Getting Started...One Step At A Time

The Office of Criminal Justice System Improvements (OCJSI) has found that a partnership with a well-functioning County Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) is the most efficient way to evaluate the criminal justice technology priorities of a county and to determine the suitability of supporting a county initiative. The PCCD expects the CJAB will become the major point of decision making for justice related matters at the county and local level. The OCJSI will increasingly work with the CJABs as partners in defining and building enhanced criminal justice and public safety information sharing solutions of strategic as well as local significance. Therefore, PCCD believes that it is critical to the long term success of a CJAB if all of the county criminal justice system, elected, social service and judicial leaders are involved in the strategic planning process, in order to identify their county CJ system needs and then to find workable solutions to those identified needs

Creation of a CJAB focuses on obtaining stakeholders input and commitment; getting the right people involved; selecting the right issue(s); and defining the Board’s organizational structure and ground rules through by-laws.

Step 1 – Invite key county and municipal government elected officials and civil servants to an exploratory meeting on the formation of a CJAB. The person most likely to ensure the participation of key criminal justice and health/human service decision makers, important community-based organizations, and victims’ services representatives in the county should issue the invitations.

Step 2 – Keep the agenda simple and straightforward. Focus the first part of the meeting on providing the participants with basic information about CJABs, including their function, benefits, composition, organizational structure(s), and resource requirements. In the second part of the meeting, solicit the participants’ thoughts about (1) additional individuals who should be invited to future meetings and (2) the criminal justice issues in the county which a CJAB may address.

Be prepared to answer such questions as:

  • What purpose or role would a CJAB play in our county?
  • How would a CJAB differ from other criminal justice boards and task forces in our county?
  • Why should a CJAB be created in our county?
  • What needs to be in place to start a CJAB in our county?