The following are resources and links that discuss the criminal justice system and many smart justice reforms. We attempt to keep the links current. Please contact us if a link is no longer accurate or working so that we can correct it.
Smart Justice Spokane Candidate Questionnaire
A questionnaire about smart-justice related issues was sent to candidates in the Nov. 7 2017 election. Click here to read the their responses: Candidate Questionnaire
Alternatives to Incarceration
- Brennan Center for Justice:The Brennan Center’s Justice Program seeks to create a rational and effective criminal and civil justice system that treats all people fairly and equally by reducing mass incarceration, closing the justice gap, and ensuring racial equality within these systems.
- Center for Court Innovations: Provides reviews and research related to many alternatives to incarceration and comprehensive support services.
- Municipal Research and Services Center for Washington: Provides information and links to county and city criminal justice programs in Washington.
- Justice Policy Institute (JPI): JPI is dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies. JPI envisions a society with safe, equitable, and healthy communities; just and effective solutions to social problems; and the use of incarceration only as a last resort.
- Pew Center on the States, Prison Count: Identifies reasons why alternatives to incarceration can reduce the prison population.
Cost of Incarceration and Alternatives to Incarceration
- Center for Economic and Policy Research: The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration, June 2010. “In 2008, federal, state, and local governments spent about $75 billion on corrections, the large majority of which was spent on incarceration” (p. 2).
- Pew Center on the States: State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons, April 2011. “The national average cost per day to house an inmate is $78.95. This is “more than 20 times the cost of a day on probation” (p. 6).
- Washington State Institute of Public Policy: Conducts research and publishes reports on the cost-benefit analysis of alternatives to incarceration and comprehensive support services.
- The Human Toll of Jail, Vera Institute of Justice.
- National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP): Specific information about the efficacy of drug courts.
- National Drug Court Institute: Training, research, and publications regarding drug courts.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Legal Financial Obligations
- Disability Rights Washington, “Lost and Forgotten: Conditions of Confinement While Waiting for Competency Evaluation and Restoration.”
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Institute of Mental Health Director’s blog: “People with mental illness are three times more likely to be in the criminal justice system than hospitals. In some states, such as Nevada and Arizona, the ratio is closer to 10 times more people with mental illness in jails and prisons.”
- Center for Economic and Policy Research, “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration”:
- 8 % of individuals incarcerated in 2008 (1,424,238 people) were incarcerated in jails or state or federal prison for non-violent offenses (p. 9).
- “Arrests and convictions for drug offenses have increased dramatically over the last three decades, with non-violent drug offenders now accounting for about one-fourth of all offenders behind bars” (p. 8).
- “Reducing the number of non-violent offenders in our prisons and jails by half would lower [the cost to taxpayers] by $16.9 billion per year, with the largest share of these savings accruing to financially squeezed state and local governments” (p. 2).
Number of Individuals Incarcerated
- Bureau of Justice Statistics: Provides many reports and publications related to criminal justice statistics. In 2010, 2,266,800 individuals were incarcerated in the United States in local jails or in state or federal prisons.
- Center for Economic and Policy Research, The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration: “The United States … incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country in the world.” In 2008-09, it was estimated that the incarceration rate in the U.S. was 753 individuals per 100,000, which “was three times higher than the country with the next-highest incarceration rate, Poland, with a rate of 224.” By way of contrast, Iceland’s rate is 44/100,000 and Canada’s rate is 116/100,000 (pp. 1, 4).
Racial & Ethnic Disparity in Criminal Justice System
- Burns Institute
- Center for Social Inclusion: Advancing racial equity in government
- Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
- Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race and Equity [GARE]: Provides tools for community, government, and academia to advance racial equity in local and regional government and to move toward a more inclusive democracy.
- National Council on Crime and Delinquency: “In the US, African Americans are over six times as likely to be incarcerated as whites; Latinos over twice as likely.”
- The Sentencing Project: Incorporating racial equity into criminal justice reform
Pew Center on the States (State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door or America’s Prisons):
- “Recidivism rates [for state prisoners] between 1994 and 2007 have consistently remained around 40 percent.” That means that 4 of 10 prisoners were returned to prison within 3 years of their initial release. Recidivism can be reduced by the use of “sophisticated risk assessments, meticulous reentry planning, and post-release supervision carefully tailored to each offender’s circumstances.” Oregon used these means to reduce recidivism to 22.8% (p. 2-3, 19-20).
- Washington State released 8,093 inmates between 2004 and 2007 with a recidivism rate of 42.9% (p. 11).
- American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State
- Columbia Legal Services
- King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: Investing for No Return, PAO Reentry Summit Final Report 2013
- Poverty Action Network
- Reentry Court Solutions
- Washington Defenders Association
Research Based Criminal Justice Reforms
- Center for Court Innovation
- Justice Management Institute
- Justice System Partners
- Vera Institute of Justice
- David Bennett and Donna Lattin, Spokane County Corrections Needs Assessment Master Plan Draft
- Criminal Justice Commission, A Blueprint for Reform
- David R. Thompson, Ph.D., Results from the Discovery Analysis and Resolution (DAR) Process, prepared for Spokane County Board of County Commissioners