Gov. Wolf Commends Senate for Unanimous Passage of Justice Reinvestment Legislation

June 18, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today thanked Senate members for their bi-partisan passage of JRI2, the second phase of the Justice Reinvestment initiative, to address the high cost of incarceration, among other criminal justice reforms.

“I’m very grateful to the Senate for understanding why JRI2 is so important in Pennsylvania’s continued pursuit of commonsense criminal justice reform, and for passing it unanimously,” Gov. Wolf said. “I look forward to this legislation coming to my desk.”

JRI2 consists of three Senate bills: Senate Bill 500 (Sen. Baker) creates a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). Senate Bill 501 (Sen. Killion) amends Title 42 and Title 61 and incorporates the Work Group’s policy recommendations in four primary areas – State Intermediate Punishment; Short Sentence Parole; Swift, Certain and Fair punishment for technical parole violators; and the Department of Corrections’ Boot Camp, a recidivism reduction program. Senate Bill 502 (Sen. Bartolotta) amends the Crime Victims Act, making changes to notification provisions and compensation.

All three bills unanimously passed the Senate on June 5, 2019, and were referred to House Judiciary on June 6, 2019.

JRI2 will:

  • Address the high cost of incarceration in the state;
  • Structure increased funding for county probation and strengthen support for evidence-based programs and effective supervision;
  • Improve sentencing policies to further reduce recidivism; and
  • Improve and streamline access to a State Drug Treatment Program to address addiction and reduce recidivism.

Gov. Wolf has made criminal justice reform a priority, consistently working with both sides of the aisle on multiple initiatives, including:

  • A Fair-Chance hiring policy for state agencies that removes the criminal conviction question, otherwise known as “banning the box,” from non-civil service employment applications for agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction.
  • Signing the “Clean Slate” bill, the first of its kind in the nation, to help those who have committed low-level offenses and have paid their penalty get back on the path to a blemish-free record, removing potential roadblocks to jobs, housing, health care, and education.
  • Signing Act 95 of 2018, eliminating driver’s license suspensions for non-driving infractions.
  • Signing Act 146 of 2018, extending the time a convicted individual has to file a post-conviction relief action to one year, from what was 60 days under current law.
  • Signing Act 147 of 2018, updating Pennsylvania’s DNA testing law to reflect significant advances in technology and the lessons learned by criminal justice professionals since 2002. The legislation removes the supervision requirement that only people serving a sentence can apply for DNA testing.
  • Signing Act 148 of 2018, a victim protection bill regarding housing options and emergency transfers.
  • Experiencing a record decline in the state’s prison population, while also experiencing a drop in crime.
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