Criminal Justice System Improvements Presented to Dane County Board

June 21, 2018
Sharon Corrigan, 608.333.2285
County Board

The Dane County Board will hear a report on Criminal Justice Council (CJC) activities at its meeting tonight at 7 p.m.  Colleen Clark-Bernhardt, who serves as the coordinator for the Council, will report on 2017 innovations, expansion of current activities, and collaborative partnerships both within the local community and nationally.


One major accomplishment is the launch of the Criminal Justice Council website ( ).  In addition to providing information on CJC initiatives, grant activity, and reports, the website also includes data and a dashboard of key criminal justice system indicators, including:


  • Arrest demographics,

  • Arrest trends, and

  • Dane County jail population data.

“Two years ago, the County Board added funding for a research analyst to work at the direction of the Criminal Justice Council, and this information – which will help us make better decisions regarding system reforms – is a result of that investment,” said Supervisor Paul Rusk, chair of the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee.


The report to the Board will also provide a brief overview of innovations, many with the support of national funding partners, to improve or expand initiatives including:


  • the community restorative court,

  • pretrial decision making,

  • data driven justice,

  • racial inequity, and

  • mental health involved individuals in the criminal justice system.

“As we look to budget decisions for 2019, it is helpful for the full Board to have a firm grasp on the continuum of efforts to reform the criminal justice system,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan.  “This report underscores the importance of having solid data to inform future policies and procedures.”


Also at the meeting Thursday the Board will welcome a new cohort of Youth Government Program participants for 2018-19.  Twelve high school aged students from across the county are paired with a County Board member and serve on regular committees for a one-year term. Youth members have a non-binding advisory vote but are given the same opportunities for committee participation and involvement as elected County Supervisors.   For more information on the Dane County Youth Governance Program, please visit the YGP website at