Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to discuss proposals for drug court, study of services

photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photos

At left is Pam Weigand, Douglas County's director of Criminal Justice Services and chair of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. At right is Robert Bienicki, the county's criminal justice coordinator. Both are pictured in file photos from a CJCC meeting on March 12, 2019.

The Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will meet Tuesday, and among items on its agenda are proposals for a drug court and for a study that could have implications for a proposed expansion of the local jail.

County commissioners attended a work session on drug court in April, the Journal-World reported. There, a staff member told them that in her previous experience in Cass County, Mo., a program that offered supportive services alongside parole for those in the court system with substance use disorders transformed people’s lives.

The second proposal is for a two-year “Risk, Need and Responsivity” study. It would analyze quality, availability and effectiveness of the programs and services the county offers to those who are involved in the court system and those in the Douglas County Jail.

The proposal acknowledges the county’s discussion of expanding the jail, along with concerns about conditions for inmates and the practice of housing some inmates in the jails of other counties. It says that “questions remain” about services that are available to meet needs and potentially lower recidivism by addressing risk factors.

“While it is beyond the scope of this project to make specific recommendations regarding the jail expansion, findings from this work will provide the basis for a more robust community discussion of how criminal justice decisions occur at the local level, what is currently available, and what additional assessments and/or services may be of value,” the proposal reads.

The proposal, from Danielle Rudes, of George Mason University, and Shannon Portillo, of the University of Kansas, lists a cost of $131,404.

The CJCC can only make recommendations to the Douglas County Commission, so both proposals would come back to the commission for consideration.

The CJCC will meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Flory Meeting Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St.


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