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Although most jail admissions represent the only contact a person will have with the criminal legal system, there is a small group of people who experience more frequent jail contact and who represent a disproportionate number of both jail admissions and expenditures. People with frequent jail contact experience complex, interconnected social, economic, and behavioral health needs that may exacerbate (or be exacerbated by) their frequent jail contact. This group also experiences frequent contact with other services in the community, such as emergency rooms, homeless shelters, and treatment facilities. Strategies to implement services that meet complex needs and address structural barriers are critical to meaningfully and sustainably reduce system involvement among the population of people who experience frequent jail contact.Effective change for people with frequent jail contact must proceed simultaneously on a systemic, policy level and on the individual services level. The population discussed in this policy brief typically has complicated behavioral and medical health needs, extensive criminal legal encounters, and significant social deficits such as poverty, isolation, and elevated risk of being unhoused. Many of their needs can be addressed with intensive, person-centered treatment in a coordinated continuum of care.
Domestic violence is one of the most prevalent crimes in the United States, and even more prevalent for women who are or have been incarcerated. About 75% of women who have been or are incarcerated have experienced domestic violence. This trauma can lead to victims feeling isolated, alone, shamed, or even like they're at fault for what has happened. In some cases, survivors start having suicidal thoughts or ideation. When domestic violence victims become criminal defendants or are incarcerated, they still need full wrap-around services, including advocacy, support, safety planning, and community resources. Domestic violence survivors face an increased risk of incarceration. In some cases, they may be arrested after using self-defense against their abusers or kidnapping their children to protect them. In other situations, their abusers may force them to commit crimes, or they may run into trouble with the law due to an addiction stemming from trauma. Some domestic violence survivors even recant reports of abuse because of threats from the abuser.
At The Intersection of Probation and Jail Reduction Efforts: Findings on Probation, Jail, and Transitional Housing Trends in Pima County, ArizonaJuly 11, 2023
Reducing jail populations – and the collateral consequences of criminal legal system involvement – requires jurisdictions to critically examine why and how people are entering the system to begin with. Much of the research around jail reform focuses on the pretrial population; however, with rising numbers o individuals under probation supervision and jail commonly being used to detain those awaiting a hearing on a probation violation, reform efforts to understand how violations contribute to the overall jail population are essential. To learn more about the impact probation revocations have on jails and to advance promising strategies to address them, CUNY ISLG funded the Urban Institute through the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) to conduct a mixed-methods study on how people on probation end up in jail incarceration and the impact of a program aimed at improving these outcomes with transitional housing support through the Adult Probation Department (APD) in Pima County, Arizona. Using administrative data from the Pima County Jail and APD, case record reviews, and interviews with APD leadership, probation officers, judges, community-based housing providers, and people on probation, this study aimed to decipher the system-level trends in jail incarceration for probation violations and the key pathways to jail incarceration for those individuals currently on probation. It also sought to understand the impact of the transitional housing support program on short and long-term outcomes for people on probation receiving funding from APD for transitional housing.
The MacArthur Foundation launched the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) in 2015 with the goals of safely reducing jail incarceration and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system.Many organizations and agencies within local criminal justice systems receive federal financial assistance and are thus legally obligated to provide language services. When law enforcement agencies, court systems, and correctional systems provide adequate language services they strengthen access to justice for people who are limited English proficient (LEP) - e.g., providing life-saving public safety assistance, supporting victims of crime, and delivering vital medical and behavioral care to people who are incarcerated. While national guidance for improving language accessibility exists, the extent to which language services are available in local justice systems is relatively unknown.
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