Thursday, May 7, 2015

Richmond Department of Justice Services Joins Nationally Recognized Initiative


The City of Richmond announced today that it is one of six localities participating in the statewide National Institute of Corrections’ (NIC) Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM) Phase V Initiative. The EBDM Initiative is the practice of using research findings to inform or guide decisions across the justice system. The NIC’s EBDM framework represents an evolution of today’s criminal justice system, designed to build collaborative, evidence-based decision making and practices in local criminal justice systems by equipping criminal justice policymakers with the information, processes, and tools to reduce pretrial misconduct and post-conviction reoffending.  “In Richmond, we have worked diligently to confront the ineffectiveness and inefficiencies of the old jail default model,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “This has resulted in a strong commitment to provide programs and interventions that are researched based and result driven.” Through the EBDM Project, Richmond will have the opportunity to obtain expert, technical assistance on national industry standards for justice related data collection and sharing. The City of Richmond’s goal is to engage state and local partners in a process to conduct local-level cross-systems mapping to determine where points for intervention or diversion of individuals are needed; and identify decision points which treatment systems interact with the local criminal justice system. The EBDM’s Policy Team will evaluate current sentencing and jail diversion options; determine how current initiatives can be maximized; identify barriers in the criminal justice system that may contribute to delays in pretrial release; and recommend policy changes in case processing decisions. “We have gradually begun to lower the number of defendants detained while awaiting trial in Richmond,” said Rufus Fleming, director of the Richmond Department of Justice Services. “As stakeholders become more comfortable with risk assessment tools, over time, we will continue to see gains in detaining only those offenders who pose real, quantifiable risks to the community.” Richmond was selected through a competitive process. Led by the Richmond Community Criminal Justice Board, local and state stakeholders submitted an application for participation in the statewide EBDM Phase V Initiative. The EBDM Initiative will be coordinated by Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorney, Michael Herring. The EBDM Policy Team will be chaired by Rhonda Gilmer, Senior Deputy Director of Justice Services and vice-chaired by John Lindstrom, Director of the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority.