Evaluation in criminal justice is vital to improving program effectiveness, increasing efficiency, and improving public safety. This article helps demystify the evaluation process and offers practical advice for practitioners endeavoring to evaluate a program. Processes for internal evaluation and external evaluation partnerships are described. Criminal justice practitioners are encouraged to understand the research process and conduct evaluations of their programs and practices.
Law enforcement agencies in Illinois and across the country are seeking ways to increase the safety and efficacy of interactions between officers and individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Researchers conducted a statewide survey to learn more about how police and sheriff’s departments respond to mental health crisis incidents. This article describes responding departments’ policies and procedures to handle mental health crises in their jurisdictions and community resources available to help them address individuals’ mental health needs. Researchers found that mental health crises are a main concern of law enforcement in their communities, with a majority of respondents employing a specialized response to handle such incidents. Recommendations for policy and future research are discussed.
This brief shares findings from a process evaluation of a program that treats women prisoners in Illinois with co-occurring disorders—substance use and mental health disorders. Overall, feedback from clients and staff were positive and the program showed reductions in clients’ posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and aggression after participation. In addition, researchers offer suggestions to improve the program’s physical space, as well as enhance program components and data collection.
This article provides an overview of the main issues driving a renewed focus on pretrial detention, the effects of overuse of pretrial detention, and potential areas of reform with a focus on Illinois law and practices when possible. Illinois has made some progress in pretrial reform including the passing of a Bail Reform Act which became effective in 2018. However, more data and research is needed in the area of pretrial practices.
Excessive opioid prescribing increases exposure to those drugs and increases their volume in communities. Over-prescribing has been associated with growing rates of opioid use disorder, overdose, and death. Opioid prescription rates are relatively low in Illinois compared to other states; however, prescription rates varies greatly by county, city, and medical practitioner. This article summarizes Illinois opioid prescription data from the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program.
As many as 10 percent of police contacts involve individuals with mental health conditions. A growing number of police and sheriff’s departments have implemented specialized responses to mental health crisis incidents, including crisis intervention teams. Research indicates departments offering specialized responses show greater officer knowledge of mental health conditions and more positive police attitudes toward individuals with mental health conditions. This article examines specialized mental health responses with an emphasis on practices in Illinois and offers implications for future research and practice.