State Responses to Mass Incarceration
Researchers have devoted considerable attention to mass incarceration, specifically its magnitude, costs, and collateral consequences. In the face of economic constraints, strategies to reduce correctional populations while maintaining public safety are becoming a fiscal necessity. This panel will present strategies that states have undertaken to reduce incarceration rates while balancing taxpayer costs with ensuring public safety.
Nadine Frederique: …served as the Director of Field Operations for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Dr. Rhine has written and edited a number of publications addressing the history and practice of paroling authorities, the impact of due process on prison discipline, leadership, and charge issues. Recently, he coauthored an article that appeared in Criminal Law in the Bulletin called the Re-entry Movement in Corrections: Resiliency, Fragility, and Prospects. Dr. Rhine teaches part-time in the Sociology Department at Ohio State University. And that's Dr. Rhine.
We have Mr. Jake Horowitz who is an Associate for the Project Manager at the Public State's Performance Project of the Pew Center of the States. The project helps states advance policies that protect public safety. He holds offenders accountable and contains corrections spending. Prior to joining Pew, he served as a social science analyst at NIJ. Alumni; whoo-hoo, yes. [Laughter] Actually, Jake has many friends in the room. He also is a legislative fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives and a counselor with Eckerd Youth Alternatives. Mr. Horowitz is a graduate of the Reed College and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
And finally on our panel today, we have Mr. Marc Levin who is Director for the Center of Effective Justice, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and a leader of its Right On Crime Project. Mr. Levin's criminal justice work with the Foundation has been cited by leading policymakers as playing a key role in Texas adult and juvenile crime reforms that have saved the state over $2 billion and avoided incarceration costs and contributed to the state having its lowest crime rate since 1973. He served as a law clerk to Judge Will Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and a staff attorney for the Texas Supreme Court. So please join me in welcoming our panel.
Dr Edward Rhine: Thank you, Nadine, and good afternoon to everybody.
Rhine: Good afternoon. Get some energy going here and get started on, in some ways, a dismal topic in terms of mass incarceration, but at the same time, a topic about which we all need to be concerned and a topic about which I think we are developing remedies and identifying issues that are important to consider both in this session and well beyond this session. I'm going to talk a bit about the Ohio response to the CSG report and the Ohio response to mass incarceration as well. And I think it will be helpful; although many of you are well aware and probably well versed on the issue of mass incarceration, I want to take a couple of minutes to frame the issue, talk a little bit about recent numbers, and then move on from there to talk about Ohio and its strategies for responding.
In many ways, mass incarceration is an issue that has only recently in many, many ways been elevated to the level of an urgent political and civic issue in this country. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world, more people than any country in the world, but the reality is for quite some time, we experienced what I would consider to be a stability in the rate of incarceration.
How many are aware of between 1925 and the mid 1970s, the rate of stability in this country, of our rate of incarceration was quite remarkable, hovering at around 110-120 per 100,000 of our adult population? Are you all aware of that, that it was a remarkable stability, and then all of a sudden, the growth took off? And what I want to talk about in part is that during the next four decades, the United States witnessed an unprecedented level of growth in its prison and jail populations and a historically unprecedented level of growth, and a level of growth that I think transformed our penal policies in this country and continue to transform those policies today.
So the Pew Foundation and its Public Safety Performance Project on a number of occasions has issued what I consider to be path-breaking reports that in many ways brought this issue of mass incarceration to the level of public consciousness. I think in many ways, in criminological circles for quite some time, there has been a knowledge and a recognition of the growth of our prison populations. But until Pew raised this issue in its report of one in 100, and talked about one in 100 adults behind bars, prison or jail, in the country then in 2008, it had really continued to stay under the radar. And so, and Pew not only talked about one in 100, but it went on to flag the rate of incarceration in that same report. That rate of incarceration stood at 750 per 100,000; that's the jail and prison population.
Beyond the numbers alone, what I think is significant is that these, this trend and this evolution, this remarkable growth puts the United States at the top. We are the global leader in the rate at which we incarcerate our citizenry. Marie Gottschalk, who has been writing on the area of mass incarceration for some time, observes in her work on the prison and the gallows that the U.S., with five percent of the world's population, has nearly a quarter of its prisoners.
And in that same Pew report that I mentioned a moment ago, it has a chart at the end of the report, and it's a quite revealing chart. It's marked International Comparisons. And what that chart shows is that the U.S. rate of incarceration and the total number of inmates confined exceeded the 36th largest European inmate populations. And so, it was a chart I was going to display today, but I just wanted to highlight its significance.
These numbers to some extent are now fairly well known. But it has only been recently that the academic community has really begun churning out significant publications, many of them interdisciplinary, but all of them focused on the sociology of punishment and the issue of mass incarceration. Marie Gottschalk, Todd Clear, Jonathan Simon, Michelle Brown, Michelle Alexander, Bert Useem, and Anne Piehl, and others have commented on the issue of mass incarceration, as have numerous policy circles and policy forums.
I might mention the Pew Center reports; I want to mention the Right On Crime campaign. I want to mention the most recent issue of Daedalus, a 2010 issue devoted specifically and especially to the issue of mass incarceration. And at the same time, the American Prospect in its January/February 2011 issue, raised the issue of mass incarceration. And all of this speaks to what I think has become a very strong and I think sustainable interest in this unique social phenomenon we refer to as mass incarceration.
A colleague of mine, Joan Petersilia, refers to mass incarceration as a dramatic term. In many ways, it is. But at the same time, she and Mr. Weisberg have talked in an article about the fact that mass incarceration is increasingly recognized in academic research and policy circles as itself becoming a social problem. In many, many ways, mass incarceration and its magnitude and the magnitude of its secondary effects have been so substantial that we have seen structural changes in our familial life, our civic life, and our economic life. And those changes are not evenly distributed; they are disproportionately concentrated in communities of color and communities of color and neighborhoods. And so, it's something that we need to take note of.
Having said that, I also want to mention that there are some recent indicators of a drop in the prison population in the United States. It's interesting that Pew issued another report called Prison Count 2010, and that report pointed out that there has been a slight decline in the number of state prisoners for the first time, for the first time in 40 years; 26 states showed a reduction. Some of those states showed a quite substantial reduction. But at the same time, these indicators do not portend a rapid reduction in the overall U.S. prison population.
The same Pew report noted again that the prison population grew in 24 states, and the federal prison count continues to climb, albeit incrementally, but it continues to climb. The most recent numbers I have, that in 2009 in a BJS report looking at prisoners in 2009, showed that the federal prison population stood at 208,118.
Now, what's interesting in many, many ways is that the economic downturn and the continuing fiscal crisis is putting pressure on sentencing and correctional practices across the states. Numerous groups have commented on this, and state officials are clearly implementing changes they believe will reduce cost and increase operational efficiencies. Numerous states have moved towards the adoption of sentencing reform. Mark Mauer has an interesting piece recently where he talks a bit about sentencing reform across the states and the pressures that are moving sentencing reform towards affecting positive change and the resistance to that change as well.
It is evident when you look out across the country, it is evident that when you look out across the country, the reality is that to fully understand the extent of mass incarceration will require a much more nuanced understanding of state by state variation. There is a tremendous amount of variation across the states and penal sanctioning policies, and understand the impact of mass incarceration: it's not sufficient just to talk at the aggregate level; it is very, very important to talk at the state level and account for the variation that we see. And I think in the speakers today, we're going to be talking about the experiences in three different states and give you some sense of the variation.
