PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Governor Gina Raimondo signed a new executive order Wednesday aimed at making reforms to the state’s criminal justice system.
The executive order creates the Juvenile and Criminal Justice Working Group, which is divided into two subcommittees: one to focus primarily on improving the juvenile justice system, and the other to examine the issues adult prisoners face upon discharge.
Raimondo said she wants the group to report back to her by the end of the year, with the goal of proposing related legislation at the start of the new session in January.
Raimondo said she wants “to make sure our system is more equitable, more fair, provide support, and make sure that people get in the right place, at the right time, in the right treatment that they need so they have a chance.”
Proper treatment is something Justin Thomas, who served time at the Adult Correctional Institutions, said he’s incredibly grateful for.
“That re-entry programming saved my life, changed my life and just did something for me that every day, I’m trying to give back,” Thomas said.
A convicted felon, Thomas said re-entry classes helped him get to his life back on track, which allowed him to prosper instead of returning to the ACI.
“They let us know something that every person that is incarcerated desperately wants to know – that you have support when you come home,” Thomas said.
The group is composed of members of the Judiciary, the General Assembly, the Governor’s cabinet and community organizations.