Today, the Pennsylvania Senate voted to send Senator Greenleaf’s Criminal Justice Reform Act (SB 100) to the House of Representatives.
The legislation contains several provisions that address prison overcrowding, recidivism, and reduce the high costs of incarceration. SB 100 continues the prison reform movement in Pennsylvania, makes better use of already existing alternative sentencing programs, and relies on principles that have been proven highly effective in other states.
The Criminal Justice Reform Act would:
Establish the Safe Community Reentry Program. The legislation requires the DOC to establish a comprehensive program to reduce recidivism and ensure the successful reentry and reintegration of offenders into the community.
The bill will make more nonviolent offenders eligible for Pennsylvania’s alternative sentencing programs. These programs include county intermediate punishment (CIP), state intermediate punishment (SIP), state motivational boot camp, and the recidivism risk reduction incentive (RRRI)
The bill establishes a county probation program providing for swift, predictable and immediate sanctions on offenders who violate their probation. Currently, parole violations are often punished with lengthy prison sentences that are costly to taxpayers, and fail to reduce recidivism. Each county would enact their own sanctions.
“I am very pleased to see this legislation move on to the House,” said the Senator. “This is both an important fiscal and public safety issue in Pennsylvania. We can reform more non-violent offenders which will increase public safety and we can save millions in taxpayer dollars in the long term.”
“Over the past 30 years, we have learned that traditional incarceration has failed to correct the behavior of non-violent drug offenders,” said Senator Greenleaf. “Punishment must be balanced with sufficient rehabilitation. In recent years, most states have adopted more evidence based programs that are proven to stop drug use and prevent recidivism. Pennsylvania has enacted reforms in recent years, but more must be done to cut the high cost of incarceration and place more non-violent offenders into rehabilitative programs.”
Contact: Aaron Zappia