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The Third Branch

Grant supports evidence-based practices

By Tommy Gubbin, Office of Court Operations

Wisconsin has been selected to advance to Phase V of the National Institute of Corrections’ Evidence Based Decision Making Initiative.  Indiana and Virginia were also selected for the technical assistance grant program, which is aimed at expanding Evidence Based Decision Making efforts statewide, based on groundwork in pilot counties.

Official notice of the grant was provided in a Feb. 25 letter from Jim Cosby, director of the National Institute of Corrections.

“We commend Wisconsin for the foundational work that has prepared your state and local teams to undertake this important work. The strength of Wisconsin’s written application and the remarkable array of individuals who represented Wisconsin’s state and local teams during the site selection process were testaments to your commitment and dedication to this work.”

A two-day in-state meeting in early 2015 will formally launch the statewide initiative, bringing together the state teams previously selected to be part of the initiative.

As part of Phase V, the national institute will provide extensive technical assistance to Chippewa, Marathon, Outagamie, La Crosse, Rock and Waukesha counties and a state level team to expand EBDM in Wisconsin. Assistance also will continue for Milwaukee and Eau Claire counties, which have been included since the first phase of the program. 

“We are thankful to Milwaukee and Eau Claire counties for helping take Wisconsin to the next level,” Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson said. “These efforts, along with those of the additional counties and a new state team, will benefit us all.”

The goals of the in-state meeting will be to ensure a shared understanding of the purposes, benefits, and processes of the initiative; begin the process of building and solidifying methods for cross-team partnership and collaboration; and begin the work of the Phase V roadmap. 

Following the initial site visits and in-state kick-off meeting, teams can expect monthly on-site assistance from their technical assistance manager. The managers will support state and local teams as they engage in a set of specific planning activities designed to lay the groundwork for implementation of the Evidence Based Decision Making framework.

The state of Wisconsin formally applied for inclusion in Phase V on Nov. 21, 2014.  A total of four states submitted applications (Oregon, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia).  As part of the final selection process, the institute and the Center for Effective Public Policy conducted a site visit to Wisconsin on Jan. 20 and 21. The site visit included a meeting with state team representatives, a meeting with all of the proposed local and state site coordinators, and individual local team meetings with leadership from each of the six proposed local policy teams. 

The goal of Phase V is to build capacity to make evidence-based decisions at the individual, agency, and system levels, and to develop plans for implementing system-wide change strategies that will align state and local officials/jurisdictions with one another and with the principles of Evidence Based Decision Making. Phase V is a planning phase, similar to the planning process seven local sites (including Eau Claire and Milwaukee counties) engaged in during Phase II. Full implementation of strategies is anticipated in Phase VI. 

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