This research examined a collaborative communitypractitioner partnership involving many justice and non-justice system agencies in Tarrant County, Texas. The study examined the challenges of a community-based partnership for solving jail overcrowding issues and the overincarceration of mentally ill individuals. This research involved working with the behavioral and mental health providers, substance abuse services providers, health services providers, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, sheriff’s office, county administration, court administration, jail staff, reentry services providers and organizations, victim services organizations, and so many more. In this paper the focus is on the importance of reducing conflict between entities that see themselves as in competition (removing adversarial components where possible), increasing communication between agencies and organizations, creating accountability for action, and managing the political terrain. We find that these elements combine to produce successful outcomes for communities and families as we focus on the justice system-involved population, their families, and their communities.

Key Take Away Points

For community partnerships in criminal justice to be successful, four areas should be considered:

  • reducing conflict
  • focus on communication
  • create accountability for action
  • management of political terrain

Author Biography

Meghan E. Hollis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Strategic Studies and Director of the Institute for Predictive and Analytical Policing Science at Tarleton State University. Her current research focuses on the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, crime and justice; police organizations;, reducing the overuse and disproportionate use of county jails; justice and democracy; and communities and crime. She is the Reviews Editor at Crime Prevention and Community Safety, and was recently nominated for the Sage Junior Faculty Professional Development Teaching Award. She is co-editor of The Handbook on Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Justice, (with Dr. Ramiro Martinez, Jr, Northeastern University and Dr. Jacob Stowell, Northeastern University). She has also co-authored systematic reviews for the Cochrane Collaboration and Campbell Collaboration, and has authored and co-authored several book chapters. Before joining TSU, she was an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Prior to that she was a research associate with Northeastern University and the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement. In these roles, she worked on policing, crime prevention, and routine activities theory-based research.