Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to Advance Social Justice
To ensure the fair administration of criminal justice, St. Louis and the 22nd Judicial Circuit are working to improve communication, collaboration, and planning. To this end, FUSE Executive Fellow Debbie Allen helped operationalize and institutionalize a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), for which she then served as interim executive director. The council and its committees include elected and appointed officials, along with senior level stakeholders from criminal and juvenile justice agencies, government administration, and key cross-sector organizations. Debbie helped the CJCC establish the foundation for an information sharing ecosystem, improving the operation of criminal justice systems in St. Louis through effective data collection, sharing, and analysis. While leading the CJCC, Debbie oversaw the development and launch of a number of initiatives. She mapped how a person moves through the local criminal justice system, as well as which data systems are used and how data flows among criminal justice agencies, helping ensure that decisions are evidence-based and grounded in reality. She instituted data sharing agreements to establish data exchanges and a data warehouse in support of cross-disciplinary strategic planning and implementation, and she piloted a medication consistency initiative to provide continuity of care to justice-involved individuals who need medication. With an established CJCC, St. Louis is in a better position to advance criminal justice reform, improving outcomes for justice-involved individuals, reducing recidivism, and enhancing public safety.