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.
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.
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.
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.
There are two critical parts of this process, either of which can make or break the accuracy of your assessment results: the assessment itself, and the way your team uses it. To ensure the accuracy of the assessment, you need to conduct validation and outcomes studies. To ensure accuracy of the human elements of risk assessment, your agency needs to adopt a continuous cycle of quality assurance, or QA.
As supervision professionals, we’re focused on the myriad things the individual needs to address to avoid recidivism, and the most immediate priority needs to be the moment of reentry. When their feet hit the pavement, then what? Do they have a place to live? Do they have something to eat? Do they have a valid ID Over the past three decades, we’ve seen hundreds of different takes on discharge/release/reentry planning, and we’ve learned that success really comes down to a few key factors.
Validation is an essential part of using risk assessments. Even if the assessment tool you’re using has been validated on other populations in other jurisdictions, you don’t know if the tool is really working for YOUR population in YOUR jurisdiction unless you validate it using local data.
Customers come to us for help with everything from managing change to working through reform issues to navigating ongoing resource challenges. As we work with teams across the country, we’re able to spot trends as they unfold, and we’re constantly learning more and applying what we learn to new situations. In 2019, customers asked questions that shed light on the current state of corrections and the trends that are starting to trickle down to agencies of all sizes. Check out our Top 3.