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.
What changes are you seeing in corrections and reentry?
Terri McDonald, chief probation officer, Los Angeles County Probation Department and John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections talk about recent changes in corrections and reentry. Wetzel elaborates on what the Pennsylvania DOC is facilitating with housing and how it individualizes its reentry programs. McDonald remarks on Los Angeles County’s systems approach to reentry and the idea of treating the whole person.
Professor Ed Latessa describes how his team and he assessed more than 550 programs and saw the best and the worst. Professor Latessa shared his lessons learned and examples of states that are trying to use evidence-based knowledge to improve correctional programs.
The criminal justice system encounters and supervises a large number of drug abusing persons. Punishment alone is a futile and ineffective response to the problem of drug abuse. Addiction is a chronic brain disease with a strong genetic component that in most instances requires treatment. Involvement in the criminal justice system provides a unique opportunity to treat drug abuse disorders and related health conditions, thereby improving public health and safety.
How can we prevent reoffending and reduce costs? Research points to a number of solutions. At the Tuesday plenary, Judge Steven Alm from Hawaii will describe his successes with hard-core drug offenders. “Swift and sure” is his motto. West Virginia Cabinet Secretary James W. Spears will discuss the issues from his state's perspective, and Adam Gelb, Director of the Pew Charitable Trust's Public Safety Performance Project, will lend a national overview.