Statewide Criminal Justice Planning
Criminal justice planning is a critical component of improving public safety, as it exists to align the strategic goals and outcome measurement across corrections, law enforcement and courts. Experts agree that criminal justice planning should be a governmental function outside of correctional agencies and, in jurisdictions where this is not possible, local government should support and empower criminal justice planners to lead such work on behalf of the state. Across the country this planning function is fulfilled by a variety of entities, including state planning boards or commissions, state planning departments, individual planners, and partnerships between local governments and academia or the nonprofit sector.
Rhode Island is one of six unique states across the country that has a unified correctional system, which means that the state operates all of the facilities that hold people with both pretrial and sentenced statuses (we do not have any local county- or city-operated jails in RI). This, coupled with RI’s small geographic size, provides the opportunity for centralized statewide criminal justice planning to take place in a valuable and uncommon way. However, RI currently lacks centralized criminal justice leadership, strategy or planning. This disorganization creates siloed and duplicative efforts, impedes the quality and provision of services, obstructs the attraction of additional resources, and prevents the successful community reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals.
The Center works with state agencies, municipalities and criminal justice stakeholders to advocate for, better align, and support local criminal justice planning efforts, emphasizing the value and expertise of community-based stakeholders. The Center promotes acts as a convener for government and community stakeholders, promoting national best practices to create a shared vision for recidivism reduction and community safety.
We utilize a public health framework that centers equity in planning and decision-making to deepen understanding of how the criminal justice system works from pre-arrest through adjudication, incarceration, and reentry and its impacts on families and communities.
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