On Monday, Pennsylvania passed landmark legislation to replace decades of ineffective and expensive corrections policies with reforms that make our communities safer and save taxpayers money.
Commonwealth Foundation thanks House and Senate members for their unanimous bipartisan support for real corrections reform via Senate Bill 100.
While Senate Bill 100 heads to the governor’s desk, a separate component, House Bill 135, needs to accompany it. As Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:
House Bill 135, pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee, would authorize the state to send some of the savings to counties. Together, the Senate and House bills make up the so-called Justice Reinvestment Initiative, backed by a coalition of conservatives and liberals.
If both bills are passed together, the net savings is projected to reach $253 million within five years. States such as New York and Texas have embraced similar policy changes, significantly reducing both their crime and imprisonment rates over the past decade. These states demonstrate that corrections reform can improve public safety while saving tax dollars.
While SB 100 was a critical arrow to fire at corrections reforms, HB 135 is the arrowhead that will ensure Pennsylvania hits the target of improving public safety while saving tax dollars.