What I want to do is talk a little bit and fairly briefly about Ohio and our response to prison population growth. We are, as you may or may not know, the sixth largest prison system in the country. We operate and have been operating for some time at above 50,000; we get close to 51,000 and then we drop back a little bit. We are operating at 132 percent, 133 percent capacity, depending on when you look. We have a rate of incarceration that is in the middle range, placing us at about 32nd in state rankings. And in fiscal 2008, corrections represented 7.3 percent of general fund spending.
Now, we have 31 prisons, two of which are private. Admissions in calendar year 2010 totaled just over 23,000; releases, just under 24,500. What we have experienced is a period of stability in terms of prison population growth relative to our intake population. Over time, we had some growth and then we have recently experienced some decline in that growth, but what we've also been experiencing is an increase in the length of time served. And so, the average time served is going up and accounting for a growth in our prison population.
We are an integrated system. That is to say, we have the Adult Parole Authority which houses Parole Supervision, or what we also call in Ohio under our new sentencing code, post-release control, but we also have the Parole Board in Ohio, too, so we're an integrated correctional system. There are certainly advantages to that. The Adult Parole Authority itself supervises 27,339 individuals spread across seven regions in the state.
Ohio also has an extensive network of state-funded community corrections programs that serve in lieu of prison and jail confinement. These are prison and jail diversion programs. In fiscal year 2010, we invested over $136 million in CBCFs, halfway houses, and our Community Corrections at Prison and Jail Diversion Programs.
CBCFs are residential sanctions that last up to six months; they are intended to be a stop well on the way before you end up with a prison sentence. At the same time, our probation population is quite substantial; we have nearly 255,000 who are supervised on felony or misdemeanor probation. The reality is we have about 50,000 people, as the CSG study revealed, that we don't know whether they're on felony or misdemeanor probation, so they're not accounted for in these numbers.
Having said that, we have experienced, as many states, serious, sustained, and significant budgetary constraints and resource constraints. We are a large budget in the State of Ohio. We have been as high as $1.8 billion as a budget. More recently, in this biennium, and the reason why the CSG report is so important to the future of corrections in Ohio, if not sentencing reform more generally, is that we have, we are looking at a $188 million deficit that we have to close in this biennium. And it's even more than that, but the $188 million is quite significant in and of itself. We have been dealing with budgetary issues like most states that, in my experience in the public sector for several decades, I have never seen numbers and cuts and restraints as dramatic as these.
We have gone through a significant period of time over time where we have had to cut back in terms of our, we closed two prisons in 2003; three to four years ago, we were in a similar situation in terms of constraints and we ended up displacing or laying off five percent of our workforce. So there is some continuity to this that makes the issue more pressing than it might otherwise appear.
Now, having said that, I wanted to start off by saying very briefly what if: what if we didn't do anything? I want to mention that our prison population increased by nine percent from 2000 to 2010, with the fastest growth occurring in the last six years. We are designed to hold 38,000; we are at close to 51,000. It hovers at 133 percent capacity. If we maintain the status quo and we do nothing, the prison population in Ohio will rise to 52,164 in fiscal year '12, the upcoming fiscal year, to 53,848 in fiscal year '15, pushing us to 140 percent capacity.
This isn't a discussion of what's going on inside our institutions, but we have experienced over the last two to three years, four years even, growing incidence of violence. In part, we account for that by prison crowding and staff displacements, but that's not the only reason.
The net cost if we stand still beyond current operational costs will grow cumulatively over the years to 36 million. Well, that's my way of saying that we have been the very fortunate beneficiaries of the CSG Justice Reinvestment Initiative that came to town at the invitation of our leadership across the different branches of government in 2008 and went to work looking at and assessing the Ohio scene, the Ohio situation.
At the same time during that period of time, we were pursuing sentencing reforms that were also considered significant and we were hopeful at the time that those reforms would pass alongside the adoption and implementation of the CSG report when it came to fruition. I'll share a bit more about that in a moment.
I will share that legislation is nearing approval to amend provisions in the sentencing code, and like I said, in a moment, I'll get to that and offer what we know, at least as of today.
Having said that, let me highlight what the Justice Reinvestment Effort found in Ohio. First and foremost, it provided a telling, comprehensive, and thoughtful framework for thinking through corrections issues and sentencing reform. And obviously, thinking these issues through attended to public safety and reducing our prison population, at the same time, cutting cost, and so, it's a balancing act amongst the three.
They framed three big goals: manage the growth of the prison population and reduce spending on corrections, improve cost effectiveness of existing criminal justice resources, and reinvest in strategies that can increase public safety.
What's significant about that is that underneath each of those goals, they found some key problems. Let me share with you very briefly what those key problems were. Underneath managing the growth of the prison population, they found that in Ohio, low level felony offenders account for the majority of those sentenced to prison 56 percent of all admissions in 2008. By low level felony offenders, I'm talking about felony level four, felony level five. And on top of that, they found at the same time in 2008, more than 10,000 felony four and felony five property and drug offenders were sentenced to prison. They served on average nine months, costing the state $189 million; 72 percent went out to no supervision whatsoever.
One of the issues we have in Ohio is churning, a significant volume of offenders coming in and coming out under one year, and many of them coming in and going out in six months or less. That kind of churning of low severity offenders is costly, and CSG pointed the finger at that.
At the same time, in terms of improving the cost effectiveness of existing criminal justice resources, Ohio has a very strong community corrections infrastructure spread across all 88 counties of the state. And what they found was that despite the investment of $136 million-plus, that money was being poorly spent: we were placing the wrong offenders in those programs; we didn't have clear criteria for placing offenders in those programs; and large percentages of low level offenders were consuming residential space either at the community level or at the level of state prison confinement. They called attention to that.
At the same time, in terms of reinvesting in strategies to increase public safety, they issued a clarion call in Ohio to address probation. I'll get to that in a moment, but the reality was as they found probation in Ohio, it operated across 88 counties, there were over 260,000 people on probation, and one of the most difficult challenges for the Pew folks and the CSG folks coming in was to get a handle on this population, to actually know in terms of data what's out there. What risk levels do they present? What crime levels do they present? And even more, what kind of outcomes were we accomplishing relative to the function of probation supervision?
So having said that, let me just highlight briefly the recommendations, the policies that CSG recommended in their report that was issued in February of this past year. They came to Columbus, Ohio, and in a major presentation in November of 2010, laid out this report with all of its recommendations. Since then, we have been engaged in the negotiations and discussions with the General Assembly in Ohio around sentencing reform, and the extent to which that reform is going to embed these recommendations, these policies, into statutory law. And I'll share more about that in a moment.
First and foremost, I want to share that they talked about and urged that Ohio consider taking first-time property and drug offenders and requiring them as a matter of law, if they are first-time felony offenders, to serve a term of probation with appropriate treatment provided. Again, they wanted to deal with the churning of low severity offenders in and out of the system that were consuming expensive bed space, and the reality is much of the research demonstrates and shows that the efficacy of programming increases to the extent you provide that programming in a community setting, not a prison setting.
There was also some serious discussion about our sentencing code and raising the maximum sentence for serious and violent crimes, which would increase bed space some, but even more importantly, looking at and addressing felony threes in Ohio so that the adjustments made in the felony threes would lower the sentencing severity, provide judges with more sentencing flexibility, but use that then as an option that shows within the code more calibration so that a felony level three was clearly distinguished and could be delineated from a felony two or a felony one. In many ways, felony three offenders had faded into and become the equivalent of felony two and felony one offenders in terms of prison.
