Justice system to see changes

Print Article

JANESVILLE - The Rock County criminal justice system will see some changes as officials begin to implement a pilot program aimed at improving outcomes for those caught up in the legal process.

Rock County is one of six Wisconsin counties selected as part of the national, Evidence-based Decision Making (EBDM) model.

After the county board passed its 2019 budget that included over $481,000 for EBDM implementation earlier this month, steps towards reforms may soon come to life.

The county's EBDM ad hoc committee that includes state, county and municipal stakeholders plans to send a plan to the county board on Jan. 10 that could see the Rock County Jail implement a pretrial assessment program for 90 days on a temporary basis, if approved.

The trial run, planned to be administered by Milwaukee-based nonprofit JusticePoint, will screen inmates at the Rock County Jail to determine various factors of a given inmate at the jail before an initial pretrial monitoring and assessment program is put in place.

The process has some complications stemming from data access privileges as part of out-of-state criminal histories and how those records can be viewed by county staff during the assessment process.

"We anticipated we would be further along with JusticePoint," said Rock County Administrator Josh Smith.

Even with the delays, Smith said the funding provided by the board for next year represented a "significant increase."

Of the trial program, Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer said circuit court officials were "excited" about starting work.

"It's time that we do something," Meyer said.

Rock County Criminal Justice System Planner Elizabeth Pohlman McQuillen said long term criminogenic risk screenings for inmates would take place alongside the implementation period, but noted the complexity of the process.

"Not any one solution is going to be easy," McQuillen said. "We keep coming up with potential solutions and we will try to figure out how to move forward with it."

The county's EBDM effort will look to tackle risk screening and assessment, pre-charge diversion, enhanced deferred prosecution polices and behavioral health information sharing between law enforcement. Janesville Police Chief David Moore, who's helped oversee the implementation of a countywide mental health database for all county law enforcement agencies, said since implementation this year, 263 entries have been made by officers.

The flagging system looks to improve interactions between citizens with past mental health problems and law enforcement, and provides information for officers to use in deescalating tense situations.

Print Article

Read More News

More to be done on reform issues

February 22, 2019 at 9:53 am | BELOIT - Officials acknowledge Wisconsin needs to go further than approving higher budget numbers for prosecutors and defenders in order to address criminal justice reform issues related to the Depar...


Read More

DBA celebrates 30 years of growth

February 22, 2019 at 9:47 am | BELOIT - Beloit achievers were recognized Thursday night during the 2018 Downtown Beloit Association Annual Awards Dinner, as the organization celebrated 30 years of supporting city center growth. ...


Read More

Local genealogy buff discovers secrets from past

February 22, 2019 at 9:44 am | JANESVILLE - Uncovering secrets from the past to answer age-old questions of how his family came to be is what drives Dennis Craddick. Nearly four decades have passed since Craddick began his journ...


Read More

Plan boosts budget for prosecutors, defenders

February 22, 2019 at 9:48 am | BELOIT - "This is an exciting first step." That's how Wisconsin State Public Defender Kelli S. Thompson termed a GOP-led criminal justice package introduced earlier this week ahead of Gov. Tony Eve...


Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2019 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy