This is what's next

A. T. Wall

Director, RI Department of Corrections

It would probably surprise most people in our state to learn that at this moment 3% of our fellow Rhode Islanders are under the authority of the Department of Corrections. This means that at any one time, one of every thirty-one people in our state are either in our custody here at our facilities or required to meet regularly with our Probation and Parole officers, who competently manage very high caseloads.

If you were to look more deeply into these numbers, you would see a clear and powerful correlation between some very specific social problems and who ends up in the cells here in Cranston and reporting to our Probation and Parole offices around the state. Offenders often have the following in common:

  • They have significant health issues, often longstanding and unaddressed.
  • They have arrived at adulthood lagging behind in educational achievement.
  • They lack access to mainstream job opportunities.

These challenges line up precisely with the Strategic Initiatives that the Rhode Island Foundation is championing:

Educational Success: Improve educational outcomes for all public school students.

Economic Security: Improve Rhode Island’s environment for economic growth so all Rhode Islanders can prosper.

Healthy Lives: Improve access to and quality of primary care for all Rhode Islanders.

In response to the theme Now What? that the Foundation has set for these posts, I would say the following: These strategic initiatives are not only important for our state as a whole, but also direct investments in public safety. Improving access to health care, developing essential educational opportunities, and generating meaningful jobs for all Rhode Islanders all help create the pathway to a productive and law-abiding life.


One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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