Since 2014, the Wisconsin Criminal Justice Coordinating Council has been engaged in a planning and implementation project through the National Institute of Corrections’ Evidence-Based Decision Making Initiative. NIC’s EBDM initiative aims to apply “empirical knowledge and research-supported principles to justice system decisions made at the case, agency and system level and seeks to equip criminal justice local and state policymakers with the information, processes, and tools that will result in measurable reductions of pretrial misconduct, post-conviction reoffending, and other forms of community harm resulting from crime.”
The State CJCC is working to implement the goals and initiatives identified during the planning process. The state’s implementation plans are centered on three overarching goals for the criminal justice system: 1) increase public safety, reduce harm, and improve the quality of life; 2) promote fairness and equal treatment; and 3) use resources effectively. To advance these goals, the state team has developed a multi-faceted plan that will implement a variety of approaches at different decision points across the criminal justice system. These approaches and decision points include such things as creating or expanding pretrial or diversion programs, increasing the use of risk and needs assessments at different points in the system, piloting evidence-based strategies in local jurisdictions, and developing model policies and training programs for use across the state. Through this approach, the state team seeks to implement criminal justice improvements that have a true system-wide impact.
As part of these efforts, the State CJCC has approved to use the federal Justice Assistance Grant funding for local EBDM jurisdictions in Wisconsin to support pilot projects to develop a pretrial program designed to maximize public safety and court appearance while maximizing pretrial release. The pilot programs utilize data and research to develop a model that can be tested and evaluated to determine the effectiveness, to potentially lead to replication in other counties.
The Statewide Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s Evidence-Based Decision Making Subcommittee served as the Phase V State Policy Team.