It also called for providing judges with a risk reduction sentencing option to encourage program participation. This is important because it talked about for offenders who completed appropriate programming, giving them up to 25 percent reduction in credits for time to come off their sentence. It was something that had to be agreed upon at the time of sentencing, and the prosecutor and the defense counsel have to agree to this change. But it recognizes again what the research shows that incentives are important to encouraging and facilitating successful program completion, especially successful in-prison program completion.
And finally, I'll just mention the issue of high risk offenders leaving prison, receiving a period of supervision; these are parolees and post-release control offenders. What's important about these offenders is the fact that Ohio was oversupervising low risk offenders and well, and oversupervising low risk and undersupervising high risk offenders, and there was a desire to do something about that.
In addition, these recommendations get into what are the main concerns relative to the community corrections infrastructure in Ohio. I think Ohio has one of the strongest community corrections infrastructures, one of the strongest array and diversity of community based corrections sanctions and options in the country.
But what the CSG found going out was that especially when they looked first and foremost at probation as well as some of these other programs, community based correctional facilities, halfway houses, and more, what they found was a bewildering variety of risk assessment tools being used across the State of Ohio. And they recommended the adoption of a common risk assessment set of instruments across the state, and it's pleasing to say that we have since adopted that. I'll share a little bit more about that in a moment, but the reality is we are moving towards the adoption of what is called the Ohio Risk Assessment System both to address this recommendation, this policy suggestion, but to pull off the kind of changes we think are essential in Ohio to ensuring that across all phases of criminal justice processing and decision-making, we have a validated set of risk assessment tools, we share a common vocabulary whether they are doing time in prison or doing time under some form of community supervision or community sanctioning, and that these tools are not just validated but officers and staff are trained and certified in their use. And that is ongoing as I speak.
There was also a call, an important call to sentence only offenders to community based correctional facilities who research show will be less likely to reoffend after participating in the program. And I'm going to combine that with making more effective use of Community Corrections Act Prison Diversion Programs ensuring that evidence-based practices were tied to effective supervision and effective service delivery.
Just like we've been the beneficiary of CSG coming into Ohio, we've also been through the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, the beneficiary of a very strong research partnership with the University of Cincinnati. And for quite some time, the University of Cincinnati has provided us with research that shows, and I'm wearing my policy hat now, but as a researcher, I think it shows unequivocally that to the extent you carefully assess criminogenic needs, target those needs, and ensure that higher risk offenders are placed in appropriate programming matched to those needs, your ability and capacity to do recidivism goes up measurably. We have found that across our community based correctional programs.
So you can see that when CSG comes to Ohio and finds that we are not placing folks appropriately, in fact, we are placing the wrong people in these programs, one of the most difficult messages as we've gone out and talked about this report is to share that by placing lower risk, low and medium risk offenders into some of these programs, you can do more harm than good. Sometimes the risk principle requires a lot of negotiation, but these particular areas of recommendation have been pretty significant and I think will affect large-scale change in Ohio in years to come.
Now, the last is the issue of probation supervision, and the commitment of CSG and our commitment is to strengthen probation. The bottom line is to strengthen probation. I talked about mass incarceration, and I think it's important when we talk about mass incarceration and prison population growth in Ohio, like elsewhere, to share that in many, many ways, although we're focused on aggregate mass incarceration, the reality is the criminal justice system is mainly a community based system of sanctioning, and that probation as a disposition is oftentimes, if not everywhere, the preferred sanctioning option for most judges. In Ohio, 75 percent of our offenders who fall under some form of correctional control, probation, parole, prison or jail, fall under probation, felony or misdemeanor.
And so, it's important to get probation right. And the intent in terms of CSG was to say when you look at probation, it's essential across 187 departments at the county, state, and municipal level, to pull together sensible standards that draw from the research, call for the use of validated risk assessment tools, and in this instance, our ORAS tools, ensure that there is appropriate training for officers, ensure that there is an appropriate protocol for certification of probation officers, and bring serious and significant revisions to hiring practices for chief probation officers across Ohio, and that's part of what they recommended.
As part of the reinvestment incentive, in terms of some of the dollars that we would save, what CSG recommended was that we create a probation improvement grant and that we also create a grant that is not just focused on probation improvement but probation incentives. And that is going, I think that recommendation is going to fly. It's an important recommendation. But what it says is this, funding will be made available to those probation departments that seek to adopt standards that do the following: adopt ORAS, bring the appropriate training to the table, certify officers, use progressive sanction grids in responding to violations, and more. Just that standardization alone will be a significant step forward for numerous agencies and counties across Ohio.
At the same time, the commitment is to reduce recidivism by 10 percent. And so, in terms of reducing recidivism by 10 percent, the intent is to say to those probation departments that have improved their operations but want to go further in terms of demonstrating their efficacy and reducing recidivism, funding will be made available through probation incentive grants to do so. And that's significant as well.
We estimate that each year, and this is a soft estimate, but we estimate that the marginal cost to corrections for those probationers who are revoked and given a prison sentence, cost the state about $10 million a year. So we're proposing to take some of that money and reinvest it in the improvement of probation across Ohio.
Well, having said that, I'm getting close here to finishing up, the reality is that the projected impact of CSG and its framework, it projected its impact if it was adopted July 1st, 2011. Now, I'm going to go through this slide fairly quickly because it was also grounded in a different sentencing reform package, and there was a bill going through the legislature at the time, Senate Bill 22, that was under consideration, it faded and a new bill called House Bill 86 has replaced it. I'll come back to HB86 in a moment.
But the reality is that just the Justice Reinvestment Initiative recommendations alone would have reduced the population by about 3000 and saved, in terms of marginal savings, over $62 million. And again, it would have provided for with some of those savings, those savings, some of those savings would have been redirected at strengthening probation.
Well, having said that, alongside all of this, Ohio is engaged in major sentencing reform. Let me rephrase that: we're involved in incremental sentencing reform. We are talking about important sentencing changes, changes in our sentencing code, changes that incrementally will produce savings relative to prison bed space. We are talking about expanding earned credits, we are talking about increasing the theft threshold, we're also talking about in the language of HB86 giving the Department of Corrections the opportunity to petition the Court and say to the Court that this offender is eligible for what we call judicial release, if we petition the Court and he is eligible for judicial release with 85 percent of his sentence left to serve, judicial release for us is equivalent to shock probation, then if the Court grants that motion, then that offender will go home under supervision. And it's a significant development. There is some discussion and some equalization going on around crack powder cocaine penalties, some discussion going on around mandatory sentencing provisions centered on marijuana trafficking and reducing those mandatory provisions, so there are a host of changes going on that tally up to saving prison beds.
Now, here is where I want to go with a couple of slides left, and what I want to share is the fact that if the CSG framework as I have presented it here, if the CSG framework is approved, and if it is passed as part of House Bill 86, and literally, those negotiations are going on as I speak today, I have tried for the last week to nail down numbers and projections for this presentation, and it just became elusive.
I was called on as recently at noon, pulled out of a meeting to look at statutory language pertaining to a particular provision to talk about that provision and could we live with it relative to the negotiation that is going on between the House version of sentencing reform and the Senate version of sentencing reform. I'm optimistic that we're going to get a package that will move sentencing reform forward in Ohio. I'm hopeful that it will move it forward if it does consistent with all of HB86. Then we will see that the prison population will be reduced from 53,848 to 46,820 by fiscal '15, netting savings of about $47 million in marginal cost, and a reduction in prison beds of just over 7000.
