Compare and contrast justice reinvestment


One of the foremost challenges faced by the judiciary policymakers in the last decade has been a society’s response to criminals who break the law. In cases of countries which do not have capital punishment, one of the most severe punishments is imprisonment. Also the usage of prisons varies according to every country which cannot be the same for every kind of crime or violence. This is also the same policy for the way prisons are managed, their philosophy, physical conditions etc. Like a prison in a boot camp would have an entirely different set of rules and facilities compared to a prison in the therapeutic communities, from super maximum security to open prisons. Funding in various prisons also differs according to the socio political environment in a region.

Justice Reinvestment (JR) is a term coined in the US to describe efforts to use funds  spent on imprisoning offenders more productively in these areas through local community based initiatives designed to tackle the underlying problems which give rise to criminal behaviour. This new and interesting approach to criminal justice gives local rather than central government the power to decide how money should be best spent to produce safer local communities. There are two key elements. First, JR seeks to develop measures and policies to improve the prospects not just of individual cases but of particular places. Second, JR adopts a strategic approach to the prevention of offending and re-offending by collecting and analysing data to inform decisions about how and where best to allocate public funds to reduce crime.

Justice reinvestment, a concept developed by Open Society, a New York organization founded by philanthropist George Soros, is based on a redirection of the imprisonment funds from the state back to the community. The “goal of justice reinvestment is to redirect some portion of the $54 billion America now spends on prison to rebuilding the human resources and physical infrastructure – the schools, healthcare facilities, parks and public spaces of neighborhoods devastated by high levels of incarceration.”