By Sarah Doiron
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Governor Gina Raimondo signed the package of legislation known as the Justice Reinvestment Initiative on Thursday.
The bills aim to improve Rhode Island’s criminal justice system while also reducing costs by promoting rehabilitation and informed decision-making in sentencing, probation and parole.
“Today represents the culmination of years of hard work and dedication,” Raimondo said. “The final product of the Justice Reinvestment Working Group’s efforts enjoys wide support from stakeholders at every step of the criminal justice process, from judges to law enforcement to victims advocates.”
In May 2015, Raimondo met with Chief Justice Suttell, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, former Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed and other state officials to discuss recommendations for improving the Rhode Island’s criminal justice system.
“This was a collective effort to modernize Rhode Island’s broken criminal justice system,” said Senator Michael McCaffrey. “Rhode Island’s antiquated laws have overwhelmed our probation and parole system, leading to high rates of recidivism and increased costs. This comprehensive overhaul of those laws ensures Rhode Island’s criminal justice system prioritizes community safety, rehabilitation, and the targeted investment of taxpayer dollars.”
The Justice Reinvestment Legislation embraces the reallocation of criminal justice resources from incarceration to treatment in order to improve public safety, reduce costs and promote rehabilitation of past offenders and successful reentry into society.