This is a difficult graph to see, but I think what's important is to note that if we do nothing, which is the scenario I presented a while ago, we will go towards the upper half of that bar chart and we will see steady incremental growth in the prison population costing the State of Ohio nearly $36 million. If we find in the next few days, next week to ten days, that the budget passes, sentencing reform passes, and again, much of sentencing reform embeds the recommendations of the CSG report, then we will be positioned better to see over time a fairly dramatic drop in our prison population.
So the impact is dramatic, and I think it does something else. I've got two more slides and then I will sit down.
The reality is this, that with sentencing reform coming to Ohio, and with CSG coming to Ohio, it set in motion a pretty significant substantive conversation about correctional and sentencing reform across Ohio. That discussion had been going on for some time, but it is forcing closure to that discussion. That's a healthy thing.
And not only that, the report itself reinforced some longstanding developments and trends in Ohio, both a long-term decade-long bipartisan commitment to re-entry, and rolling out re-entry in a very comprehensive manner, both internally within the Department of Corrections and across community corrections agencies in Ohio. It has also reinforced what was already a growing, and I think has now become a very durable and lasting commitment towards incorporating evidence-based practices and principles across the state.
I cite the studies by the University of Cincinnati. The 2002 and 2010 studies were done by the University of Cincinnati relative to community based correctional facilities, and at the same time, the 2005 study did the same with halfway house, or with the Community Corrections Act Programs, and found what I shared earlier.
Finally, we have made investments over the last decade in evidence-based practice and re-entry, which will contribute as well to CSG's sustainability. And I think it's the synergy between the two that is going to be a powerful catalyst for change in the months and years ahead in Ohio.
We have been using for some time through the Adult Parole Authority a progressive sanctions grid to respond to parolee and post-release control supervision violations. It's a grid that accounts for risk, offensive severity, and the violation history of the offender under supervision, and it has reduced our reliance on revocation and return to prison; it has reduced revocation hearings; it has brought us closer to the mark in terms of being effective with higher risk offenders who show early signs of departure and noncompliance with the conditions of parole supervision; it's been a well NIJ research tool and it's working effectively, and we hope to export this out to probation supervision across Ohio as well.
There has been a good deal of reform within our Adult Parole Authority as well as the department more generally. That is to say, we announced just a few months ago that we experienced an 11-year drop in our recidivism rates. Overall, in the aggregate, four years ago in 2003, and we look at a three-year window in terms of time to return to custody, in 2003, our rate of incarceration, our rate of return on violations and new crimes, that is to say, our recidivism rate was 39 percent.
In the 2007 cohort that we looked at more recently, it turned out to be 34.5 percent. And the Adult Parole Authority has also been taking aggressive steps to introduce and adopt and train officers on the use of effective EBP strategies relative to one-on-one supervision with offenders. And what they are finding now is that over the last four years, the first of those offenders who go out to supervision and return within the first year, four years ago, that rate stood at 20 percent-plus; now it stands at 13 percent. And so, the indicators, I'm not going to suggest causality or even necessarily correlation, but the indicators are moving in the right direction within this larger framework that is suggested by both EBP, CSG, and work that has been underway in Ohio for some time.
So the bottom line, as a forecast, I'm modestly optimistic. I think we are going to see sentencing reform come to Ohio. I think many of the recommendations embedded in the CSG report are going to be enacted into practice over time. I think it's something that will produce durable change, and at the same time, because much of this started before the downswing in the economic forecast, it's not tied just to the economic downswing; it's tied to doing what is sensible and sound relative to correctional practice and reform. And I think that will have a sustainability. So thank you. [Applause]
Jake Horowitz: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak today. Ed gave a great background on what Ohio is currently going through and some of the reasons behind that.
Horowitz: I'd like to cover two things. One, I'm going to tell a story of what Arkansas did last year, and then jump into a little bit of public opinion research that we have undertaken recently.
So let's jump into Arkansas. More than a year ago this time, folks who run the State of Arkansas saw this chart showing that if they did nothing, they would have to build about 6500 prison beds over the next decade at a cumulative cost of $1.1 billion. Arkansas was the eighth fastest growing prison population in 2009. In 2010, as we undertook this work, their admissions tripled in any given month. So this wasn't a fantasy; this was going to happen.
The Department of Corrections had put in a budget request for $184 million in new construction that session. This is very real to legislators who have to balance budgets.
But rather than appropriate $184 million for new construction and suck that money out of some other state priority, Governor Beebe and Chief Justice Hannah and legislative leadership said let's take a look and see if there's something else we can do. And they invited us in and we brought our partners, CGI as well as the GFA Institute, and we helped state leaders assemble a workgroup. It was bipartisan. It was bicameral. It had members from all branches. The Chief Justice served. We had members from local government: the prosecutors, we had a police chief from north Little Rock, Sheriff Jones from the south of the state.
And in all, the group was about 15 people, and this goes, and just to give you a sense of the timeline for this work, we were first contacted by the state in November of 2009, began discussions by the winter, by winter and spring of 2010, we had launched work, and this was all headed towards the 2011 legislative session. So this work takes about a year. In fact, today, I have, my colleagues are in Jefferson City, Missouri, launching this exact work in time for the 2012 session.
And finally, just as I mentioned before and just as Ed mentioned, the goal here is containing growth safely. This is in some sense about reallocation. Ed mentioned that most convicted offenders are in the community, and I think the corollary to that is most dollars aren't; nine out of ten corrections dollars go to prisons. And if you think of this the way the good folks out at the Washington State Institute of Public Policy do, this is about your portfolio: can you reallocate dollars and get a better return? Can you reallocate dollars and actually pocket some of the savings? And I think the states that are facing those fiscal pressures are looking to do just that.
So here's the process we help all these states walk through. We look at the data, what's the driving the system, where are your policies; we help this workgroup through a process of considering new policies, borrowing from national best practices; and then finally, we go through a process of legislative and public education, and throughout this process, we're engaging those stakeholders who might not be on the working group but were also communicating and educating policymakers who need to know about this before the legislative session begins.
So what did we find in Arkansas? In general, Arkansas is not using much of probation. Over the last ten years or so, prison admissions have climbed steadily and probation admissions have dropped. In fact, you almost see a 1:1 offset. So people are sentencing more folks to prison, fewer folks to probation. In fact, overall, their probation rate is substantially lower than the nation as a whole. And going back to Ed's point, I think you can make an argument around net widening and maybe that's a good thing, but in any case, what you saw as a general trend towards less use of probation, more use of incarceration.
We also found that sentence lengths for the lowest felony classes were increasing. So again, you see these, these are lines for severity levels three, four, and five crimes in Arkansas, and they, not without hiccups, but continue to climb. And these levels three, four, and five, in a scale of ten are, well, constitute about 70 percent of admissions to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. So this actually matters. And we also found that a significant number of prison admissions were nonviolent offenders; the number is very much like what Ed mentioned here.
Quick note here on truth and sentencing: these are all, I know that you probably can't quite see, these are all months, and I've got publications on these I'll hand out and this stuff is all on our web. But Arkansas actually has very low truth and sentencing, or very low time served requirements, so a 60-month sentence might only net you ten months behind bars in Arkansas. But that leads to an issue I'm about to discuss, which is the long tails of supervision.
