Advancing Innovations in Policy and Practice

​Smart Decarceration Initiative (SDI) generates evidence to inform the development and dissemination of criminal justice practice and policy innovations, particularly in the areas of collateral consequences and behavioral health. To this end, SDI pursues projects such as conducting natural experiments around collateral consequences and develops interventions that best respond to the co-occurring disorders among young adult probationers. Sample projects for this strategic priority include the following: 

Advancing Intervention Science for Probationers with Serious Mental Illnesses
 (Principal Investigator Matt Epperson)

This Mentored Research Scientist Develop (K01) study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health entails developing and testing a novel behavioral intervention focused on criminal risk reduction and treatment adherence among probationers with serious mental illnesses. Better addressing the needs of criminal justice-involved people with serious mental illnesses can help to reduce behavioral health disparities in the criminal justice system. The study is being conducted in Cook County, Illinois.

(Principle Investigator Carrie Pettus-Davis)

The Support4Families evaluation is funded by the Lutheran Foundation. Support4Families was designed to assist families who struggle with the emotional strain of providing support to loved ones being released from prison, and who may resort to maladaptive coping strategies that can deteriorate over the course of reentry. The Support4Familes program consists of six phases of intervention and support for family members and loved ones of incarcerated individuals. The first half of the 12-week program, aimed at skill development, is conducted while loved ones are still incarcerated. The second half, aimed at the practice of those skills, is conducted after the loved one's release from prison. The program and evaluation is  being conducted in St. Louis City and St. Charles County, Missouri.