President Preckwinkle Announces Details of the Cook County Justice Reinvestment Initiative

Cook County issues a call for technical assistance providers to submit qualifications

Cook County is now accepting applications from agencies that can provide technical assistance in implementing the Cook County Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). The County’s JRI is a multi-year project that seeks to analyze criminal justice and community safety spending, identify opportunities for improvement, and implement strategies for reinvesting subsequent savings in community-based services and solutions. Cook County is now initiating the first phase of its JRI, seeking technical assistance providers to conduct the analysis, facilitate stakeholder and community engagement and provide official recommendations. 

“The Justice Reinvestment Initiative will help Cook County actively realize our effort to build a more equitable and transparent criminal legal system that centers the needs of residents and communities,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “This initiative is an opportunity for our county to thoughtfully examine how we fund systems and services to ensure our budgets are in alignment with our values. Leveraging data and best practices, we will identify additional funding for community-based services that prevent involvement with the criminal legal system and improve community safety for all.”

Justice Reinvestment Initiatives are increasingly being used by states and municipalities to identify areas of overspending, spending that is not mission aligned and duplication of spending across agencies. Following the budget review process, identified savings are then reinvested in data-driven policies and programs. Cook County’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative will prioritize cross-agency collaboration and reinvestment in public health resources, community-based services and other areas that address underlying causes of crime and community violence and work to increase community safety and well-being.

“Our care teams see the lasting impact of gun violence on patients, their families and friends, and the communities they live in every day. Investing in criminal justice and community safety spending research to ensure we are directing our resources into evidence-based programs that make a difference is an investment in the health of Cook County residents,” said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha.                              

Following the collaborative American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding allocation process, Cook County designated $2 million in ARPA funding for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. The initiative is being stewarded by the Cook County Justice Advisory Council (JAC) and the Bureau of Finance. 

“The Justice Reinvestment initiative takes important steps to ensure community safety resources are being spent where they can have the most significant long-term impact in our communities,” said Tanya Anthony, Cook County Chief Financial Officer. “We are incredibly proud of our work to judiciously manage resources, promote fiscal responsibility and use budgeting best practices. This initiative builds on these efforts and will help match vital resources to needs throughout the County.”

“Cook County has long been committed to advancing equity and this initiative is a critical piece of this ongoing work,” said Avik Das Executive Director of the JAC. “Our journey towards Justice Reinvestment will help ensure integrity and transparency in the priorities we invest in, but it will also contribute to building safer and more resilient communities where vulnerable residents have access to the supports and services that can help them avoid becoming entangled in our justice system. We look forward to identifying key partners who will help us innovate how we allocate funding to promote positive outcomes for residents and communities.”

Cook County has issued a request for qualifications for technical assistance provision to support the development of its Justice Reinvestment plan. Technical assistance firms will contribute to the production of:

  1. Comprehensive spending overview to understand current budgets and spending practices.
  2. Collaborative mission alignment process to help agencies ensure their budget aligns with their core mission and contributes to overarching goals.
  3. Identifying overspending and duplicative efforts to build on the spending overview and pinpoint areas of overspending and duplication in programming and services within the criminal justice system.
  4. Strategy for capturing savings to identify new savings in criminal justice budgets that can be reinvested into community initiatives that have long-term impact. 
  5. Best practices landscape analysis to understand emerging best practices in jurisdictions that have successfully reinvested criminal justice dollars into public health resources and community initiatives. This analysis will inform and shape Cook County’s strategy.
  6. Budget recommendations on areas of budgets that could be reduced or shifted based on identified overspending and savings, as well as best practices. These recommendations will help enhance efficiency and maximize the impact of community safety funding.
  7. Transparency and accountability framework to better track, report and evaluate criminal justice and community safety budget requests and reallocations. This framework will prioritize transparency, data-driven decision-making and an orientation toward reinvestment.

The request for qualifications for technical assistance for Cook County’s JRI is posted on the Cook County procurement website. Questions about the application process must be submitted to the Procurement Office by Wednesday, November 1 and applications will be accepted through November 15, 2023. The application, resources, and contact information for this opportunity can be found here: CookCountyIL.gov/service/view-current-contract-opportunities

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