But let me give you a few more findings in the state. Very poor compliance with sentencing guidelines: Arkansas had a voluntary system, the average sentence was nearly twice what was recommended in their guidelines grids, and they even have a section of their grid which is the low severity level, low criminal history score cells. There's about 10 of them, and about 1200 admits to the ADC every year come from those cells. So where the state guidelines say don't send them to ADC, they're sending them to ADC. Not all of them, obviously, but 1200 of them.
And finally, Arkansas is a presumptive parole state. If you read their statutes, it actually says unless this person has broken some rules behind bars, when they're transfer eligibility date, which is what they call parole in Arkansas, comes up, you let them go. But they weren't; about half of all inmates were being released on average six months late. This accounted for another 1200 beds in their system. They only have about 15,000 prisoners in the state, so this is about a tenth of their population.
So that was the part about trying to figure out what their system looked like and what was going on. And then, the working group, and just to give you a sense of the timeline here, right, that takes from sort of spring of 2010 well into the summer, maybe July or August. And sometime around July or August, the group says, okay, enough data, we are sick of it, and we want to now talk about the policies, so tell us what other states are doing; let's get some ideas from our own state.
And so, with the help of folks like CGI and others, we jumped into the agency and started asking them what they're doing, taking a look at the policies, and eventually, brainstormed a whole bunch of ideas, and we put it into this package. And there's too much here to really do justice to, but I want to talk about the big bucket, so that top circle is about strengthening community supervision; that's where you're going to get your public safety overall. Most of the folks are in the community; that's where you need to invest your money.
And so, there are portions of that implementation of the HOPE probation model. Earned discharge, so again, those long supervision tails: you have folks in Arkansas spending many years on probation and parole. If you allow them to earn their way off the way we allow some inmates to earn their way out of prison, then you can focus your resources on the high-risk folks who are actually causing you problems as opposed to wasting your time and resources on those who are doing just fine.
They shaped a performance incentive funding structure much like Ed described, only in Arkansas, it's quite interesting, they have it structured both for probation and for the front end. So the probation system will get half of the savings the state accrues for every marginal reduction in admissions to prison, so if you do a better job of supervising and help folks succeed, we'll give you some of the money.
Same thing with county is there's going to be a competition now, or a pilot program that counties can apply for, and if the counties can reduce their front-end admissions to their Department of Corrections, they'll receive half the savings accrued.
I mentioned here 120-day transfer; this refers to those grids on the cell I mentioned where the guidelines say don't send them. Now, you can still send them, but after 120 days, DOC can now release them to electronic monitoring.
And the last thing here, number 10 on the list is revising drug and theft statutes. Now, this is where people naturally gravitate to because people love to argue about what the right penalty for a drug or property offense is. My first point here is it's one of 12 policies that they passed in Arkansas; there's actually a 13th having to do with the restitution, but it didn't fit neatly. [Laughter]
But there are massive changes to the drug and theft statutes in Arkansas under this bill, which, by the way, ran into about 170 pages and wholly rewrote the state's drug and property statute. So before the guidelines, 0.2 g of meth would get you a class A felony, sorry, class Y felony, 10-40 or life; now it takes a whole lot more quantity to get you to that threshold. Ditto with property, ditto with coke, ditto with marijuana.
There also were some enhancements. So the penalty now for maintaining a drug premise is more severe than it was before.
And this is the slide that I think is most interesting, sort of, it reminds me of the NASCARs with all their, [Laughter] throughout this process, we were engaging the stakeholders. Many of them were at the working group table, informing these policies; others were being consulted with and briefed and explained to and taught. And in the end, the Association of Chiefs of Police and prosecuting attorneys and sheriffs and county judges who aren't really judges, they run the counties, public defenders, the state chamber, the NAACP, endorsed the legislation, may be more room for dialogue on that, but [Laughter] I think that that's, for me, the most interesting part.
And so anyway, this bill, act, I think it was SB750 or something, became Act 570, so something about palindromes in Arkansas, and it passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in every committee and floor that it faced. It passed out of the Senate unanimously. It'll save the state $875 million over the next decade through averted construction and operation. These aren't necessarily savings you can pocket; some of them might be in the short term. But a lot of this is about averting future growth. And it invests more than $9 million in this year alone into strengthening community supervision, so this is not just about cutting the corrections spending and averting future prison growth; this is actually about doing the things I mentioned in that top bucket above, which was how do you strengthen the probation and parole so we make those viable alternatives?
So that's the Arkansas story, and I'd be glad to talk a little more about it afterwards. I'm going to speed this up a little and jump into a few slides on public opinion research.
So if you've heard of Pew, you've probably actually heard of our public opinion research. This was not done by that group, which is the Pew Research Center. We keep those, we keep silos for a good reason; there is a firewall. We don't tell them what to do and they don't tell us what to do. But we also like public opinion research, so we brought together a team, Public Opinion Strategies and Benenson. I didn't know much about this field before we did the work. Public Opinion Strategies polls for Republican Governors, they did the polling for McCain. Benenson polled for Obama; they do unions, they do nonprofit groups. We said, work together.
We started with focus groups, rural areas, suburban areas, urban areas, to figure out sort of how do you frame these questions to begin with, and then we did a nice big nationally representative sample.
So here is what we found: the first thing we found is that when you ask people, do you care more if someone serves 21 or 24 or 27 months, or do you care that when they come back out of prison, they are less likely to commit crimes? People say they want results; three-quarters agree that, sorry, this shouldn't say agree, oh, no, they agree, it does not matter, they say it does not matter. I don't care, 21 versus 24 versus 27 months; that is meaningless to me compared with what happens when they come out. Ninety-one percent overall agree.
And just as a teaser, we're doing some research right now on the marginal impact of increased or decreased length of stay, and what effect that has on incapacitation deterrence. And so, I think that that'll get back to this issue of does the 25th month matter because it costs just as much as the first month? And you could put those dollars somewhere else.
Then we asked a question, which is would you support reducing prison time or, and/or sending fewer inmates to prison strictly in order to close budget deficits, just for that reason alone? And you get these what for me are pretty strong levels of support. This is just to close budget gaps. And when you change the question, and there is again more of this on our website, to say, for instance, would you support reducing prison time and reinvesting savings to create stronger probation and parole, which is without fail what we're actually doing in the States, the total in favor rises to 87 percent and strongly favor rises to 52 percent. So we're learning not just about what people support, but what particular arrangements of policies will improve their support.
And finally, if you put this in the context of other policy options, again, they could have built more prisons but that would have meant taking money from somewhere else, right, this is the story in almost every state right now, that the public really doesn't find that acceptable. It's not acceptable to reduce funding for K-12 to raise property taxes, to reduce health care services, dah dah dah dah dah, down the road, but barely a quarter of folks find it unacceptable to reduce funding for state prisons. So in the overall hierarchy, the public's got your back when you've got, when you're talking about reallocating funds away from prisons.
And finally, and this is where I'm going to hand off the baton to Marc, there is a fascinating thing here which has to do with the momentum for this kind of justice reinvestment work overall, and Jim Burge [phonetic] actually was just in here earlier and I just wanted to sort of give a moment of acknowledgement for the great work BJ is now doing on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and some work we're doing funding some contractors in common.
