push states to reduce recidivism; here in Kansas I promoted a statewide mentoring program for people in prison. Now the Justice Reinvestment approach will help to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our criminal justice system, which will ultimately make our state an even safer place to live and work.
At the federal level this Justice Reinverstment approach sounds similar to Sen. Jim Webb’s call for a National Criminal Justice Commission Act (NCJCA). A national commission would seek to find best practices among states and provide suggestions for how our criminal justice system could be improved.MCC Washington Office has supported the Second Chance Act and advocated for its re-authorization as it is an important tool to reduce recidivism and increase community re-integration.
It is the belief of MCC Washington Office that an examination of the criminal justice system, either within a given state, or nation wide, will bring attention to the ineffectiveness of our current system and the many programs currently working on small scales to build justice within our communities.
Learn more about MCC’s work on restorative justice as an alternative to incarceration here.