Based on legislation created by the State Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council, who “oversees state-level reviews of local corrections programs, county jails and probation services, and the processes used by the Department of Correction and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction in awarding grants,” HEA 1068, the Local JRAC Statue, was signed into law on April 8, 2021 by Governor Holcomb, requiring the establishment of a Local JRAC in every Indiana County. The primary focus of establishing Local JRAC Councils is to have local leaders in our county’s criminal justice system come together to answer the following questions:
How do we do things now?
What do we need to do to better ensure public safety and reduce recidivism?
How do we efficiently and effectively implement system improvements, while maximizing resources?
How can we better work together to serve our community?
The overarching goal of Local JRACs is to examine and analyze local data and practices to improve criminal justice outcomes. Additionally, Local JRACs are required:
to promote the use of evidence-based and best practices in the areas of community-based sentencing alternatives and recidivism reduction
review, evaluate, and make recommendations about local practices (community-based corrections and jail overcrowding)
compile reports as directed by the State JRAC
communicate with the State JRAC to establish and implement best practices and to ensure consistent collection and reporting of data
Cass County Local Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council
Per Statute, Community Corrections Advisory Boards are permitted to assume the role of the local JRAC Council, however, it was voted in July 2021’s Advisory Board Meeting that both Cass and Pulaski County would form separate Local JRAC Councils in order to best discuss and meet the needs of their individual counties and communities.
In response, Cass County’s Local JRAC Council began formally meeting in October of 2021, expanding the statutorily required member list to ensure all key stakeholders and partners in the Cass County Criminal Justice System were included, signing bylaws on November 1, 2021 sharing the following common mission:
“Coming together to create a collaborative system of care that promotes evidence-based practices and utilizes data analysis to improve criminal justice outcomes in our local community.”
The Council is currently meeting twice a month to prepare our first annual report that is due this March. Beyond reviewing data collection, utilization of evidence-based practices and local operations, the Council is focusing our working together to set system wide goals and performance measures that support the sharing of resources and continuity of care system wide, with a special focus on mental health services, improved public safety measures and jail programming.
As Chair, it is exiting to already see local leaders coming together and having conversations on how to improve the system and better serve our community. For more information on our local council, such as reports and meeting minutes, please visit our web page https://www.casspulaskicommunitycorrections.com/cass-jrac.
Hillary L. Hartoin
Court & Pretrial Services Director
Cass County Local JRAC Chair
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