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Creating Winning Innovations in Criminal Justice - January 2001


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									            Creating Winning Innovations
            in Criminal Justice
            by Gail Christopher

                                                                                                                      Lessons From
                                                                                                                      Innovative programs in criminal jus-
                                                                                                                      tice and elsewhere in government are
                                                                                                                      born when staff and administrators
                                                                                                                      face head-on the frustrations that
                                                                                                                      can be common in the public sector.
                                                                                                                      They find ways to overcome barriers

                                                                                            Photo source: PhotoDisc
                                                                                                                      and eliminate disincentives, and the
                                                                                                                      best of them find ways to sustain
                                                                                                                      their programs for the long term.
                                                                                                                      Harvard’s Kennedy School of
                                                                                                                      Government, which administers the
                                                                                                                      Innovations program, has distilled
                                                                                                                      the lessons learned from the win-
                                                                                                                      ners in the 14 years since the pro-
                 nnovation may be more of a             The Need
            I    challenge in government than
                 anywhere else. Proposals that
            depart from established ways of
                                                        The decline in the crime rate
                                                        notwithstanding, established ways
                                                        no longer produce the desired
                                                                                                                      gram began.1 Most, if not all, apply
                                                                                                                      to criminal justice agencies, where
                                                                                                                      they can serve as guidelines for seek-
                                                                                                                      ing new solutions.
            doing business may face objections
            from organizations or individuals           results in many arenas of criminal                            s   Define a mission clearly
            wedded to the status quo. In the            justice. Reinvention, with its empha-                             and in terms of compelling
            criminal justice system, innovation         sis on performance, responsiveness,                               public problems.
            may be an even greater challenge.           and customer service, is the new                                  Most award-winning govern-
            After all, crime can be a matter of         imperative and has been the                                       ment programs clearly articulate
            life and death. Protecting citizens         catalyst for innovation.                                          a purpose that is understood
            from crime and ensuring equitable                                                                             both inside and outside the
                                                        Since its inception in 1986, the
            treatment by the justice system are                                                                           organization. This sense of
                                                        Ford Foundation’s Innovations in
            the overriding concerns. Because so                                                                           mission keeps the organization
                                                        American Government awards pro-
            much is at stake, policy debate can                                                                           focused in the face of contro-
                                                        gram has counted many criminal
            be acrimonious, public opinion                                                                                versy, change, and daily routine.
                                                        justice programs among its winners
            sharply divided. Yet despite this, and      and finalists. (The most recently                             s   Define challenging but
            despite the complexity and scope            named award recipients are listed                                 achievable outcomes
            of the issues, innovative practices         in “Notable Criminal Justice                                      against which to measure
            abound at all levels and in virtually       Innovators in 2000,” page 26.)                                    performance.
            every component of the criminal             Outside that circle are uncounted                                 Because results are what matter,
            justice system, including arenas in         others, at the local, State, and Federal                          setting outcome targets can
            which the problems seem insur-              levels, who also exemplify risk-                                  motivate staff and mobilize
            mountable.                                  taking, adaptability, and flexibility.                            support. If outcome measures

