Milwaukee Community Justice Council
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National Institute of Corrections

Evidence-Based Decision Making Initiative

in Milwaukee County

Evidence-based decision making (EBDM) is the practice of using research findings to inform and guide decisions across the criminal legal system.  

Milwaukee County was selected to join the National Institute of Corrections Evidence-Based Decision Making Initiative (EBDM) in August 2010.  By way of the EBDM initiative, Milwaukee County has made significant changes to its criminal legal system operations. 

Milwaukee's EBDM Vision: By applying what the evidence tells us about what actually works in protecting the community and holding offenders accountable, Milwaukee County’s criminal justice system will make the smartest possible use of its limited resources, continuously improving its performance against quantifiable goals and reinvesting the savings in programs that reduce crime in the first place.

Current System Change Targets

  1. Ongoing commitment to ensuring law enforcement, criminal justice stakeholders and behavioral health partners are adequately trained to understand and properly serve the complex needs of individuals experiencing mental health crises.  Continued expansion of CIT, including CIP and CIT specializations, for law enforcement, telecommunicators/dispatchers, and booking/correctional officers. Work with law enforcement to collaboratively identify system, high utilizers and develop robust response to ensure needs are being met by entities outside of the criminal justice system.

  2. Adherence to Risk and Evidence-Based Pretrial Decision-Making

    • Public Safety Assessment (PSA) – Validated pretrial risk instrument

    • Risk-based pretrial release

    • Differential pretrial supervision based on pretrial risk-level & UNCOPE

    • Use LSI-R:SV to screen for risk/needs and preliminary Early Interventions eligibility

  3. Formalized Use of Risk/Needs Information to Identify Cases for Diversion or Deferred Prosecution

  4. Improved Stewardship of Limited Probation Resources - “Dosage Probation”

    • Duration and conditions of probation are determined by risk and need

    • Allows for early termination of probation once proper dosage of supervision and services is complete

Milwaukee Community Justice Council


633 West Wisconsin Avenue - Suite 406, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203

(414) 435-1250




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