The Evidence Based Policy Team has been working with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and State of Wisconsin related to the Evidence Based Decision Making (EBDM) Initiative. NIC launched the EBDM initiative in June 2008 to establish and test the application of evidence-based practices to criminal justice decisions, with the goal of achieving measurable reductions in pretrial misconduct and post-conviction risk of reoffending.  During Phase I, a framework was developed:  A Framework for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems (the Framework). The Framework defined risk and harm reduction as fundamental goals of the justice system, summarized key research evidence, and outlined a structure and set of principles for achieving EBDM.

In Phases II and III NIC selected seven jurisdictions from across the country to implement the EBDM Framework. The seven local sites were: Mesa County, Colorado; Grant County, Indiana; Ramsey County, Minnesota; Yamhill County, Oregon; City of Charlottesville/County of Albemarle, Virginia; Eau Claire County, Wisconsin; and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.  Intensive technical assistance was provided to assist the sites in developing the processes and infrastructure to implement EBDM, including: establishing or advancing a multidisciplinary collaborative policy team, agreeing on a shared vision for the local justice system, assessing current policies and practices against goals and research evidence, determining methods to more effectively integrate research at key decision points, and developing work plans for the implementation of EBDM. During Phase III, the local sites implemented critical change strategies, developed communication strategies to support their work, and collected and measure data to track progress towards meeting their system wide goals. 

Phase IV involved NIC working with the five states to expand their EBDM efforts to include state-level executives ad 4-6 additional local jurisdictions. 

EBDM Phase V included 15 months of intensive technical assistance to begin the work of EBDM at the state level and in six local jurisdictions, including Chippewa County. The goal of Phase V was to build capacity to make evidence-based decisions at the individual, agency, and system levels, and to develop plans for implementing system wide change strategies throughout the criminal justice system. Phase V is a planning phase. Full implementation of EBDM strategies is anticipated in Phase VI.

The EBDM team revisited the Chippewa County criminal justice system map over a course of several months. This map identifies the flow of criminal justice cases at all decision points in the system. During this process 24 action items were identified where there is potential for positive change. The group then developed criteria for selection and narrowed the action items into change targets areas.  Chippewa County will continue working with NIC and the State of Wisconsin in Phase VI.