Saturday, July 01, 2017

Greitens forms task force to reform prison system

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens signed an executive order forming a task force to reform Missouri’s corrections system. This task force will follow a data-driven approach to develop policies that improve public safety, reduce corrections spending, and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease crime and reduce recidivism. A bipartisan group will work with The Council of State Governments Justice Center to merge data across criminal justice agencies and leverage lessons and research from other states to improve our criminal justice system.

Governor Greitens released the following statement, “Our prison system wastes your money and it wastes people's lives. We have to fix it.

Tonight, a young man will leave a prison in Missouri. He will grab what he brought with him, step outside a chain-link fence, and go back to his old neighborhood.

He doesn't know what to do. He has no job. He has no money. So he will do what he did before he went to prison. And odds are, he'll end up right back in prison.

Here's what should happen. In prison, that young man learns a trade. He goes to a program to help him become a better father. Faith leaders teach him right and wrong. He works hard, stays out of trouble, and earns his GED.

Now, he's got a path in life. And he has the tools to go back and live right. He's not going to harm anyone.

That is what will keep our streets safe. It's what makes the millions of dollars of tax money spent on this system worth something.

This isn't just a nice idea. It's what we are building in Missouri.

Yesterday I went to Northeast Correctional Center in Bowling Green. I met an inmate who wants to drive trucks. He's studying to do that. When he comes out, he'll go to work. He will be a responsible citizen.

This isn't an easy problem, and it won't be fixed overnight.

Our Director of Corrections, Anne Precythe, is on the front lines of this problem. She inherited a mess: morale was low, officers were mistreated, not all inmates had a plan for their release.

She's getting things done. She's hired new people to run the department. She's fired poor leaders. She's fought to improve morale and work conditions for corrections officers. She's created strong rules for Release Centers, to make sure people are released only if they're going to job or a job interview. She's started training and education programs. In short, she and her team are putting the “correcting” back into corrections.

Today we signed an executive order that creates a task force to fix the system. People told us not to touch this problem. They said it's too hard. They said the system wouldn't change.

We told them: we didn't come here to do the easy stuff. We came here to make Missouri safer and save people money. And that's what we are doing.

You can read more about Anne's work here:

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