Criminal Justice Programs

NACo's Criminal Justice Programs provide technical assistance to counties through educational programming on a range of issues addressing local corrections systems from pre-trial services to local re-entry initiatives. These programs are dedicated to assisting counties with exploring opportunities for efficient and effective use of public dollars. 

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Maeghan Gilmore, MPH
Program Director

Also of Interest

Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee

Health Steering Committee 

CSI Blog




​​​ ​​​NACo & Models for Change Juvenile Justice Forum

The NACo Juvenile Justice Forum with the MacArthur's Models for Change was held May 7-9 in Cook County, Illinois​

Click here for more information.


​​​ ​County Innovation Poster Session​


County Innovation Poster Session at the
2014 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition
July 11-14, 2014 | Orleans Parish, LA

Member counties are invited to showcase their initiatives and programs at the 2014 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition: County Solutions and Idea Marketplace in Orleans Parish, LA.

Click here​ to learn more and apply.​

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Reforming County Public Defender Delivery Systems  - NACo 2014 WIR Conference
Presentations: The 6th Amendment Right to Counsel and the Idaho Experience -- The Montana Public Defender System
Dan Chadwick, Executive Director of the Idaho Association of Counties and Sheryl Wood, Associate Director of the Montana Association of Counties  presented their respective states’ experiences with reforming public defender delivery systems.

NACo's 2013 County Solutions and Idea Marketplace: The Annual Conference of the National Association of Counties
Presentations: Courts Subcommittee -- Juvenile Justice Subcommitee -- Creating an Efficient Justice System through Your County's Courts -- To Build or Not to Build...a New Jail
Our 78th Annual Conference and Exposition provided an opportunity for county leaders and staff to learn, network and guide the direction of the association.

The Better Futures Model: Improving Employment Opportunities and Outcomes for Justice-Involved Individuals
Recording and Presentations
Each year seven million individuals are released from local jails and returned to local communities. Assisting with their employment needs can reduce recidivism and ease in the re-entry process. Better Futures Minnesota, a social enterprise in Hennepin County (Minneapolis), MN, is helping to create jobs, achieve better results and reduce public spending for individuals returning to communities from jail or prison.

Front-End Justice Reform: The Role of Risk Assessments in Cost-Saving Justice Reform
Recording and Presentations
How can counties safely reduce jail populations and save county taxpayer dollars? Find out how your county can create and validate a risk-assessment instrument tailored to your jurisdiction's needs and discover best practices counties have used to overcome common implementation barriers.

Supportive Housing: What You Need to Know About Getting Started
Recording and Presentations
Find out how counties are using the Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) supportive housing model to reduce costs and break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness among individuals with behavioral health needs.

Smart Justice Practices for Counties: Effective Behavioral Health Interventions
County correctional systems are increasingly challenged in their efforts to meet the needs of justice-involved individuals with mental health and substance use issues. Learn more about promising and successful models for diverting mentally ill individuals into comprehensive crisis care services and supporting the behavioral health needs ot ex-offenders reentering the community.

Creating Supportive Housing Initiatives in Your County
NACo held a 1.5 day forum June 7-8, 2012 which explored how counties can advance supportive housing initiatives for individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

Diagnosing Your Criminal Justice System: Identifying Approaches, Issues and Priorities
Recording and Presentations
Criminal Justice Coordinating Councils (CJCCs) enable justice system stakeholders to convene and create system improvements. Learn how to diagnose your system, make use of your data and overcome challenges.

Kentucky Justice Reform: Enhancing Public Safety and Improving Performance
Find out how Kentucky's data-driven reforms to the state and local justice systems strengthened probation and parole, and reinvested in community intervention resources.

Linking Justice-Involved Individuals with Supportive Housing
Recording and Presentations
Learn how the Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) supportive housing model can help break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness among individuals with behavioral health needs.

Our ability to carry out these program activities is supported by grants from the following organizations:











RSS_Sketch.png County Solutions and Innovation Blog Spotlight:
Justice and Public Safety
NACo Past President Chris Rodgers: Counties Can Improve Juvenile Justice System Outcomes

​Written by Kathy Rowings, NACo Justice Associate

chris-rodgers.pngAs the primary local provider of health, justice and social services, counties have the responsibility and opportunity to improve their juvenile justice systems. Current detention strategies are increasingly being shown to be ineffective, but counties can implement comprehensive, collaborative, evidence-based programs and policies that bolster public safety and improve human outcomes.  This is the message that NACo Immediate Past President Chris Rodgers, Commissioner from Douglas County, Neb., wants county leaders to hear.

Commissioner Rodgers authored an op-edencouraging county leaders to take a look at the juvenile justice systems in their community and noting that many current juvenile justice programs and practices are not only expensive but also ineffect...

(read more)

3 weeks ago

Improving Juvenile Justice by Engaging Families

Written by Kathy Rowings, NACo Justice Associate.​
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What does your county do to keep families engaged while their child is involved in the juvenile justice system? Families care about their children, but the justice system can be overwhelming and can create serious barriers to families staying connected. Many counties know that family engagement is an important piece of any good juvenile justice system, but struggle to keep parents involved as their child’s case progresses.

Family engagement programming can take many different forms, from basic education about how the juvenile justice system works to building family capacity with the help of community-based services. By thoughtfully communicating with and engaging families and taking into consideration...

(read more)

5 weeks ago

Juvenile Justice News and Updates

Written by Kathy Rowings​, NACo Justice Associate​

As part of NACo’s ongoing partnership with the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative, each month we’ll be sharing helpful and informative news items relating to juvenile justice reform. If a topic piques your interest, be sure to check out Models for Change for more information, or visit one of the Resource Centers to learn more about better responses to mental health needs, stronger public defense for indigent youth, appropriate interventions for youth charged with status offenses and improving coordinated systems of care for dual status youth.

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2 months ago

​NACo Hosts Forum on Juvenile Justice Reform in Cook County, Ill.

Wirtten by Kathy Rowings, NACo Justice Associate.

Bob Schwartz of the Juvenile Law Center and Kim Booth of the Allegheny County (Pa.) Juvenile Court discuss the importance of providing quality supports and services to kids as they transition back into their communities.

On May 7-9, NACo hosted Juvenile Justice Reform: Implementing Change and Improving Outcomes. County leaders, staff and experts from around the country came together to discuss juvenile justice reforms that are working and to learn about the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change juvenile justice reform initiative.

Juvenile justice reform is an important issue for counties across the country.  Research shows that youth incarceration increases recidivism and decreases the chance that a child will finish...

(read more)

2 months ago

Show Off Your Work at NACo’s Annual Conference!

NACo member counties are invited to participate in a Poster Session at the 2014 NACo County Solutions and Idea Marketplace in Orleans Parish, La. to be held July 11-14.

Designed to showcase initiatives and programs that provide evidence-based, cost-saving solutions for counties, the Poster Session will feature the success stories, tools, lessons learned and how-to’s of innovative county services and will share these lessons with counties throughout the country.  By providing a platform for innovative activities in a diverse range of counties, parishes and boroughs, the Poster Session will allow your programs and initiatives to be highlighted before a national audience.

Space is limited!  Take advantage of this opportunity to showcase your county’s innovative programs by submitting your application no later than Friday, Ma...

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2 months ago