Human trafficking is everywhere. It’s in our country. It’s in your community. And it has the potential to be in your jail or even your social circle. Three of the top five risk factors for human trafficking are substance use, unstable housing, and mental health concerns, all of which are also frequently found in incarcerated individuals. But the scariest fact about human trafficking is that its reach isn’t limited to vulnerable populations – anyone, of any race, gender, or age can become a victim at any time.
Being able to defend your pretrial practice is essential for everyone at your agency because if you’re not making strategic, goal-driven decisions, you risk having a “practice” that’s an aggregation of tools and processes and not a defensible strategy at all. Every tool, every process, and every decision related to pretrial must be data-driven and helping you reach your goals.
In this series, Greg Eash, a 25-year veteran correctional officer specializing in classification and inmate behavior management, sits down with corrections experts who are making a difference in their communities to learn about their successes, challenges, and what’s next for their jail.
Amy Bach, founder of the non-profit Measures for Justice, lives by the motto: “You can’t change what you can’t see.” Illuminating the truth through data has been her life’s passion, and Amy works with agencies across the country to make meaningful change to promote justice. Hear stories about data research at MSJ, and get advice for how your agency can start moving toward greater transparency and positive change.
Problem-solving courts are designed to address the underlying cause of the crime (e.g., a substance abuse) rather than simply punish a person for the crime itself. They’re rehabilitative. They reduce recidivism. And when they’re operating effectively, they’re a coordinated effort involving the judge, district attorney, defense attorney, treatment provider, supervision professional, and often a program coordinator.
Risk level and supervision level don’t match up on a clean 1:1 basis, and it’s up to supervision professionals to understand the nuances of each to make appropriate supervision decisions. Risk and supervision levels are two distinct guidelines based on different inputs, and risk level should be used to inform supervision level, not replace it. Let’s take a closer look.
While the ways we collect, record, process, and analyze data have changed substantially in the past 35 years, the core issue remains the same: Data quality is central to justice. Using data to support decisions is critical at every single stage of justice, and we have to be able to rely on the quality of the data we’re using to make the best decisions possible.
The line between health issues and legal issues is frequently blurred, particularly with mental illness and substance use disorders. How can we un-blur that line? How do we get people the help they need while maintaining public safety? Host Sue Humphreys talks with Ayesha Delany-Brumsey of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and Stepping Up Initiative to examine health issues in the justice system and what’s making a difference.
You can’t do it alone. When it comes to pretrial reform, every jurisdiction in every state is facing different challenges, but one truth is universal: Success takes cooperation. When a formal or informal group such as a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) convenes regularly, communities see crime decrease, pretrial jail stays shorten, and criminal justice costs decline. These groups are collaborative boards that help solve both specific problems and systemic issues. But, you don’t have to have a CJCC to start pulling together the right people and working toward change.
Validation. You’ve heard about it over the years. You know it’s a best practice. But can you explain it to your agency’s stakeholders? Many criminal justice practitioners, even those of us who have undergone a validation study, are still fuzzy on the details. And while many of the details can be safely left up to the researchers and scientists, as practitioners, we still need to be conversant enough on validation to answer questions from our stakeholders.