Blog

The initial decision to detain or release an accused person, either with or without financial and other conditions, is made by a judicial officer—usually pretty quickly, and often with a minimum of information. But this quick decision can have serious long-term consequences, and not just for individual detainees. So why not take a second look? […]

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Long a global leader in incarceration rates and the subject of federal consent decrees looming over both the police department and the sheriff’s office, New Orleans is making major efforts to reduce its jail population as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge. One of these key strategies is pre-booking diversion. New Orleans will launch […]

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Any indication our neighborhoods may be becoming less safe will always be met with anxiety. The FBI’s annual report on crime, released in September, will fairly be met with some concern that our collective effort to keep citizens safe is going in the wrong direction. According to the FBI, the violent crime rate in the United […]

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After more than four decades of continuous growth, the U.S. jail population has been on the decline since 2008. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the average daily jail population declined yet again, slightly, by 2.4 percent. The Vera Institute of Justice’s recent report Out of Sight: The Growth of […]

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With Des Moines—the state capitol—as its county seat, Polk County is the largest county in Iowa. Yet, despite continued population growth over the last 20 years, mental health funding for the county has remained stagnant. Like many jurisdictions across the United States, we are consistently seeking ways to work within these constraints to improve resources […]

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On any given day, there are more than 730,000 people incarcerated in more than 3,000 local jails across the United States. While many people assume that high incarceration rates are only concentrated in major cities, a recent report by the Vera Institute of Justice reveals that, in fact, small and rural counties are the main […]

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As Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” It’s hard to imagine a better example of the need for new ways of thinking than in the difficult challenge of criminal-justice reform at the local level of government. Whether you’re driven by a […]

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Relationship-building and data-information-sharing have proven to be invaluable assets for our agency, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). In recent years, our agency—like many others—began to struggle with funding, jail overcrowding, slowed case processing, and increased average-lengths-of-stay (ALOS). To better identify the root cause of the problems, we created a Population Analysis Unit in […]

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As the project director of Charleston County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), I know firsthand the challenges counties face in improving their criminal justice systems and changing jail use. I also know the opportunities CJCCs present in building coalitions of government and community leaders to tackle these problems head-on. Thanks to our involvement in the […]

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Earlier this month, members of the Safety and Justice Challenge Network met in Denver to discuss progress on our shared goals of reducing jail incarceration while creating fairer, more effective justice systems. Stakeholders from 39 jurisdictions gathered to share their experiences and expertise in developing and implementing reform strategies, while also securing buy-in from their […]

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