The Domestic Violence Department of the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court provides individualized on-site advocacy services and legal assistance to litigants requesting civil protection orders, and runs a dedicated docket staffed by two dedicated, specially trained hearing officers who handle all domestic violence civil protection order cases authorized under Ohio statute.
Based in Rockford, Illinois, the Winnebago County Domestic Violence Coordinated Courts set a national example for responding to domestic violence. Intimate-partner criminal cases are heard in one courtroom, civil cases (including all domestic violence-related divorce cases and intimate partner orders of protection) in another. On-site victim advocacy, advanced clerical practices, open communication among the court and community agencies, and other innovative practices are key to the success of the court.
On our New Thinking podcast, Patrick Sharkey, the author of Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence, discusses the wider costs of violence and the threat posed by inequality and disinvestment to the current fragile gains. He points to the signal role of community organizing and community-based nonprofits in combating violence and building safer, more resilient cities.
This report details the design, implementation, and impacts of Up & Out, a brief, non-custodial intervention to help misdemeanor defendants critically consider ways to avoid future justice-involvement. The intention of the program is to offer a meaningful, proportionate alternative to short-term incarceration. Research suggests this population has a strong propensity to repeat justice-involvement fueled by needs for treatment and services in areas such as housing, substance use, and mental health.
Prosecutors across the country are increasingly developing innovative strategies to divert pretrial defendants to community-based programs. While risk assessment can be a powerful aid to identifying eligible participants, in practice, selecting and putting into place the proper tool can be challenging. Drawing on recent studies of risk assessments used in pretrial contexts, this document lays out key principles for ensuring their effective implementation.
This study seeks to validate the Criminal Court Assessment Tool on a sample of misdemeanor defendants participating in a deferred prosecution program in Cook County, Illinois. We developed the brief, publicly accessible risk-and-needs assessment for use in high-volume jurisdictions. In this study, it was found to have good overall predictive accuracy, with program participants identified as having significant needs related to substance use and employment, supporting the use of diversion to services in lieu of prosecution.
How do we reconcile the call in some quarters for more low-level enforcement with a desire to reduce the impact of the criminal justice system, particularly on communities of color? This Boston University Law Review article attempts to answer that question by articulating a new approach to misdemeanor justice that reconciles the maintenance of public safety with the urgent need to reduce unnecessary incarceration.
Who gets to decide which reforms to the criminal justice system receive the imprimatur of "evidence-based"? To combat what she sees as the monopoly over these decisions created by the high cost of the current evaluation model, Angela Hawken founded BetaGov, offering free and fast evaluations of public policy programs. What is more, as Hawken explains on our New Thinking podcast, the ideas tested generally come from practitioners, or even clients, inside the systems themselves.