The Keystone State’s Justice Reinvestment

Writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Charles Mitchell and J.C. Watts, two self-styled tough on crime conservatives, say that years of pro-incarceration policies and sentences have created a “bloated, hugely expensive criminal-justice system” that “has produced disappointing results.”

The authors argue that the time is right for Pennsylvania to adopt reform measures in its criminal justice system. Although the state experienced its biggest one-year incarceration decline in 40 years in 2015, it still has the highest incarceration rate in the Northeast.

Furthermore, from 2004 to 2014, Pennsylvania’s incarceration rate rose by 20 percent, while the incarceration rate conversely fell in neighboring New York and New Jersey by similar margins.

Building on the progress from other states as well as previous reform measures in Pennsylvania, Mitchell and Watts argue for “justice reinvestment,” a data-driven approach that identifies trends in the criminal justice system that can be used to divert funds from corrections spending into programs that reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Already, there have been promising returns on investment: In the period between when justice reinvestment was enacted in 2012 to 2015, Pennsylvania saved $13 million, of which $4 million was reinvested in public safety measures.

By reinvesting tax dollars away from incarceration and towards public safety, Pennsylvania not only saves money but improves the lives of citizens, victims, and restored citizens. The Keystone State should continue to implement such measures so that Pennsylvania’s citizens can become safer as well as free from wasteful policies that fail to improve public safety or rehabilitate prisoners.

More Blog Posts

10-12-2020 10:49am

The value in finding a mentor

No one can get through life alone – especially work life – which is why mentors and advisers play a central role in the Koch Associate Program, the Koch Internship Program, and the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship.

Read more

10-06-2020 10:42am

Fighting extremism with education

Adam Neufeld, vice president of innovation and strategy for the Anti-Defamation League, discusses the organization’s plans along with the reasons for rising extremism and why addressing cyberhate is one of ADL’s top priorities.

Read more

09-02-2020 01:00pm

How Market-Based Management® cultivates a contribution mindset

The Koch Associate Program (KAP), a year-long opportunity that blends professional development with real work experience, works with early-career professionals who want to discover their passions, develop their unique talents, and jumpstart their careers as social entrepreneurs.

Read more

Sign up for updates