“If it’s being implemented well, the JRA has the potential to change the face of criminal justice
in Maryland. Across the country, more than $500 million has been reinvested in crime
prevention as a result of similar policies,” said Keith Wallington, State Based Strategist.
Including extensive sentencing reforms, creating opportunities to reduce prison time, and
expanding parole for older and infirm individuals, the JRA was projected to reduce the prison
population by about 1,200 people, saving Maryland $80 million over 10 years.
“Over a year’s worth of analysis, testimony, public hearings, and research into best practices
culminated in the JRA,” said JPI’s Executive Director Marc Schindler. “Now we need access to
data allowing us to evaluate the effect of the JRA, as well as implement its savings
JPI Director of Research and Policy, Ryan King said “We can’t reallocate savings under the JRA to
crime prevention initiatives absent individual-level data linked across criminal justice agencies.
The state tracks system-level trends, such as the number of people in prison or the use of
detention facilities, but those are affected by any number of factors which may have little to do
with the JRA.” Without this data, the state cannot determine how much to attribute savings to
JRA or how much it has to reallocate.
As we mark the first anniversary of the JRA, it is incumbent upon policy makers to fully
implement the key reforms, reinvest all savings from the past year and moving forward, and
enhance collection and reporting of essential data.
The Justice Policy Institute, based in Washington, DC, is dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies.