Last week, Governor Corbett signed Senate Bill 100 into law. The new law puts into place some, but not all, of the recommendations of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a bipartisan panel of judges, lawmakers, state cabinet members and other officials that has been studying ways to increase public safety in Pennsylvania and reduce spending on corrections.
Provisions of the new law include:
* diversion of nonviolent offenders with substance abuse issues to local treatment programs instead of sending them to state prisons
* elimination of the pre-release program for state prison inmates (the pre-release program allowed inmates with good disciplinary records to be moved to halfway houses prior to their parole)
* diversion of illegal immigrants who commit nonviolent crimes to immigration authorities rather than sending them to state prisons
Key recommendations of the Justice Reinvestment working group were not included in the new legislation, including a process for returning some of the savings realized from the other changes to local jurisdictions, though legislators may revisit this when the legislative sessions resumes this fall.
May 23, 2012 presentation on the recommendations of the Justice Reinvestment Working Group
Harrisburg Patriot News article about the new law
June 7, 2012 WITF Radio SmartTalk interview with members of the Justice Reinvestment Working Group