Governor Eric Greitens signed an executive order forming a task force to reform Missouri’s corrections system. This task force will follow a data-driven approach to develop policies that improve public safety, reduce corrections spending, and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease crime and reduce recidivism. A bipartisan group will work with The Council of State Governments Justice Center to merge data across criminal justice agencies and leverage lessons and research from other states to improve our criminal justice system.
Governor Greitens released the following statement, “Our prison system wastes your money and it wastes people’s lives. We have to fix it.
Tonight, a young man will leave a prison in Missouri. He will grab what he brought with him, step outside a chain-link fence, and go back to his old neighborhood.
He doesn’t know what to do. He has no job. He has no money. So he will do what he did before he went to prison. And odds are, he’ll end up right back in prison.
Here’s what should happen. In prison, that young man learns a trade. He goes to a program to help him become a better father. Faith leaders teach him right and wrong. He works hard, stays out of trouble, and earns his GED.
Now, he’s got a path in life. And he has the tools to go back and live right. He’s not going to harm anyone.
That is what will keep our streets safe. It’s what makes the millions of dollars of tax money spent on this system worth something.
This isn’t just a nice idea. It’s what we are building in Missouri.
Yesterday I went to Northeast Correctional Center in Bowling Green. I met an inmate who wants to drive trucks. He’s studying to do that. When he comes out, he’ll go to work. He will be a responsible citizen.
This isn’t an easy problem, and it won’t be fixed overnight.
Our Director of Corrections, Anne Precythe, is on the front lines of this problem. She inherited a mess: morale was low, officers were mistreated, not all inmates had a plan for their release.
She’s getting things done. She’s hired new people to run the department. She’s fired poor leaders. She’s fought to improve morale and work conditions for corrections officers. She’s created strong rules for Release Centers, to make sure people are released only if they’re going to job or a job interview. She’s started training and education programs. In short, she and her team are putting the “correcting” back into corrections.
Today we signed an executive order that creates a task force to fix the system. People told us not to touch this problem. They said it’s too hard. They said the system wouldn’t change.
We told them: we didn’t come here to do the easy stuff. We came here to make Missouri safer and save people money. And that’s what we are doing.
WHEREAS, Missouri must provide for the safety and security of its people by improving its criminal justice system, reducing its prison population, and decreasing recidivism rates; and
WHEREAS, in 2011, Missouri joined the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, Justice Reinvestment Initiative; and
WHEREAS, in 2001, Missouri launched the Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections; and
WHEREAS, Missouri’s Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections recommended changes to Missouri’s criminal justice system, which culminated in the passage and adoption of House Bill No. 1525, known as Missouri’s Justice Reinvestment Act; and
WHEREAS, Missouri’s Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections has since disbanded; and
WHEREAS, more work is needed to align our State with evidence-based practices that will improve the efficiency of our criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS, Missouri leaders and stakeholders should work across agencies to leverage lessons learned and apply research on what works from other state models to recommend needed reforms; and
WHEREAS, Missouri should undertake an independent analysis of the State’s corrections and criminal justice landscape to help identify prison population factors and develop recommendations for legislation and other policy changes to improve public safety while reducing the need for increased prison capacity; and
WHEREAS, Missouri must continue to be an effective agent for change in criminal justice policy.
NOW THEREFORE, I, ERIC R. GREITENS, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, hereby create the Missouri State Justice Reinvestment Taskforce as follows:
1. The Task Force shall consist of the following members:
a. The Governor of Missouri or his designee;
b. The Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections or her designee;
c. A member of Missouri’s Probation and Parole Board appointed by the Governor;
d. The Director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety or his designee;
e. The Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health or his designee;
f. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri or her designee;
g. A circuit court judge appointed by the Governor;
h. A member of the Missouri Senate from the majority caucus;
i. A member of the Missouri Senate from the minority caucus;
j. A member of the Missouri House of Representatives from the majority caucus;
k. A member of the Missouri House of Representatives from the minority caucus;
l. The Chair of the Appropriations Committee of the Missouri Senate;
m. The Chair of the Budget Committee of the Missouri House of Representatives;
n. A representative appointed by the Missouri Association of Counties;
o. A prosecutor appointed by the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys;
p. A public defender appointed by the Missouri Public Defender Commission;
q. A law enforcement representative appointed by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association;
r. A law enforcement representative appointed by the Missouri Sheriffs Association;
s. A representative from a victim services organization appointed by the Governor;
t. A former offender appointed by the Governor; and
u. A member of the public appointed by the Governor.
2. All Task Force members shall serve at the pleasure of their appointing authority. The chair of the Taskforce shall be the Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections or her designee. The chair shall develop a work plan, set the agenda, and provide leadership and direction for the Task Force.
3. A quorum for the Task Force meetings shall consist of a majority of the members. The Task Force shall make recommendations on an affirmative vote of a majority of its members.
4. The Task Force shall develop recommendations utilizing data, research, and the following principles and goals:
a. Maintain a safe and effective correctional system;
b. Maintain capacity for our most violent offenders;
c. Provide evidence-based interventions to reduce recidivism and deter crime;
d. Achieve justice for victims;
e. Ensure accountability and set clear performance measures for our criminal justice system;
f. Minimize the need to increase prison capacity; and
g. Increase public safety through a reinvestment of a portion of any identified savings resulting from these recommendations into other areas of the criminal justice system, or other public systems, which have been proven to reduce recidivism.
5. In developing their recommendations, the Task Force may form working groups.
6. The Task Force shall produce a written report of their recommendations by December 31, 2017.
7. The Task Force shall develop omnibus legislation based on their recommendations for the 2018 legislative session.
8. The Task Force shall participate in the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, Justice Reinvestment Initiative (“JRI”). The JRI may provide data analysis; information on evidence-based practices in sentencing and corrections polices; assistance with Taskforce facilitation and engagement of the public, interested parties, and public safety stakeholders; development of policy options and modeling the impact of those options; development of a communications plan; and assistance in building public and policymaker support for recommendations.
9. In addition to JRI assistance, the Missouri Department of Corrections shall provide staff support for the Task Force. If the Task Force requires assistance or non-privileged data from any other state agency, board, or commission, then such agency, board, or commission shall provide assistance or non-privileged data to the Taskforce upon request.
10. The members of the Task Force shall not receive any compensation for their activities as members of the group, but members may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in attending Task Force meetings, subject to the availability of funds.