What’s New in ‘Our Madison’ Focus Areas: Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Initiative

Justified Anger – UW-Madison Community and Environmental Sociology Partnership

This partnership ran in 2015. Karen Reece, interim project manager of Justified Anger, and Randy Stoecker, UW professor, worked with 19 students from the Community and Environmental Sociology capstone class to do research for each of the Justified Anger focus areas:  incarceration, family and community wellness, economic development, education, and leadership and capacity building.  The students contacted leaders from each of the focus areas to learn what research would be most useful, and then set out to complete the research.  They presented the results of their work at a Justified Anger event attended by 22 people on December 14, 2015 at Fountain of Life Church.

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Incarceration Research Team Results

JRI Leaders in the Incarceration work group encouraged students to investigate the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) and how it has been implemented across several states. The goal of this initiative is to develop policies for criminal justice reform using state-led analyses of problems and potential solutions. Public safety and cost savings are the focus of the JRI’s collaboration with states. Currently, the JRI model is being assessed and implemented in 17 states.

Two important conclusions reached by students:

  1. JRI can be an effective approach as long as efforts are customized to fit the communities in which they are used.
  2. It is difficult to compare efficacy across states because each state defines parameters differently. Policymakers nationwide would benefit from standardizing definitions of common terms such as recidivism and public safety as well as standardizing risk assessment tools.

Click here to read a detailed analysis of JRI JRI report image

Click here to view a poster presentation summarizing JRI

JRI poster image