June 23, 2021
Colleen Clark-Bernhardt, Criminal Justice Council Coordinator
County Board

The Dane County Criminal Justice Council will meet virtually on Thursday at 12:15pm. At the meeting, the Council will hear a presentation from Center for Court Innovation (CCI), who is conducting a needs assessment for a potential community justice center.


Announced in May, CCI is working with Dane County to identify strengths and challenges, resource gaps, as well as stakeholder and community priorities to inform planning, and set the foundation for the development of a future Dane County Community Justice Center. Thursday’s presentation will include preliminary findings from initial fact finding and interviews.


"To achieve a more fair and equitable justice system we need to engage with the community," said County Board Chair Analiese Eicher who also chairs the Criminal Justice Council. "To create different results, the criminal justice system—as well as other systems—will need to do things differently. The work that CCI is performing will get us one step closer."


CCI creates operating programs to test new ideas and solve problems, performs original research to determine what works (and what doesn’t), and provides expert assistance to justice reformers around the world.


"The Center for Court Innovation created the community justice center model, implementing the groundbreaking Midtown Community Court in 1993 and helping to establish dozens of other community justice centers across the country over the past 25 years. In addition to its experience designing and implementing community courts nationally and internationally, the Center is a national leader in the development and evaluation of diversion and deflection programs. We’re excited for the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment in exploration of a possible community justice center in Dane County," said Medina Henry, Director of Community Justice Initiatives at CCI.


Following the presentation at the June 24th CJC meeting, there will be a community conversation at 5:30pm on July 13th for members of the public to provide their feedback and ask questions about the proposed community justice center, and the preliminary findings. Additionally, Dane County is contracting with seven community organizations to facilitate meetings within their communities to gain additional input, particularly from those most impacted by the criminal justice system.


"My previous experience working with the Center for Court Innovation to move the Community Restorative Court forward gives me great hope to continue to think innovatively to have more equitable outcomes in criminal justice," said District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. I am pleased to work with CCI on this potential win for all Dane County residents."


The final report from CCI will be presented at the August 26th Criminal Justice Council meeting.


Information for members of the public to attend and/or register to speak at the meeting can be found on the top of the agenda.


Back to Press Releases