Pennsylvania Governor announces prison inmate population drops for fourth consecutive year after record reduction
Christian Stephens, deputy secretary of field supervision, said several recent initiatives have allowed field operations to safely increase the number of reentrants it can manage leading to more efficient and expedited release process.
“We are utilizing proven evidence-based practices, which preserve public safety, such as lowering the caseload ratios by hiring over 150 new agents in the past 18 months, increasing use of GPS, and fully implementing the use of the contact report, which assists our agents in the prioritization of their work,” said Stephens.
Among the legislative proposals under the second phase of Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI2) are the introduction of “presumptive parole,” where short-term, non-violent offenders are automatically paroled upon completion of their minimum sentence, the expansion of the State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) program, which offers shorter sentences for drug offenders, combined with substance use disorder treatment and enacting a short sanctioning option for technical parole violators, such as the Swift, Certain, and Fair (SCF) approach.
The main driver of the population decrease in 2017 was a large reduction in parole violator admissions, which dropped by 10.2 percent in 2017, said Bucklen. And further inmate population reductions and additional cost savings are possible if the continued reforms are implemented.