More than a thousand criminal justice experts are gathering in Salem this week to compare strategies on reducing crime in their communities. The event is called the Justice Reinvestment Summit.
The idea of “justice reinvestment” is to apply public safety dollars to programs such as addiction and mental health treatment as a way of reducing the number of people behind bars. The resulting savings are reinvested back in the community.
"It’s a strategy of managing your prison population, but also giving local communities funds to invest so that you can kind of start getting at the root causes of a lot of the criminality,” said Mike Schmidt, the executive director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, which is organizing the summit.
The conference will conclude Friday with a joint meeting of three Oregon legislative committees. They’ll hear from several officials in Norway’s criminal justice system. That nation has one of the world’s lowest recidivism rates.