But you got Texas, which Marc's about to talk about, and you've got Ohio, and this is Arkansas, and several years ago, there was work in Arizona and Wisconsin, and this, we had South Carolina, and then there was New Hampshire and Rhode Island had a good go at this several years ago, and you've got Kansas, and what's happening now is state leaders, even though a lot of them can't travel as much because they don't have any money anymore, they still talk. And what we're seeing is that they're both paying attention to frames like this. You know, Texas is tough, right? But they said no to building a whole bunch of new prisons and put a quarter billion dollars into community supervision, residential services.
Marc Levin: Thanks very much. Thank you, Jake, and thank you, Ed, and I'm going to, they did a great job, so I'll be able to skip over a few things in mine that were already covered. But I'll just first mention I'm with the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Right on Crime. We are a free market state-based think tank, and we'll just leave it at that. And one of the questions that, I'm going to kind of highlight some questions people always ask about this subject, and one of them is, is it always necessary to increase incarceration in order to reduce crime?
And the answer is no, and we can see statistically, this is from 2000-2007, and this slide shows four states, California, Florida, New York, and Texas, that they're changing the incarceration rate in the first column, and then they're changing their crime rate, the index crime rate from the FBI. And what you see, of course, is New York has the greatest decrease in their incarceration rate and the greatest decrease in their crime rate over that seven-year period. And so, there was no correlation as you look at these four big states between incarceration rate and crime rate.
And of course, as many of you know the New York City story, violent crime fell 64 percent while they sent 42 percent fewer inmates to state lockups. And some of that had to do with policing and many other factors.
Now, here is our trend in Texas, which I think Jake alluded to. We have seen, this is from now 2005-2010, and 2005 was a significant year in our legislative session because that is when the legislature gave $55 million to strengthen probation. And what they said, this is very similar to what was discussed earlier, what our legislature said in 2005 session was, to probation departments, if you will target a decrease of 10 percent in your revocations to prison, and you will implement progressive graduated sanctions so each violation of probation is met with a swift, sure, and commensurate response instead of waiting for violations like not showing up to your meetings, instead of waiting for those to pile up and then revoking somebody five to ten years, if you'll do those two things, we'll make some of this $55 million available to your probation department. And most of the departments took us up on that voluntary offer to get money.
And so, that was in 2005, and that was a big step. And the 2007 package, which was the $241 million package of alternatives that I'll talk about in a second and that Jake alluded to, but we see from 2005 to 2010, we've had a 12.8 percent decrease in our crime rate and a 9 percent decrease in our incarceration rate.
Now, one of the other questions people ask is do only the worst of the worst go to prison? And of course, what we found is that prisons are full of nonviolent offenders, both in Texas and across the nation. Half of those entering are nonviolent. There is huge variations, which Ed mentioned; 20,000 drug possession inmates in Texas, we're down now to about 17,000 or 18,000, but there's zero in Oregon. I called up the Oregon Department of Corrections, I said, how many drug possession offenders do you have in prison? They said we don't do that.
Missouri is an example, 7000 nonviolent first-time offenders, because you always hear people say, well, these guys all have a long rap sheet, and that isn't always the case.
Now, there is another question that sometimes people ask in Texas: avoid building 17,332 prison beds, which is the number that the Legislative Budget Board, which does our prison projections, they put out a report in January of 2007; they said we need to build 17,000 prison beds if we do nothing, and we need those beds by 2012. And so, the question is did we avoid these beds, building these beds by letting inmates out early, and the answer is no. What we did was really budgetary, for the most part, rather than statutory changes to either sentencing or parole policy.
What we found is we had judges and prosecutors, this was back in the 2007 session after that projection came out, they came up and testified and said, we've got a lot of folks that we're sending to prison, not because we think it's the only thing theoretically that would work for public safety; it's because for these nonviolent drug and property offenders, they're a waiting list of many months for alternative programs. There aren't enough drug courts; there's no place else to send these people and they would have to wait in county jail for many months for those programs to open up, and that would be a cost to the county.
So what we simply did was expand these alternatives through this $241 million package in 2007, and we were able to very importantly carry that funding through during this last legislative session despite a $27 billion budget shortfall.
Now, one of the things is we did end up increasing our parole rate, but it wasn't through any change in the eligibility or laws concerning parole. What it was is part of the 2007 package dealt with a couple things that were keeping people in prison. Number one is when our parole board votes to parole people, for about half of those folks, like you say, you have to complete a six-month in-prison treatment program before you're actually released. But of course, prior to that '07 package, there are waiting lists of many months for those programs.
And then secondly, before you can actually be released, you have to have a valid home plan. They can't be living under a bridge; it has to be a halfway house or living with a family member or whatnot. And there are waiting lists for many months for those halfway houses; that was part of that $241 million package that we clear out those waiting lists.
Now, this addresses what I mentioned earlier, the 2005 budget package, the 2005 $55 million incentive funding measure, and what, this is kind of a soft incentive measure; it was a goal that probation departments would reduce, those that participated, their revocations by 10 percent. Most did, not all, accomplish that.
But what was interesting is to look at the technical revocations. These are people revoked from probation, not for a new crime but for missing meetings, positive drug tests, violation of where they're supposed to be, that sort of thing. And this is very common; I mean, half of your probation revocations nationally are in technical revocations, and that's true in Texas.
And so, what we found is the departments that participated in this offer that implemented the progressive sanctions, they reduced their technical revocations by 16 percent. Those that did not participate increased those revocations, those technical revocations by eight percent. And so, bottom line is if every department had done what those that didn't participate did, increase their technicals by eight percent and they had been going up over time, that would have cost us $119 million in incarceration costs, not including construction. And remember I said this program costs $55 million, so as you can see, it was a net savings.
And just as importantly, if you look, our state probation revocation rate has dropped from 16.4 percent in '05 to 14.7 percent in 2010, so that speaks to the benefits of strengthening probation both in terms of public safety and controlling their prison cost.
Now, the parole supervision story is really actually even starker, and most of it was frankly administrative changes rather than legislative changes. But if you look at it from 2007-2010, we've had over 1300 fewer parolees charged with a new offense, and we've also had 825 fewer revoked for rules violations. That saved us over $30 million alone.
Now, what were some of the things we have done administratively that have led to that? We added instant drug testing. It used to be that you'd have to wait two weeks for a parolee to find out if they tested positive for drugs; now it's instant when they go to that office. And they're finding most of them admit now that they were using drugs before they even are tested, and they're immediately referred to substance abuse treatment. We expanded those slides. We expanded the job placement resources for parolees. We restored the parole chaplains that had been eliminated in the 2003 budget cuts, and they connect parolees with churches, those that are interested; it's entirely voluntary.
And frankly, we changed the cultural attitude in the parole department to focusing on helping parolees succeed, instead of that old sign that was on a California parole office many years ago that said trail them, nail them, and jail them, that you've probably heard of.
Is prison the toughest penalty for offenders? This is a question because I think some of the Conservative support in the past for building more prisons has come out of anger. Actually, I know she's not a Conservative, but I'm going to quote her anyway, Governor Granholm said, we have to decide who we're afraid of versus who we're just mad at, and that's an excellent thing to say.
And so, when you look at this slide, it's very complicated, but I'll explain it to you very quickly, and this was a survey of prison inmates in Oklahoma, and what it found is they would prefer the same amount of time in prison to each of these other things, day fine, slash, work release, community service, day reporting, and halfway house. They'd rather be in prison for, and that shows what they'd be willing to do of the other ones relative to the eight or 12 months in prison.
