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.
The police are heroes on the front line. The district attorney is hard-nosed but fair. The defense is a champion for the underdog. The judge is wise, strong and authoritative. And the correctional officer is a corrupt, violent brute. Sound familiar? Television shows, movies, and even media coverage frequently stick to the same tropes, and it’s the exception, not the rule, to see correctional officers doing the right thing. In fact, in a study of media coverage of correctional officers in the U.S., researchers found that correctional officers are portrayed negatively nearly 80% of the time. So what can we, as the hardworking professionals who ARE doing the right thing, do to counteract this perception?
In every county in the U.S. that has both a jail and a county psychiatric facility, more people with mental illnesses are in jail than in the hospital. Forty-four states report that their jails and prisons house more people with mental illnesses than their largest state psychiatric hospital. We have a problem in this country, and it’s not just a jail problem. It’s a systemic problem. Mental illness is being criminalized, and it’s up to everyone involved in the justice system to stop it.
Chances are, 60% of the people in your jail haven't been convicted of a crime and are still awaiting trial. Around 30% are in your custody because they are unable to pay a cash bond. The courts may be at the center of the pretrial reform debate, but jails are at the center of the ongoing repercussions of those decisions.
Youth crime is down, but the severity of offenses is up. Abuse and neglect are on the rise. Kids today are dealing with a lot, and sometimes, courts have the opportunity to intervene at just the right moment to make a difference. Host Sue Humphreys welcomes the Honorable Judge Anthony Capizzi to talk about juvenile justice, the role of the court, and how alternative interventions are sparking positive change.
What if you could save 5 minutes per individual that your agency serves? 10 minutes? 15? Even a few minutes per person could make a substantial impact on your team’s ability to manage their time and their caseload. It’s time to re-think your assessment strategy. Even the most assessment-savvy agencies are losing precious minutes on non-essential assessment questions, and saving your team that extra five or more minutes is easier than you think.