     Creating Winning Innovations in Criminal Justice
                                              about the author
      are clearly defined, the public         Gail Christopher is Executive Director of the Innovations in American Government awards
      is more likely to feel the agency       program of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and cochair of the National
      is accountable.                         Academy of Public Administration’s Alliance for Redesigning Government.
  s   Collaborate with other agen-
      cies whenever possible.
      Shrinking resources and greater     s   Identify clearly the citizens           s   Consider how market
      demand have spurred the search          and groups entitled to your                 forces may complement
      for creative ways to collaborate.       services and focus as sharply               the provision of public
      Partnerships can help solve             as possible on their needs.                 goods and services.
      problems too complex for any            Many award-winning govern-                  In many areas of government,
      single agency to handle.                ment programs have borrowed                 opportunities exist to improve
                                              the customer service approach of            service by being open to market
  s   Build partnerships with                 the business world and are shift-           forces. The interests of business
      the private and nonprofit               ing their focus accordingly, from           may often dovetail well with
      sectors.                                process to people.                          those of government agencies.
      Working alone, the government
      cannot solve all problems.          s   If the agency’s tasks involve           s   Use information technology
      Business and community                  regulation, consider working                to improve services to
      nonprofits are often the best           with the regulated parties to               citizens.
      equipped to be catalysts and            meet common objectives                      This area holds great potential
      to help develop programs.               through compliance, rather                  for improving access to agencies
                                              than depending entirely on                  and their programs. The govern-
  s   Respect the talents of                  traditional enforcement.                    ment may lag behind the private
      frontline workers.                      Much discontent with govern-                sector, but it is now assiduously
      The prospect of innovation is           ment stems from stories of                  cultivating the use of telecom-
      enhanced when employees par-            seemingly capricious, adversarial           munications and information
      ticipate in decision making and         actions by regulatory agencies.             technologies to speed service
      when their experience informs           Many agencies have adopted a                and save resources.
      practice. The business world            more cooperative, problem-
      knows this, and it is being                                                     s   Be flexible, take risks,
                                              solving approach that involves
      applied increasingly in the                                                         and don’t give up.
                                              a mutual focus on results and
      public sector.                                                                      The Innovations program award
                                                                                          recipients are always on the
                                                                                          lookout to improve perfor-
                                                                                          mance. They work collabora-
                                                                                          tively with multiple partners
                                                                                          and are as patient as they
The decline in the crime rate notwithstanding,                                            are energetic in planning and
                                                                                          improvising toward their goals.

   established ways no longer produce the                                                                       NCJ 186188
 desired results in many arenas of criminal                                           1. Based on the paper by Alan
                                                                                         Altshuler, “Ten Lessons From
  justice. Reinvention, with its emphasis on                                             Innovations,” Innovations in
                                                                                         American Government,
                                                                                         1986–1996, Tenth Anniversary,
performance, responsiveness, and customer                                                New York: Ford Foundation,
                                                                                         December 1996: 8–11. The com-
 service, is the new imperative and has been                                             plete essay is available on the
                                                                                         Innovations Web site:
              the catalyst for innovation.                                     

                                                                                          National Institute of Justice Journal s January 2001
     Notable Criminal Justice
     Innovators in 2000
     INNOVATIONS IN AMERICAN GOVERNMENT                 local, State, and Federal levels.       in the form of case studies of
                                                        Administered by Harvard                 award-winning programs are
                                                        University’s Kennedy School             on the Innovations Web site, at
                                                        of Government and managed by            http://www.innovations.harvard.
                                                        the Council for Excellence in           edu/index.html.
                                                        Government, the program each
                                                                                                Of the winners and finalists in
                                                        year names 10 winners and 15
            The Innovations in American                                                         the 2000 competition, four were
                                                        finalists. Each receives a Ford
            Government Program, which                                                           in the field of criminal justice.
                                                        Foundation grant.
            began in 1986, identifies outstand-                                                 The following programs were
            ing examples of creative problem-           Information about the program           named the winner and finalists:
            solving in the public sector at the         and instructional materials

     W I N N E R

            Healthier Inmates Can
            Mean a Healthier
            Community                                           Public Health Model for Corrections—
            “Public Health Model
            for Corrections”                                                Inmates’ limited access to
            Hampden County,
            Massachusetts, Sheriff’s                                  health care before incarceration,

            Inmates’ limited access to health                   along with impulsive or risky behavior,
            care before incarceration, along
            with impulsive or risky behavior,
            contributes to a disproportionate
                                                                      contributes to a disproportionate
            prevalence of disease among
            them. Once discharged, they could                      prevalence of disease among them.
            potentially be a public health risk.
            The Hampden County, Massachu-                      Once discharged, they could potentially
            setts, Sheriff’s Department devel-
            oped a public health model of care
            that responds to the concerns of
                                                                               be a public health risk.
            the community and also meets the
            medical needs of jail inmates.