And so, even if you were trying to just get mad and get even, you're actually not doing it. Now, I think perhaps even more importantly, we asked, do victims think prison is always the best solution, and the answer is no. This was a survey about burglary victims in Iowa, and it said, what would you request as a sentence? And 81 percent said restitution, 76 percent community service. Way down the list, you have seven percent, a prison sentence of a year or more is what they would request.
And of course, these people are quite sensible because you won't get restitution if somebody goes to prison. We pulled some statistics in Texas. Probationers paid $45 million in victim restitution; they did $65 million worth of community service work. This is like picking up trash on the side of the road and things like that. They didn't actually get paid, but that's based on like $6 an hour. And they pay also in Texas half their cost of probation supervision, which is $2.41 per day; half of that's paid by probationers and fees.
Now, then we looked at prisoners in Texas and they paid less than $500,000 total in restitution fines and fees. So there's an enormous 96 times difference in that.
I'll also mention that crime hurts families and prison often makes it worse. We found that inmates owe billions in child support whereas probationers nationally pay $600 million in child support. There is also the issue of female inmates, 85 percent of whom are nonviolent and average 2.2 children. Twenty percent of women entering prison are pregnant or have babies six weeks or younger, and that speaks to the collateral consequences of incarceration that you mentioned earlier.
Now, let me talk about some challenges and solutions. We talk a lot about alternatives with accountability, probation that has teeth, that's not just an office visit, that involves work, treatment, drug tests, GPS, but using the risk needs assessment to avoid oversupervising as was discussed earlier.
There are many examples of alternatives that do work. There was a Maryland study of an evidence-based probation program for nonviolent offenders and it found, a longitudinal study, 22 percent less recidivism of comparable offenders that went into that program relative to those that went to prison. We are very familiar with the research about drug court, so they can achieve a 34 percent reduction in recidivism.
The Hawaii HOPE Court, which I think many of you are familiar with as well, it's a little different from a drug court because the emphasis isn't so much on treatment versus it's more designed to deal with folks who are recreational drug users but need the swift and sure testing and sanctions; that's led to a two-thirds reduction in reoffending. There is some very good research on mental health courts reducing recidivism, and, well, there's a Florida study that says GPS-monitored probationers were 89 percent less likely to be revoked.
One of the reasons it's so important to strengthen supervision is nationally two-thirds of inmates coming into prisons are probation and parole revocations. And also what you'll find is if you enhance, and this is difficult to prove in a fiscal note on a bill, but if you strengthen people's confidence, which hopefully is borne out in reality, in probation and parole, you may increase use. And it's very interesting, when I talked about before those departments that took that $55 million, we saw in those counties a greater percentage of nonviolent offenders being sentenced to probation, that that percentage increased, as judges and prosecutors gained more confidence, presumably, in the ability of the probation department there to provide effective supervision.
I also want to touch on efforts that really emphasize restitution. Vermont has something called reparative sentencing boards, which is even an alternative to probation where the community sits down kind of in a sentencing circle and determines an appropriate punishment. It's been very effective; it's been used for shoplifting, bad checks. They've had a 12 to 23 percent reduction in recidivism relative to regular probation. So that's something that we need to look at as well.
Now, one thing the public definitely wants is to stop the revolving door. I think employment, as I alluded to earlier, is critical. We know that employed offenders on supervision are twice as likely to succeed. We know that, this is from the Washington State Cost Benefit Study, in-prison vocational training results in nine percent less recidivism.
One of the things we have looked at doing is to try to protect employers from being sued when they hire ex-offenders, which is a major problem, and provide some relief from that liability. One bill we did pass in Texas in 2009 grants, enables folks who are ex-offenders, whether they were in prison or just on probation, to get provisional occupational licenses so they can be a plumber, they can be a barber. We found people were being excluded from being a barber because they had a drug conviction ten years ago, and we frankly felt that after folks have punched, after folks have done their time, they should be able to punch the clock.
Now, re-entry was alluded to earlier, and again, because of the return of people back into prison from parole, it can be a strategy for reducing incarceration as well as enhancing public safety. It's actually kind of interesting that half of the homeless in this country are themselves ex-offenders. And so, transitional living where people, parolees who don't have resources can gradually pay room and board, a greater share of that as they get employed, is something that can be effective. There was a study in Ohio that found halfway houses were quite effective in reducing recidivism, and that the residents generated $6.7 million in earnings.
Now, one of the things that was talked about a little bit is the incentive funding model, and we are very strong supporters of that. And this is essentially where counties or probation departments are given a share of the state savings on prison costs when they reduce their commitments to state prisons.
Now, this has been passed in California, Illinois, Arizona, and I'm pleased to say our own Governor signed this into law just a couple of days ago in Texas. And this is actually kind of the stronger form of the budgetary measure that we did in 2005 that I mentioned earlier because this is a hard level commitment, and it's not just 10 percent. This, what we passed in Texas basically says that if a county or probation department voluntarily enters into arrangement with the state to reduce their commitments to prison over the coming fiscal year of nonviolent offenders, they receive an upfront sum of 35 percent of those savings, which they can use upfront to create more drug courts, to improve supervision.
And then, they also get incentive payments at the end of the fiscal year if they do three things. Some of it is tied to reducing recidivism or probationers, some is tied to increasing the percent of probationers current on restitution, and some of it is tied to increasing employment rate of offenders. It's quite similar to the Arizona measure except the Arizona measure had no upfront money. What was quite remarkable is it did lead to 31 percent decline in new crimes and a 28 percent drop in probation revocations, and this study is on the Pew website.
Now, the Illinois bill also had some other good language in it that I would encourage you to look at. Not only did it have this incentive funding model but it also had requiring a systemwide use of assessment instruments that were discussed earlier, and it required them to be electronic, and that they would track an offender from entry to re-entry throughout the system so the same people, different people don't keep inputting the same data. And you can see where that offender has been in the past, what programs they've gone through.
Now, problem-solving courts I have covered already, and one of those is veterans' courts. Some of you may be familiar with the first one in the nation, which was in Buffalo, New York. Only five of 120 participants were removed; none of the 18 graduates were rearrested. It's very similar to a mental health court except it also involves a liaison with the Veterans' Administration and assisting them in getting benefits through the Veterans' Administration. And authorized legislation has been passed in many states including Texas, Nevada, and Illinois.
Now, just a couple more slides here, the date reporting centers is another thing that many jurisdictions are looking at. I kind of always dispute the idea of the magic of four walls, and if people don't sleep there, it ends up being a lot less expensive. And of course, this can be combined with GPS as well, so you know that they're sleeping; they're in their bed at home so you don't need to be paying for their bed.
Now, the day reporting centers are often targeted to probationers who need more structure versus regular probation, but don't necessarily need to be incarcerated. There are some examples: the Union County, Pennsylvania day reporting center has a 10.2 percent recidivism rate; Orange County, Florida, 82 percent success rate. Various elements, as many of you know, include work, treatment, literacy, job placement, paying restitution, contributing to the cost as able; drug testing. North Carolina is able to do this for $15 a day, which is obviously about, well, about a quarter of incarceration costs or probably about a third of incarceration costs in North Carolina.
This is just a gentleman who is in the Athens, Georgia, day reporting center, and he's installing hardwood floors as part of his construction job that he goes out to during that day. Now, they have 11 day reporting centers in Georgia and they're looking at expanding them as part of the commission that Governor Deal created, which is meeting right now.
So how do we take the next steps to implement some of these solutions? And what I would say is we need to ask the right questions. We need to demand facts and we need to measure results. And I'll give you a few of those questions as I conclude.
