Benchmarks of Best Practices

CCJJ and the agencies housed within it all have distinct missions, separate from other criminal justice agencies. Given CCJJ is the only policy coordination body for Utah’s criminal and juvenile justice stakeholders and the primary granting agency for DOJ and other state funded criminal justice grants, we strive to follow best practices in policy work.

Similar to many other states, and as previously mentioned, Utah has in recent years undergone comprehensive criminal and juvenile justice reform. These initiatives have been in close collaboration with the Pew Charitable Trusts, a national leader in criminal and juvenile justice policy advancement. To date, these efforts have been the largest undertaking of CCJJ. Several benchmarks of best practices were used to form reform policies. Specifically, these initiatives were both based on using state specific data to first assess the system’s performance and then form tailored policies to address the system’s needs. This was followed by designing an appropriate list of measures that can be evaluated through time to assess how well these policies are implemented and their desired outcomes.

The figure below visualizes how the juvenile justice reform bill (HB 239) was created and implemented in Utah. The Figure begins with outlining the need to gather relevant stakeholders, including incorporating national leaders on justice policy such as Pew, and the process of using data and analysis to form the new package of juvenile justice policies, as supported by a diverse and inclusive set of stakeholders. The process ends with an emphasis on implementation, ongoing monitoring, and assessments of policy impacts through objective reporting made available to the legislature, stakeholders and the general public.