            The model helps inmates lead                the centers who provide care            Dr. Thomas Conklin
            healthier lives in jail and when            onsite at the jail and after release.   Hampden County Sheriff’s
            released. Medical service is pro-           Program elements include assess-        Department
            vided contractually with nonprofit          ment, long-term treatment, educa-       627 Randall Road
            neighborhood health centers.                tion, and case management with          Ludlow, MA 01056–1079
            Inmates are assigned to a team of           postrelease links to the communi-       Phone: 413–547–8000, ext. 2344
            doctors and case managers from              ty. For more information, contact:      Fax: 413–589–0912

     Creating Winning Innovations in Criminal Justice
  F I N A L I S T S

Community Program                     Research and Data Used                Inmate-on-Inmate
Keeps Young Offenders                 to Identify Risk and                  Violence Reduced
Out of State Institutions             Prevent Juvenile
                                                                            “Total Efficiency Accountability
“Community Youth Investment                                                 Management System (TEAMS)”
Program”                              “Risk-Focused Policing”               New York City Department of
Deschutes County, Oregon,             City of Redlands, California,         Correction
Commission on Children and            Police Department
                                                                            New York City jails have been
Families and Department of
                                      Redlands, California, began           transformed into a safer and more
Juvenile Community Justice
                                      consolidating its police, recre-      habitable environment through the
Placing young people who com-         ation, and housing services in        reduction of inmate-on-inmate
mit nonviolent crimes in State        1997 in an attempt to reduce          violence. The city’s Department
institutions can do more harm         factors that put young people at      of Correction accomplished this
than good for both the offender       risk for delinquency, substance       through its Total Efficiency
and the community. Deschutes          abuse, dropping out of school,        Accountability Management
County’s Community Youth              and teen pregnancy.                   System (TEAMS), introduced
Investment Program (CYIP) is                                                in 1996 to address growing
an alternative way to help youthful   The Redlands Police Department
                                                                            inmate violence, staff absen-
offenders while saving the county     is the first in the country to
                                                                            teeism, and low morale and
money.                                fully embrace a research-based
                                                                            to control employee use of
                                      prevention framework, focused
The young people participate in                                             overtime.
                                      on risk and protective factors.
a highly structured program that      In this data-driven strategy, the     TEAMS holds managers account-
holds them accountable for their      department, working with the          able while emphasizing goal-
offenses while teaching them          local school district, measures       oriented management and job
responsibility and requiring resti-   community, family, school,            performance of correctional offi-
tution and community service.         and peer group risk factors           cers. An information collection
In return, the county earns money     and develops comprehensive            system was created to measure
for every bed it does not use in a    responses.                            performance throughout the
State facility that would otherwise                                         agency. Since TEAMS began,
                                      Through recreation center and
house these offenders.                                                      inmate violence has fallen 93
                                      afterschool programs, Redlands
                                                                            percent and employee absen-
As a result of the program, the       has served thousands of young
                                                                            teeism more than 30 percent.
county’s incarceration rate for       people. Since program implemen-
                                                                            Staff spend less time responding
young people dropped from 23 in       tation, major crime has decreased
                                                                            to violent and dangerous incidents
1997, the year before CYIP began,     36 percent. After a police officer
                                                                            and more time improving inmate
to 5 in 2000. The county earned       was assigned to the local drug
                                                                            services. For more information,
funds for use in early intervention   court, participation in the program
programs, proven to reduce juve-      among youth increased 70 per-
nile crime. For more information,     cent, and drug court recidivism       Thomas Antenen
contact:                              dropped as much as 6 percent.         Deputy Commissioner of Public
                                      For more information contact:         Information
Deevy Holcomb                                                               Police Department
Department of Juvenile                Chief Jim Bueermann
                                                                            City of New York
Community Justice                     Redlands Police Department
                                                                            One Police Plaza
Deschutes County                      30 Cajon Street
                                                                            New York, NY 10038
63333 Highway 20 West                 Redlands, CA 92373
                                                                            Phone: 212–374–6700
Bend, OR 97701                        Phone: 909–798–7661
                                                                            Fax: 212–374–6056
Phone: 541–617–3356                   Email:
Fax: 541–383–0165                                                           html/teams.html.

                                                                             National Institute of Justice Journal s January 2001

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