Governor Tom Corbett highlighted new efforts to make Pennsylvania's criminal justice system more effective and efficient during a gathering of corrections, probation and parole workers at a conference in Hershey.
"I have spent most of my life as a prosecutor. I know we are never going to totally eliminate crime,'' Corbett said. "But working together we can deal with crime in a way that will redeem more offenders, appropriately incarcerates violent offenders and sexual predators, lowers recidivism, and keeps us all from being held prisoner to the growing costs of locking up the bad guys.''
About 400 representatives of the Pennsylvania Association on Probation, Parole and Corrections, as well as The Middle Atlantic States Correctional Association's Joint Conference and Training Institute, are participating in the two-day event.
Corbett told the group about the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which he established earlier this year to evaluate ways to make the state's criminal justice system more effective and efficient.
Through JRI, a bipartisan working group, including attorneys, judges, lawmakers and others who work in the criminal justice system, last month offered a number of recommendations. When implemented, those ideas can redirect the money saved on corrections for investment in law enforcement, probation, parole and victims' services, Corbett explained.
"We need to be as smart as we are tough on crime,'' Corbett said. "If we confront the problems of drug abuse and mental health issues early, if we employ specialized treatment courts and programs, we can save both revenue and lives.''
Also participating in this morning's session of the conference was Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel, Michael Potteiger, chairman of the PA Board of Probation and Parole, and Linda Rosenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
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