System Assessment and Planning

Sponsors: State of Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance

The Center provided assistance to the newly formed Wisconsin Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to assist the Council in developing their structure, process, and principles for operation. Interviews were conducted with a number of the key stakeholders on the Council as well as staff designated to support the Council in its ongoing work. A presentation to the Council was delivered in July, 2012 that focused on the history of Crime Commissions/Councils; examples of accomplishments and effective, research driven methods/approaches for current Commissions/Councils; and assessment of readiness to begin their work; and key next steps that should be undertaken.

Sponsors: JEHT Foundation Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice

The Center provides facilitation and other technical assistance to the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, established by the Colorado legislature in 2007. Project staff works with the Commission to implement the requirements of the legislation to craft an effective organizational structure, develop a clear scope of work, implement effective communication processes with key agencies across the state, and define staff roles and responsibilities and a strategic plan. The project provides assistance in the establishment and implementation of advisory committees to ensure the goals of the Commission are achieved, and provides assistance to each advisory committee in developing their individual mission, role, responsibility, and structure, as well as work plans to support the strategic plan of the Commission. Working with the commission and its advisory committees, the project assists in the development of strategies to engage other boards, task forces, and commissions from around the state. Project staff provided guidance and direction to the ten initial advisory committees and continues to assist with the commission’s seven active advisory committees. The commission has developed over one hundred policy and practice recommendations including twenty-one major pieces of legislation in the areas of: adult corrections, probation; parole; incarceration; behavioral health; sentencing; sex offender management; juvenile justice; minority overrepresentation; bail; and, drug policy.

Sponsors: Harris County, Texas

The Center assisted the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department in conducting a preliminary assessment of the Supervision and Corrections Department and of the Department’s working relationship with the judges of the District and County Courts, principally through interviews with judges, Community Supervision and Corrections Department staff, and other Harris County practitioners. The effort focused on identifying the expectations of judges and community supervision and corrections staff, perceived strengths of the department, possible gaps or weaknesses in Community Supervision and Correction’s organization and/or service delivery, and current and emerging issues. Following completion of the assessment, the Center gathered and presented information about the organization and approaches to probation in other large urban jurisdictions in the United States, and finally, used the information gathered to assist Harris County in developing plans for a national search for a new Director of Community Supervision and Corrections.

Sponsors: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections

This initiative was designed to assist state and local policymakers in eight jurisdictions to develop and implement more purposeful, cost effective, and coordinated policies on the design, use, capacity, and cost of their system of correctional options for pretrial and sentenced offenders. The criminal justice system assessment, a primary component of the project, was a systemic information gathering process that participating jurisdictions used to comprehensively assess their criminal justice systems. The final stages of the project focused on the completion of a handbook to guide criminal justice system planning. The handbook (Getting it Right: Collaborative Problem Solving for Criminal Justice) provides a framework for envisioning a desired future for the criminal justice system, assessing current policies and practices, and planning and implementing strategies to achieve the desired future.

Sponsors: Ohio Department of Youth Services

The Ohio Department of Youth Services contracted with the Center to undertake a review of current policy and practice with respect to releasing youthful offenders from the Ohio Department of Youth Services facilities. The Center completed a quantitative analysis of data on a cohort of released youth and completed a comprehensive “mapping” of the process a youth follows from arrest through adjudication, admission, and release. In addition, the Center worked with the Department’s internal working committee to develop a set of goals for a Transition Control Board that would have statutory responsibility for release. The Center also conducted a thorough review of risk assessment technology as it is applied to youthful offenders and made recommendations for the development of a dynamic risk assessment tool to be used in the Department’s decision making process.

Sponsors: Joint Community Corrections Act Planning Board of Eastern Ohio

The Joint Community Corrections Act Planning Board of Eastern Ohio, representing six counties, contracted with the Center to conduct a comprehensive criminal justice system assessment in each of these six Ohio counties. Over a four-month period, Center staff, in collaboration with Justice Research Associates, assisted in the formation of local policy teams, and conducted an on-site system assessment over the course of several site visits. From these visits, project staff: developed criminal justice system flowcharts; diagramed each county’s continuum of sanctions; collected and described the profiles of the local offender population; collected arrest and crime data; and conducted a community resource inventory. A full-day workshop with policymakers from all six counties was conducted to review in detail the analyses of data collected, and assist local policy teams as they made judgments about their current sanctioning system. A community meeting was designed and facilitated by Center staff at the request of one of the counties. The project culminated with a final assessment report.

Sponsors: Stark County Criminal Justice Planning Board

The Center was contracted to work with the local criminal justice planning board in Stark County, Ohio, to assist the County in developing an understanding of their offender population, their use of sanctions to respond to that population, and the potential for identifying target populations for diversion from the state prison system. Over a six-month period, the Center, working closely with Justice Research Associates, conducted a detailed pipeline study of the misdemeanor and felony offender populations, as well as a snapshot of the jail population. Project staff were able to describe in detail patterns of disposition that emerged from the data analysis, describe the characteristics (offense, criminal history, history of violence, and personal characteristics) of the offender population, and identify target populations for potential diversion.