Spring 2019 Gavel Spring Gavel 2019 - Page 16

Justice Reinvestment in North Dakota: Success requires a coordinated system, not another program By Hon. Frank L. Racek, Andrew J. Myer, Ph.D., and Santana Royer Society’s response to crime has historically relied on incarceration at one extreme and various community treatment programs at the other (Pratt, 2009). Heavy reliance on incarceration ultimately falters due to the enormous cost of building and maintaining jails and prisons and the poor results experienced once prisoners are released. Likewise, reliance on community treatment ultimately fails when those programs are ineffective and further crimes occur. Success for criminal justice reform requires a community response to rehabilitation that provides for public safety and maintains accountability for offenders and the treatment programs funded by the public. The ultimate goal is a safe, objective, affordable rehabilitation system that meets society’s expected outcomes ( James, Eisen, & Subramanian, 2012). Complicating this effort is the required coordination of all agencies and branches of government involved in the criminal justice system. Unless society’s expectations are clearly stated and coordinated, each entity independently seeks its own priorities and is content shifting problems elsewhere. Successful justice reform requires the following coordinated elements: b. ICR: The current number representing the standard incident report generated by law enforcement for a particular event. A person with a history of multiple offenses would have a single SID, but would have multiple ICRs - each representing a separate contact with law enforcement. I. Establishment of system goals, benchmarks, and terminology. f. Danger: The potential for an offender to cause physical harm to another human being in the future. Currently, no rating system exists. A successful system needs all participants to agree to cooperate to achieve common goals such as public safety and better outcomes (NIC, 2004). To determine if these goals are being achieved, information must be analyzed and disseminated using common terms and benchmarks. A functional, successful system must have as a minimum: 1.) Common definitions: Common terminology is necessary so various agencies can communicate with a common level of understanding, and to provide transparency to the public. Although other definitions could be agreed upon, the authors use these definitions for this article: a. SID: The current state identification number given to a person entering the criminal justice system. This number remains specific to that individual forever. This allows for precise identification of individuals. c. CST #: The current common statute table number for crimes prosecuted in North Dakota. This number is common to all court and law enforcement agencies. d. LSI-R: The Level of Services Inventory - Revised, currently used by the Department of Corrections to assess the risk and criminogenic needs of offenders. e. Risk: Represents the probability of an individual reencountering the criminal justice system in the future. Currently, the Department of Corrections quantifies risk for each offender it services. g. Disproportionate Public Impact: This term describes offenders who inflict damages other than physical harm as a result of multiple crimes which have a substantial impact on the community either as a result of losses suffered by victims or which cause substantial use of public resources. Currently, no system exists to consistently identify these individuals prior to sentencing. h. Criminogenic Needs: The eight specific areas identified by the LSI-R that correlate to increased risk of crime. i. Barriers: The seven additional recognized areas of need, which if unmet, may hinder offenders from addressing their criminogenic needs. The Hon. Frank L. Racek is the presiding judge of the East-Central Judicial District in Fargo. Andrew J. Myer, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Political Science at North Dakota State University. Santana Royer is a law clerk with the East-Central Judicial District in Fargo. 16 THE GAVEL