Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Strategic Planning Initiative

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): IL

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2010/$125,000

About the Program:

Created in 1983, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) is a state agency dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice. Serving as the State Administering Agency (SAA), the agency brings together key leaders from the justice system and the public to identify critical issues facing the criminal justice system in Illinois, and to propose and evaluate policies, programs, and legislation that address those issues. As noted on their Web page, the last decade has witnessed the need to connect justice processes with a broad array of health and human services. New research has highlighted the link between mental illness and substance use disorders, and arrest, prosecution, incarceration, and recidivism; and, there has also been a new movement toward evidence-based practices. In order to address these needs in a fiscally challenging time, ICJIA has engaged in a comprehensive assessment process to identify challenges within the criminal justice system during Fiscal Year 2010. With information from state and local leaders, criminal justice practitioners, policymakers, and service providers about the primary challenges facing their agencies or jurisdictions related to the effective administration of services and sanctions, ICJIA completed a needs assessment within which the most prevalent issues were identified. Topics were validated using existing Illinois criminal justice and health and human services data for quantitative evidence and staff examined academic literature, state criminal justice and drug policy strategies, and reports and policy statements from major national criminal justice-related groups and associations.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Using the knowledge gained, Illinois has planned a two-day Summit for September 2010 that will bring together criminal justice practitioners, policy makers, legislators and the community to address important issues. After the event, working groups will be formed by interest area: law enforcement, prosecution, courts, probation, corrections, community corrections, victims' services and juvenile justice to develop aspects of a long range strategic plan for criminal justice policy and programs. The results will guide legislators and policy makers in implementing a coherent criminal justice strategy for future years that is firmly grounded in best practices and will guide the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority in its function as state administering agency in developing long term grant funding priorities.

Many criminal justice agencies and social service organizations spend time reacting to changes in crime or the needs of a community rather than anticipating and preparing for them. This reactive strategy is called crisis management. When caught off guard agencies and organizations are required to spend an exorbitant amount of time and money coping with immediate problems leaving little time or funding to anticipate and prepare for future challenges. A sensible alternative to crisis management is a well tested process called strategic planning. Strategic planning is an overall framework for success - a process of defining a strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating resources to pursue the strategy. BJA encourages both state and local comprehensive justice planning, bringing all system stakeholders together, including law enforcement, courts, prosecutors, defenders, corrections official and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive and strategic justice plan to ensure coordination and a more effective justice system. As a part of this strategic planning process, BJA strongly encourages state and local planners to consider programs that are evidence-based and have been proven effective; in a difficult budgetary climate, it is critical that dollars are spent on programs whose effectiveness is proven.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Dr. Lisa Braude
Email: Lisa.Braude@Illinois.gov
Phone: 312-793-8944

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