In Pennsylvania, it costs about $41,000 to incarcerate an offender per year in the state prison system. Prison spending is far out-pacing education investment. Too many first-time and low-level offenders are entering the criminal justice system and coming out worse members of society than when they entered. Pennsylvania must end the cycle of recidivism that sees people returning to the system, and costing more for taxpayers, over and over again.
Rather than just letting people out of prison, Pennsylvania is working tirelessly to reduce recidivism, increase programs for education, reduce addiction and increase job-training to better rehabilitate inmates to prepare them for re-entry. The commonwealth enacted a beginning phase of criminal justice reform in 2012 with the enactment of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. The reality is that there is still much work to be done. The Wolf Administration is working to do even more to not only spend millions less on our prisons but also to create more job opportunities and provide education to assist offenders in their reentry efforts. We can keep more people out of the system – through diversion programs and increased opportunity – and ensure that offenders are more prepared to re-enter society with skills and a purpose to not return.