Through the process of working to become an evidence-based decision making criminal justice system, your team will develop a comprehensive understanding of your current criminal justice system and a vision of what that system could look like in the future. Without complete representation of the justice system’s stakeholders on your team, you will be unlikely to develop a complete understanding of your criminal justice system or implement changes for advancement. Therefore, it is vital that your team include all key stakeholders as early in the process as possible. In other words, to implement meaningful changes, you must have at the table from the outset all those who might be involved in the potential changes your team will identify. In most cases, the choice of policy team members will be obvious and will include, at a minimum
- law enforcement officers;
- pretrial officials;
- victim advocates;
- defense attorneys;
- jail administrators;
- court administrators;
- community supervision officers; and
- city/county administrators.
Many others may also be part of your team, for example, human services professionals, treatment providers, state legislators, citizen representatives, and members of the faith community.
To help your team consider all of the individuals who have a stake in the outcomes you seek to achieve and ensure that they are included in your efforts
All policy team members should be involved in analyzing stakeholders to be included on your team.
A chart is attached to assist the team in recording their responses to Steps 1 through 5.
|Engaging the Defense Bar
While it may be relatively easy to determine which critical players should be added to your team, the challenge is devising a strategy to bring them on board. In one county, the chair of the policy team worked tenaciously to engage the private defense bar in the effort.
The chair reached out to them through multiple calls, made a point to answer any questions they had (and put in their hands relevant research), and changed the time of policy team meetings to lunchtime in order to accommodate their schedules. The defense bar began to participate in different aspects of the work, including attending training events, participating in meetings to map the current system, and joining work groups on pretrial, plea, and sentencing issues to ensure their perspectives were considered.
Through this multipronged and deliberate strategy, the chair was successful in bringing the defense bar onto the policy team to learn about EBDM alongside the other partners.
- Brainstorm a list of all agencies, organizations, and individuals that have a “stake” in criminal justice decision making in your jurisdiction.
- Organize the list in a logical fashion (e.g., group together those with influence over particular decisions, such as arrest, pretrial, community interventions, etc.).
- Review the list. Identify those stakeholders already on your team and those that are missing.
- Consider the advantages and disadvantages of including the individuals or agencies on your list. What can they add to the team? What are the possible consequences if they are not involved?
- For each identified stakeholder, determine a possible representative, considering the following questions:
- Does the team need policy-level representation, front-line staff, or both to help advance evidence-based decision making?
- Is there a particular person who is uniquely able to serve as a liaison between their constituency group and your collaborative team?
- Who can provide a unique perspective on your work, enhancing it with new ideas or insights?
- Discuss strategies for adding new members to the team, and create a work plan to carry out these strategies.
- Invariably, you will overlook someone along the way. Remain flexible and bring others onto your team as you move forward and as you deem it appropriate.
- If the team is already sufficient in size, consider adding others the team feels strongly about—such as citizens, community members, and other non-criminal justice representatives—to subcommittees and working groups. This has the advantage of including others and gaining their input in structured ways, while not expanding the policy team to an unworkably large number.
- Typically, the team will develop a lengthy list of possible team members through this analysis. The trick is to carefully select members to ensure that the team is not overly large or unworkable. Remember to consider two key factors when selecting team members: (1) their power and influence with their peers and the larger community; and (2) their openness to ideas and to new ways of looking at old problems.
EBDM Talking Points Used in One Jurisdiction
After conducting a stakeholder analysis, one jurisdiction decided to approach the local police chief in an attempt to solicit his participation in the initiative. The following are some talking points that the team chair used in his meeting.
- What is the EBDM project?
- The campaign is focused on “One less offender. One less crime. One less victim.”
- The focus is on harm reduction goals, i.e., reduced victimization and increased public safety and community wellness.
- Leadership and courage are required.
- The campaign involves developing a set of goals common to the entire system in order to achieve greater outcomes.
- The work is focused on three areas of importance:
- collaboration across agencies;
- implementation of EBP and best practices; and
- organizational development and enhancement of agency performance.
- It is based on the assumption that implementing research and best practices systemwide will achieve greater results, such as fewer crimes, reduced erosion of property values, less money spent on criminal justice, increased sense of safety, less financial loss by victims, and greater confidence of citizens in the criminal justice system.
- Law enforcement is a critical part of the system; the campaign can’t be as successful without its involvement.
- Data can be used to determine “hot spots” where law enforcement intervention is most needed.
- An actuarial tool, such as a brief screening instrument, can be used to inform cite versus detain decisions.
- Law enforcement can serve as role models by attending offender graduation programs and affirming progress.
- Law enforcement can participate, as guest speakers, in behavioral change programs.
- Social learning training (e.g., role modeling, fairness, respect) can be integrated into arrest practices.
- There would be greater cooperation with other parts of the criminal justice system.
- Law enforcement can assist in developing a countywide vision for the criminal justice system.
- What project goals/benefits are specific to law enforcement?
Center for Effective Public Policy (CEPP). (2006). Getting it right: Collaborative problem solving for criminal justice.
Retrieved from https://nicic.gov/getting-it-right-collaborative-problem-solving-crimina...
Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM). (2007). Enhancing the management of adult and juvenile sex offenders: A handbook for policymakers and practitioners.
Stakeholder Analysis Template
 Adapted from the Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM), 2007. (Teamwork Exercise 1)