PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, Gov. Gina Raimondo revealed a series of criminal justice reforms she plans to make throughout the year.
In her annual address at the Minister’s Alliance Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast, Raimondo said she hopes the reforms will address racial and economic inequality throughout the state.
“To truly honor his legacy, we need to do the work,” Raimondo said. “Through legislation improves the health care for incarnated individuals, improves the work release programs ─ it brings our job training programs behind the prison walls so people can get training, apprenticeships and internships while they are in prison so that when they leave, they have an opportunity for a decent job and a house.”
In Raimondo’s first term, she signed an executive order creating the Justice Reinvestment Working Group to identify ways the state could improve sentencing, probation and parole.
In 2017, Raimondo and the General Assembly put in order recommendations from the group that reduced costs by promoting rehabilitation and informed decision-making in sentencing, probation and parole.
“We made major progress in my first term with our Justice Reinvestment work but significant challenges remain,” Raimondo said. “These new reforms will help eliminate barriers to reentry and shift the focus of our juvenile justice system towards rehabilitation and opportunity.”
Through new budget proposals, Raimondo hopes to implement the group’s recommendations.
“Let’s be there for them, so they can have a good shot at a house and health care, to be there for their families and rehabilitate and bring about the vision of equality and justice for all in Rhode Island,” Raimondo said.
Raimondo said in the meantime, they’re working to improve services and transition for juveniles in corrections.