Executive Order 22-25

Establishing Executive Working Group for Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Reducing Domestic Violence By Improving Justice System Performance In Rhode Island

WHEREAS, Rhode Island has utilized the Justice Reinvestment approach to achieve criminal justice reform goals, such as: the creation of standards for batterer’s intervention programming to improve program quality and reduce recidivism; the expansion of eligibility and benefits for the recipients of the Crime Victims Compensation Fund; the strengthening of evidence-based sentencing and probation violation responses; the creation of a Superior Court diversion program; and the implementation of “Fair Chance Licensing” act; 

WHEREAS, despite an overall drop in crime, domestic violence remains a pervasive public safety issue in Rhode Island. Survey data from a 2010 report by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey estimated 29.9% of women and 19.3% of men in Rhode Island to have experienced “rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner” in their lifetime1;

WHEREAS, there is currently limited funding for, and a lack of consistency in, domestic violence policies and practices, and there is no centralized statewide tracking of domestic violence arrests, diversion, convictions, treatment, or recidivism. Further, current data does not account for individuals who experience domestic violence but do not engage with the criminal justice system;

WHEREAS, we must continue to deploy resources in our justice system to better understand the scope of domestic violence incidences, arrests, and sentencing trends in Rhode Island and thereby combat and prevent domestic violence incidences in the State; and

WHEREAS, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections has been awarded technical assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center to gather data, evaluate processes and programs, and make recommendations on policies designed to save money while keeping the public safe, thus freeing up funds for reinvestment in strategies that improve public safety and public welfare.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DANIEL J. MCKEE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island, do hereby order and direct the following:

  1. There is hereby established the Executive Working Group for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Reducing Domestic Violence by Improving Justice System Performance in Rhode Island (“Initiative”) (“Working Group”).  
  2. Members of the Working Group shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The membership shall include, but not be limited to, stakeholders from the Judiciary, the Senate and House of Representatives, law enforcement, the Attorney General, the Department of Corrections, as well as representatives of community providers and advocates.  The Governor may designate at any time additional members deemed appropriate to serve on the Working Group.
  3. The Working Group shall meet regularly for a minimum of seven times by December 2023. The Working Group meetings shall be public meetings.  Members of the Working Group may be assigned to committees consistent with their areas of expertise and interest.
  4. All departments, offices, boards, and agencies of the State shall provide assistance and cooperation to the Working Group and the Council of State Governments Justice Center, including the use of State facilities, which may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this Order.
  5. The Working Group shall begin its work immediately and shall issue a report to the Governor by September 30, 2023.  Working Group duties shall include, but not be limited to:

    a. Providing feedback on data presentation related to Rhode Island’s domestic violence systems responses. This data will highlight responses from community-based organizations, such as domestic violence service providers, nonprofit organizations, and other community-based supports; law enforcement; the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families; the Rhode Island Judiciary; treatment providers; the Rhode Island Department of Corrections; and any other appropriate and relevant agencies or organizations;

    b. Promoting awareness of the Initiative; and

    c. Evaluating programmatic and policy measures proposed by Working Group members and/or the Council of State Governments to improve statewide domestic violence responses.
  1. The report shall reflect and include, but not be limited to:

    a. Description of the Justice Reinvestment process, including impetus for the Initiative, stakeholder engagement, data collection and analysis, and data presentation;

    b. Discussion of data analysis findings relating to domestic violence responses in Rhode Island;

    Detailed proposed policy options and any applicable policy implementation;

    A summary of the Initiative’s strengths, challenges, findings, and implications; and

    Recommendations for systems improvement, including interagency collaboration and service delivery; data collection, sharing and tracking; state and/or agency level policy updates; and legislative proposals.

This Order shall take effect immediately. 

So Ordered:


Daniel J. McKee

[1]  https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf