I have said many times that Minnesota is a progressive leader in the criminal justice system. I was reminded of this earlier this month while watching a portion of BET network’s Finding Justice series. One of the documentaries in the series is entitled Cash Bail and focused on the criminal justice system in St. Louis, MO and the impacts the bail system has on families.
In Minnesota, I am aware of several initiatives to avoid the unintended impacts mentioned in the documentary. One of them is Ramsey County’s Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative that has been in operation since 2005. One of the goals is to reduce admissions to the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). A product of this goal is that since 2005, yearly admissions to the JDC have dropped from 3,314 to 846 in 2018.
From the website:
Out-of-home placements have a deeply troubling track record including high rates of recidivism, exorbitant costs, reduction in health and safety and poor outcomes in youth development. By intentionally applying JDAI’s approach through data-driven decision-making, stakeholder collaboration, increasing community-based alternatives to placement and a laser focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in our juvenile justice system, Ramsey County can substantially reduce reliance on incarceration and out-of-home placement without sacrificing public safety.
I will admit, we don’t get everything right each and every time in Roseville and Minnesota, but we do compare very favorably with other areas of our country.
Chief Rick Mathwig
This post was originally published as part of the March 29, 2019 edition of Chief Mathwig’s newsletter, One Chief’s Perspective.