Submitted by SEARCH, the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics 1

Submitted by SEARCH, the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics 1

Recommendations on S. 467

The Corrections Oversight, Recidivism Reduction, and Eliminating Costs for Taxpayers In Our National System (CORRECTIONS) Act

August 11, 2015

Submitted by SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics[1]

S.467: The CORRECTIONS Act is a comprehensive bill that focuses on establishing recidivism reduction programs (RRPs) for federal prisoners. This legislation requires lower-risk prisoners to participate in RRPs to earn up to 25 percent of their sentence in pre-release custody.

Background: The CORRECTIONS Act relies on robust justice information sharing for success. Notably, the legislation:

  • Utilizes criminal history records to classify prisoners and determine their eligibility to participate in RRPs;
  • Requires the development of a "Post-Sentencing Risk and Needs Assessment System" to assess and determine the recidivism risk level of all prisoners and classify each prisoner's risk; ensure that lower-risk prisoners are grouped together in housing and assignment decisions; assign prisoners to appropriate RRPs based on risk level and the specific criminogenic needs of the prisoners; reassess and update the recidivism risk level of each prisoner; and provide information on best practices concerning the tailoring of RRPs to the specific criminogenic needs of each prisoner to lower the risk of recidivism;
  • Requires the tracking of general corrections information, as well as accomplishments in RRPs; and
  • Acknowledges different pre-release custody types, such as residential re-entry centers, home confinement, or community supervision (information sharing among and between these facilities and the Bureau of Prisons would be critical).

SEARCH Position:

  • SEARCH applauds the authors of the CORRECTIONS Act, who have developed legislation to reduce recidivism.
  • SEARCH is supportive of the justice information sharing efforts promoted in this legislation.
  • Effectively managing convicted offenders (whether incarcerated or on probation) requires robust criminal history record information, as well as information about program participation, responsiveness to substance abuse and mental health treatments, and other initiatives aimed at reducing the likelihood of re-offending. Coordinated management of an offender’s rehabilitation is critical to reducing recidivism-and this is impossible without effective cross-agency sharing of information, which is promoted in the CORRECTIONS Act.
  • SEARCH is supportive of the legislation’s proposals to leverage existing tools and best practices to conduct assessments and implement objectives.
  • The justice system should leverage tools, technologies, and techniques from data science and the information technology industry to make effective use ofdata that already exists.
  • Leveraging standards and technologies that already exist will reduce the cost of implementing justice reform and therefore increase the return on justice reinvestments.

SEARCH Recommendations:

  • TheCORRECTIONS Act (Section 5) requires a reinvestment of savings accrued by policies proposed in the legislation to fund public safety programming. SEARCH recommends that a portion of this funding be designated to encourage adoption of innovative technologies and advanced information sharing capabilities to meet CORRECTIONS Act goals.
  • Investing in innovative technologies will ensure timely, accurate information is made available to front-line practitioners, including probation and parole officers, treatment providers, and healthcare professionals, and the organizations providing services and programs to people under supervision. These investments will assist with achieving the goals outlined in this legislation, including evidence-based programs, practices, and policies to reduce recidivism and enhance correctional supervision strategies.

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Harbitter () or Melissa Nee ().

[1] SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, is a nonprofit organization governed by a Membership Group of governor appointees from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the territories. SEARCH has 46 years of experience supporting the information sharing, interoperability, communications, information technology, high-tech crime investigative, and criminal records systems needs of State, local, and tribal justice and public safety agencies and practitioners nationwide.