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JRI Year: 2017



Since 2005, the number of people in North Dakota’s prisons and jails, on probation, and on parole increased, and the state and county governments spent tens of millions of dollars expanding the capacity of existing correctional facilities and building new facilities to accommodate this growth. In 2017, the prison population was projected to grow 36 percent by 2022 at a cost of $130 million. The Incarceration Issues Committee—which included stakeholders from all three branches of government—used JRI with technical assistance from the CSG Justice Center to review analyses and develop policy options.


On April 21, 2017, then-Governor Doug Burgum signed Senate Bill 2015 and House Bill 1041, which were designed to curb prison population growth by reducing the number of people in prison who have committed lower-level felony offenses and who have violated the conditions of their supervision by placing them on probation and limiting length of stay, respectively. As a result of policy and practice changes, prison space was prioritized for people who are convicted of serious and violent offenses, and supervision resources could be focused on people who are most likely to reoffend.1


Through JRI, North Dakota established the Free Through Recovery (FTR) program to improve access to quality, community-based behavioral health treatment for people reentering society and ultimately reduce their involvement in the criminal justice system. As of 2020, the number of FTR providers had grown to 48, and by 2022, more than 2,700 people had participated in the program.

For more information, see Justice Reinvestment in North Dakota.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Reclassify/redefine drug offenses
  • Reclassify/redefine property offenses
  • Establish/expand presumptive probation for some offenses
  • Revise drug-free school zone
  • Establish/expand geriatric or medical parole
  • Improve behavioral health interventions
  • Establish/extend oversight council
  • Require data collection/performance

1 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2023, Justice Reinvestment in North Dakota, New York, NY: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, retrieved May 19, 2023 from

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