Ada County has made a significant investment in jail diversion, enhancing community-police relations, and establishing quicker in-custody case processing. Notable initiatives include participation in Phase II of the National Institute of Corrections’ Transition from Jail to Community initiative to improve reintegration services through system change and collaborative relationships among jail and community partners. In addition, the county’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council has led work aimed at improving pretrial processes, court calendaring, inmate flow in the courtrooms, and the standardization of certain sentencing decisions.
To build on past efforts, Ada County was awarded $1 million from the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2017 to implement strategies that address the main drivers of the local jail population that would be better served by receiving treatment or working in the community.
To continue reducing the jail population safely, the county plans to implement several new strategies aimed at implementing systemic changes, including the creation of a pretrial assessment tool for judges to get a better understanding of how much risk someone charged with a crime presents to the community; streamlining case management and services and expanding non-jail options for lower-risk offenders. This will include an increase in community outreach to local African American and Native American communities to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities in our jail population, and working closely with the State of Idaho’s new Ada County Behavioral Community Crisis Center to focus on providing support for populations with disproportionate jail use.