One is what percent of offenders in community corrections and prison are paying the restitution they owe since that's supposed to be one of the purposes of our system? We need to ask which treatment education and work programs most reduce reoffending for each type of offender, and that's where those risk needs assessments can come into play. And then, what percent of offenders are paying child support, something we often overlook? And then, how many nonviolent first-time offenders go to prison? That's something you need to unpack the data in your state on. How many probationers and parolees are revoked for rules violations who could be safely supervised and treated given sufficient resources in the community?
Speaking of resources, this final slide here just mentions some of the places you can find those. We, of course, have the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Right on Crime, but we work very closely with Justice Fellowship, which is an arm of Prison Fellowship, that not only does actual ministry within the prisons but also advocates different policy changes, as well as the Pew Center on the States, and, of course, CDSG, which was referenced earlier.
So I think as we conclude here today, we can see there are many enlightened ways we can both enhance public safety and control costs if we join together and work towards these ideas. Thanks very much.
Frederique: Thanks, Ed, Jake, and Marc; what good presentations. We have about ten minutes for questions. So I will open the floor if you guys have any questions. While you're thinking, I forgot to introduce myself. [Laughter] My name is Nadine Frederique. I am a social science analyst with the National Institute of Justice. I started in January. And I have a juvenile delinquency justice background, but also a probation/parole background, so I was really excited to hear a lot of the recommendations about strengthening probation, which I believe strongly in. So does anyone have any questions for our panelists?
Rhine: That's a good question. The ORAS system, the Ohio Risk Assessment System, consists of a series of four main decision tools. One tool applies to pretrial, one to community supervision before imprisonment, one at intake which we call Prison Intake, and one at six months prior to release which we call Re-entry. At the same time, if, in terms of post-release, we will fall back on and use the community supervision tool once again. We're developing some additional screening tools and eventually going to develop some trailers for specialized populations, but in the main, four tools, they cut across each of the different phases to some extent; some of the variables, the static variables populate across tools, but that's the answer to your question.
Rhine: Yes, yes, they do, and it's an important, in fact, I am talking to all of the prosecutors in Ohio on Saturday about the Ohio Risk Assessment process, and I'm going to try to do some proselytizing as well as talk about - - empirically what the research shows and why these are important tools. And so, I lost the thread of your question, say it again?
Frederique: Do they have access?
Rhine: The prosecutors will have administrative access; the judges will have administrative access. And there will be tutorials provided for them so they understand what it is that they're actually looking at. The judges have some concerns about the tools in the main because they see this as displacing if not curtailing the presumptive exercise of judicial discretion. And we have tried to make it very clear that these are tools designed to enhance decision-making, to guide decision-making, but not to control it or dictate the outcome.
Levin: Well, I guess I'll—yes, I'll weigh in here. Of course, we're, you probably asked the person since we're a fiscal policy think tank, we don't get involved in things like abortion or other moral questions, however, I've always found that criminal justice, one of the reasons it's so interesting, it involves almost every discipline; it is a moral question. That's why we're for restitution to the victim if you stole something from them; that's a moral position. And I think the issues you raise are very critical.
One of the things I will mention is when Texas made these changes in 2007 in particular when our legislature got this projection saying we were going to have to build 17,000 prison beds if we did not do something, and instead, we did this $241 million package of alternatives that at that time, Texas had a $7 billion budget surplus. So we have the money to build those prisons if we wanted to. I think some of our legislative leaders may have had the foresight that we might not necessarily have the money to sustain them. Interestingly, back in '07 when the economy was terrific, our biggest problem was we had a 5000-guard prison guard shortage; we couldn't find enough people to work in our prisons.
But I do think this issue you mentioned is very important, that this isn't just a fiscal issue, that it's a matter of the sentence fitting the crime. I mean, if you look at something like mandatory minimums, which many states still have for nonviolent offenses, that that is, you're robbing the judge and the jury of discretion to make the sentence fit the crime.
I think another area that's really interesting, and I know we're discussing adult corrections, but we have juveniles that are at risk under this federal law that's at issue of being in the lifetime sex offender registry for something they did as a juvenile that was a consensual crime; that's not a fiscal issue. I mean, the registry is actually, we did find Texas deciding not to comply with the federal mandate of Adam Walsh Act because it would have cost us $30 million to add all these people in.
But it's primarily a moral issue that we are taking somebody and giving them a scarlet letter for the rest of their life that will prevent them from pursuing employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
So I think there are so many moral issues here, and in my opinion, obviously, we were, when I mentioned the issue of people that couldn't get an occupational license because of a nonviolent conviction many years ago, obviously, that's an issue that's taking people who could be productive out of our workforce, but it's also a moral issue. So I hope we do not lose sight of that.
And obviously, as you know, we're working on the geriatric parole issue. You know, California passed a geriatric parole law last year that was projected to save as much as $200 million, but due to some political pressures, it wasn't being implemented. It seems they're finally getting off the dime now given the situation they face as of a few weeks ago. But I think it's important to look at that question of not just the public safety aspect of whether this person still needs to be in prison, but also, and sometimes it is referred to as compassionate release as well. So I think that all of these considerations have to be balanced; it's obviously not just a dollars and sense issue.
Rhine: That's a great response, Marc, and Jeremy, I appreciate your question and the eloquence with which you phrased it. I'd like to highlight that Michele Alexander is a law professor at Ohio State University and very recently wrote a book called the New Jim Crow, and it's called Mass Incarceration in an Era of Colorblindness. It's a very recent publication. In essence, she charts the growth of mass incarceration across the United States during the last 30-40 years, but then she talks about what is really an invisible dimension and heavy-hitting impact in consequence of mass incarceration, and that is a criminal conviction brings a host of collateral consequences and sanctions attendant to that conviction.
And what she talks about in that book quite eloquently is the fact that as mass incarceration moved along over the course of decades, and as we got tough on crime, we grew incrementally and, to some extent, in good faith, collateral consequences attach to a wide variety of criminal convictions, misdemeanor and felony, not just felony convictions alone.
The consequence, however, is that mass incarceration has targeted communities and neighborhoods of color. And therefore, those most disproportionately impacted are oftentimes young Black urban males, and these collateral consequences create deep exclusionary barriers to social participation and reintegration. Hence, they create legalized forms of discrimination in the mind of Michele Alexander.
And to that, we have been looking at the issue of collateral consequences although initially, we talked about them as collateral sanctions in Ohio for several years. We are about to launch, we have launched, in fact, a partial electronic collateral consequences database; it looks and tags the civil consequences of criminal convictions. And the intent is to move towards, I would call it, and to use your language, Jeremy, a jurisprudence of re-entry, to really begin a consideration and a thoughtful conversation before a plea bargain with the judge, with defense counsel, with prosecutors, with defendants, with their families and others to say, you're not just bargaining to a sentence or a sanction; you're bargaining to a series of consequences that in many instances will be indefinite and lifelong.
And over time, what we are hoping to do through the creation of this electronic database is to have a public and very political conversation about the damage this does to our civic fabric in Ohio, and that I think in many ways is the most significant development going on underneath the radar in our state over time because it is foundational to reintegration. And if we think mass incarceration only recently is beginning to get the recognition it is due, collateral consequences have yet to come of age in terms of political and civic recognition.
Frederique: Uh-huh. Thank you, gentlemen. Unfortunately, we are out of time.
Frederique: Please join me in thanking our panel.
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