• M.D. Michaud

Mapping criminal justice reform

Nearly three percent of the U.S. adult population is currently under some form of criminal justice supervision. Nationally, 6.4% of men and 12.2% of women entering U.S. jails have a severe and persistent mental illness, compared to less than 2% of the general population. Of these individuals, 72% have a co-occurring substance use disorder.*


In Dane County, Wisconsin, a community effort is working to prioritize systems changes that improve behavioral health supports.





Far too many people who live with mental illness and substance use disorders "fall between the cracks" in community systems. They end up in jail, prison, or some form of criminal justice supervision, often returning to the system more than once.


In January 2018, a group of more than 40 professionals in Dane County, Wisconsin gathered to detail how to change this system.This video depicts the first leg of the process to set priorities and take action.


Facilitated by Policy Research Incorporated, this interdisciplinary group used sequential intercept mapping (SIM) to identify priorities. SIM is a conceptual model used to inform community-based responses to the involvement of people with mental and substance use disorders in the criminal justice system.

In 2016, Dane County was chosen as one of seven national “innovation sites” for the MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge. The initiative supports local leaders from across the country addressing the misuse and overuse of jails. In the past, the Foundation provided grant support for the Dane County Community Restorative Court.


VisuaLeverage captured the components of this process. This video highlights the first steps.

For more information about the initiative, contact Colleen Clark-Bernhardt, Equity and Criminal Justice Council Coordinator, Dane County Board, 608.266.3022.


*Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (2016). Screening and Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders in the Justice System. Page 5: "Prevalence and Significance of Cooccurring Disorders in the Justice System ."


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