NACo Launches Convening County, Court & Justice Leaders Initiative with five sites
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is pleased to announce the first round of participants for the Convening County, Court & Justice Leaders: A Framework for Cross-System Collaboration initiative. The initiative was launched in January 2022 by NACo and its partners at Rulo Strategies and Praxis Consulting, with support from the State Justice Institute. It is designed to support county, court and justice leaders as they partner to establish local priorities and align resources to achieve their justice and public safety goals. The initial participating sites are:
Improving behavioral health, reducing stigma
Criminal justice and behavioral health leaders in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville will establish a strategic planning framework designed to reduce reliance on incarceration, in appropriate circumstances, to address local public health and safety challenges. The city-county team will seek to improve its jail-to-community transition and reentry services, expand alternatives to incarceration such as diversion and reduce the stigma associated with being justice-involved or having a substance use or mental health disorder. As part of this effort, the team will support additional community-based services and improve community members access to appropriate mental health and substance abuse services.
Addressing community violence
The Cuyahoga County team will leverage its existing Corrections Planning Board to build a more robust criminal justice planning group that focuses on community violence - especially the increase in gun violence and gun-related homicides - and the underlying problems that lead to violence. As part of the planning process, the team will examine opportunities to expand prosecutor and court diversion programs, develop a unified reentry program for people leaving jail and reduce racial and ethnic disparities among justice-involved individuals.
Increasing access to services and collecting, sharing data
The Lake County team will improve collaboration between county and court leaders and community stakeholders by developing and implementing a community justice plan. Over the project period, local leaders will examine opportunities to increase access to and the quality of justice and community-based services and improve data collection and sharing practices by and between justice-related agencies to inform effective policy making. The community’s new action plan will include strategies to reduce crime and address other court-based measures to promote community wellness and reduce associated justice costs.
Bridging the gap between mental health and the criminal justice system
Navajo County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) will work to establish effective collaboration between county, court and justice partners and community-based organizations to improve the lives of the community's most vulnerable residents. Specifically, the project team will develop an action plan to bridge the gap between community behavioral health providers and the criminal justice system to better address the needs of people with mental health disorders. The planning team will examine opportunities to expand law enforcement and court diversion programs and develop and implement policies and procedures that will support communication and coordination across CJCC member agencies and community stakeholders.
Improving aftercare and reentry
The Potter County team will establish a data-driven road map that takes a systematic approach to criminal justice and prevention activities. The goal is to unify existing county and justice-related efforts and enhance services and programs to improve outcomes for people involved in the justice system. The planning team will examine opportunities to build an aftercare program that assists people in jail with reentry into the community to reduce recidivism and improve individual outcomes.
“SJI is pleased to support this opportunity to enhance a collaborative and sustainable relationship between county leaders, judges and justice stakeholders," said Jonathan Mattiello, Executive Director of the State Justice Institute (SJI).
Selected sites will receive ongoing one-on-one technical assistance, have access to a peer network and be offered the opportunity to showcase their results in a nationally disseminated toolkit.
The application for the project has closed. Click the link to see the second round of sites for the Convening County, Court & Justice Leaders Initiative.