New Council Aims to Reduce Crime, Shrink Prison Population, Save Money

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 2, 2018

Contact:

Karen Pojmann, Communications Director
Missouri Department of Corrections
573-522-1118,Karen.Pojmann@doc.mo.gov

New Council Aims to Reduce Crime, Shrink Prison Population, Save Money

Justice Reinvestment Executive Oversight Council Plans Implementation of Safety Initiatives

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO)Today, Missouri launched the Justice Reinvestment Executive Oversight Council established by Governor Mike Parson’s Executive Order 18-08. Council members, representing multiple state and local government agencies, will oversee and monitor the implementation of policies and initiatives designed to improve public safety, reduce the prison population and make more efficient use of Missouri taxpayer dollars. Collectively known as Justice Reinvestment, these plans have evolved from House Bill 1355, which was signed into law June 1.

Statewide research conducted by the national nonpartisan, nonprofit Council of State Governments last year revealed significant public safety and criminal justice challenges in Missouri. In August 2017, Missouri had eighth-highest incarceration rate in the United States; the country’s fastest-growing female prison population; violent crime and property crime rates well above the national average; and a high rate of revocations to prison from the probation and parole system — making up 49 percent of all prison admissions, with the majority tied to technical violations rather than new crimes. In addressing these issues, HB 1355 focuses on four major policy areas: behavioral health, public safety, recidivism reduction and information technology infrastructure.

“I’m very excited to implement the next phase of Justice Reinvestment and build strategies and programs that help improve the lives of Missourians,” says Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe, who serves as council co-chair with Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten. “I’m thankful to everyone who has agreed to serve on this council, and I can’t wait to get things moving.”

Currently it costs $58.85 per day to house a Missourian in a state prison. Developing data-driven, evidence-based strategies to shrink the prison population cuts incarceration costs, empowering the state to reinvest those funds in long-term programs that decrease crime and recidivism while boosting public safety and behavioral health. According to CSG projections, failing to take action would result in further growth of the prison population, necessitating the construction of two new prisons by 2023, at an estimated cost of $485 million.

These strategies also support Gov. Parson’s aims to improve the state’s workforce and infrastructure. Missourians under community supervision can access career readiness and job search services, and avoiding new-prison construction frees resources for other infrastructure development.

In FY2018, Gov. Parson’s administration and the Missouri General Assembly appropriated $5 million for an initial investment in Justice Reinvestment programs, starting with the Justice Re-Investment Treatment Pilot. Launched in Boone, Buchanan and Butler counties in a collaboration between Missouri’s Department of Corrections and Department of Mental Health, the pilot provides comprehensive community-based services to people under DOC supervision who have serious substance addictions.

Missouri is eligible to apply for an additional $500,000 in Justice Reinvestment funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2019.

To gather more input from stakeholders, the Justice Reinvestment Executive Oversight Council will hold an all-day state forum on public safety Dec. 7, 2018, at State Technical College of Missouri in Linn. Topics of discussion include support and resources for crime victims; behavioral health challenges in the criminal justice system; supporting law enforcement to curb violent crime; and reducing the prison population while improving public safety.

Justice Reinvestment Executive Oversight Council Members

 

Lt. Governor                                      Mike Kehoe

Senate (Majority)                              Caleb Rowden

Senate (Minority)                               Kiki Curls

House of Rep (Majority)                    Shamed Dogan

House of Rep (Minority)                    Alan Green

Supreme Court                                  Patricia Breckenridge

Corrections                                        Anne Precythe (Co-chair)

Mental Health                                    Mark Stringer

Public Safety                                     Sandy Karsten (Co-chair)

Social Services                                 Steve Corsi

Economic Development                    Rob Dixon

Parole Board Chair                           Don Phillips

Missouri Sheriff’s Association           John Wheeler

Police Chief’s Association                 Vacant