EBDM Starter Kit

Activity 3: Understand current practice within each agency and across the system

Developing a vision of a justice system that results in harm and risk reduction—and engaging professionals and the larger community in that process—is one thing; building such a system is quite another. Such work begins with a clear understanding of how the justice system currently operates (i.e., the policies that guide the system, the practices that lead to its operation) and a working knowledge of research-supported approaches.

Developing this understanding involves a number of steps, including creating a system map, conducting assessments of current policy and practice around each of the key decision points in the criminal justice system, identifying the strengths of the current system and areas for potential improvement, and prioritizing targets for change.

Elements of an EBDM justice system include

  • a comprehensive understanding of the justice system, including the basis upon which decisions are made at key points within and across agencies;
  • a set of agreed-upon strengths and opportunities for change that will result in an increase in evidence-based decisions; and
  • a set of agreed-upon targets for change.