JSP works with county commissioners, sheriffs and jail administrators to assess how best to address overcrowding in their jails. To do so, JSP provides holistic assessments of the drivers of a jail’s population and recommends effective, efficient ways to manage defendants and offenders both in and out of custody, with an eye toward increasing compliance with court-mandated requirements and reducing recidivism. As part of its assessments, JSP identifies which programs and practices have the highest proven likelihood of improving public safety.
In addition to collecting demographic data that identifies who is in jail and how long they stay, JSP gathers information that allows it to compare defendants and offenders across programs. By creating a snapshot of risk and needs, JSP is able to both determine the appropriateness of offender placement into various programs and identify gaps in service needs. This helps the jurisdiction determine how resources are being used and whether its practices align with practices that research indicates actually reduce recidivism and make the best use of limited and expensive resources.
In 2016, JSP worked with Boulder County (Colorado) Commissioners and Sheriff’s Department to develop a comprehensive assessment of the jail population that included demographic profiles and risk and needs snapshots that identified population drivers. The team also catalogued existing programs, observed delivery of services by community providers and assessed fidelity to evidence-based practices. Armed with these data, JSP developed jail population projections and forecasted programming needs. Through a series of facilitated group discussions with stakeholders and individual interviews with key agency administrators, JSP then developed recommendations based on the jail population projection and the potential impact various policy changes could have on the population.
In 2017, JSP worked with Washtenaw County (Michigan) to assess the effectiveness of its programs and their ability to reduce recidivism.