Governor Wolf Applauds Senate for Unanimous Passage of Justice Reinvestment Initiatives Legislation
April 25, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today applauded and thanked the Senate for unanimous passage of a package of justice reinvestment initiatives, known as JRI 2, introduced by Senator Stewart Greenleaf.
“Passage of JRI 2 legislation will establish solutions to the challenges that incarcerated individuals and those on parole face, ensuring fair, consistent sentencing, probation practices that are evidence-based, and initiatives that expand communications and compensation for crime victims,” Gov. Wolf said. “I applaud Senator Greenleaf and the entire Senate for passage of these important pieces of legislation that will help achieve the goals of a vastly improved criminal justice system.
“The commonsense reforms under JRI 2 will help save taxpayers money and ensure that when people have served their time without incident they are able to reenter society in a timely manner so that our taxpayers are not footing the bill for extended prison stays after an individual has served their time.
“JRI 2 will invest more resources in our county probation system to improve outcomes and increase the use of evidence-based best practices so that we can improve supervision and training to help probation officers work with individuals and make sure that we are only requiring those who present a real risk to go back for further supervision.
“JRI 2 will also help improve sentencing guidelines to further reduce recidivism and will update sentencing guidelines to make sure that we are doing all we can to emphasize risk reduction and help make sure that people are only serving time in accordance with their violation – rather than ordering longer sentences for smaller violations.”
The JRI2 package of bills include:
SB 1071: Provides for release of ‘short-sentence’ offenders once a minimum sentence is reached and certain provisions are met, including no commission of violent crimes or certain sexual offenses, no gun or high-volume drug delivery offenses, and no misconduct while incarcerated. This will provide significant cost savings for the state.
SB1071 also streamlines the process of accessing substance use disorder treatment for incarcerated individuals, which can lead to earlier release from prison.
SB 1070: Reinvests savings generated by this bill will be used to create an Advisory Committee that will approve and finance the use of best practices in probation supervision statewide, using evidence-based practices to help county probation departments assess the unique risks and needs of each individual on probation.
SB 1072: This bill improves the flow of information to crime victims by prosecutors and police and improves victim compensation for losses incurred during the crime.
“We need to work to make our criminal justice system more fair, more equitable and more focused on rehabilitation, which JRI 2 will help do. Since I became governor, I have worked hard to reform our system so that it leads to better outcomes and saves taxpayer dollars – while also leading to less crime and fewer victims,” Gov. Wolf said.
Governor Wolf led a call-to-action for criminal justice reform legislation, including JRI 2, at a press conference with Senator Greenleaf on April 12 at the Dauphin County Justice Center.