NGA Center Releases Criminal Justice Guide For Governors

WASHINGTON—The majority of the U.S. prison population is housed in state prisons, which means governors have a unique role to play in shaping state corrections policies and criminal justice reform. Supporters on both ends of the political spectrum, from the Koch Brothers to President Obama, have pushed for such reform.

To help with that effort, the National Governors Association (NGA) today released A Governor’s Guide to Criminal Justice, which gives governors and their criminal justice policy advisors the critical information they need to implement effective policies and programs in areas such as institutional corrections, parole and probation and juvenile justice.

“The NGA Center for Best Practices’ work with governors’ criminal justice advisors from the last 15 years has informed this report,” said NGA Center Homeland Security and Public Safety Division Director Jeff McLeod. “The goal is for governors and their advisors to use the guide as a tool to help improve justice and public safety policy decisions.”

Specifically, the guide:

  • Provides an overview of governors’ roles and responsibilities as they relate to public safety;
  • Examines the key components that make up a state’s criminal justice system and explains the interplay between state, local and federal functions;
  • Explores budgetary aspects of criminal justice systems;
  • Defines evidence-based practices and examine their role in achieving policy objectives; and
  • Identifies ways that data can be used to drive policy, ensure accountability, and improve public safety.

For more information about the NGA Center Homeland Security and Public Safety Division, visit