Ken Streit Contributes to Grant Tapping Milwaukee County for Criminal Justice System Project

Milwaukee County has been selected as one of three national sites to participate in Phase III of an Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems (EBDM) grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, and Office of Justice Programs. UW Law School Clinical Professor Ken Streit has been working on the project with partners in Milwaukee's criminal justice system.

Over the last several years, the participants in Milwaukee's criminal justice system have met regularly as a coordinating council, and have devoted considerable time to identifying and documenting the need for programs that could best benefit from evidence-based decision making to improve public safety and reduce costs.

The Phase III grant allows Milwaukee to take major steps in this area, first by applying a tool called "Universal Screening" to arrestees. Universal Screening is a computerized, evidence-based risk-needs assessment tool that is operated by a trained screener. It results in a score that can be used by prosecutors, defense attorneys, and court commissioners to determine bail or other release conditions.

The project's second goal is to develop a stronger capacity--in both quantity and quality--in diversion programs through addressing the needs of individuals who, based on their Universal Screening scores, do not necessarily need to stay in jail.

Finally, the project will allow Milwaukee to develop "dosage-based probation," as opposed to the typical "duration-based" probation terms. Under the new system, certain offenders will be selected for probation based on identified "dosages" of intervention that achieve specific court-ordered goals. Once the offender achieves these goals, the court can terminate probation early. Professor Streit proposed this goal-based probation idea and worked with judges, community corrections administrators, prosecutors, and defense counsel on this part of the grant proposal.

Read more about the project in the Fall 2011 Marquette Law School Magazine.

Submitted by UW Law News on October 19, 2011

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