Legislative Primer Series


Front-End Justice

These reports are part of a series that explores policies that affect the front end of the criminal justice system. Each brief looks at who is entering the “front door” of the criminal justice system and gives examples of legislation, national initiatives, best practices, promising programs and key research on timely issues. The series provides legislatures with the tools they need to consider cost-effective policies that protect public safety.

Mental Health Primer

Mental Health Report, August 2018

This report provides legislators with an overview of how to better address justice-involved individuals who have mental health needs. It highlights innovative laws and policies aimed at reducing criminal justice involvement, diverting appropriate defendants away from the criminal justice system altogether, and forging connections to treatment and services for individuals in an incarceration setting.
Read the online report | Read the printed report

Young Adults in the Justice System Report

Young Adults Report, August 2019

This report examines young adults’ (age 18-24) overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. Emerging research is shedding light on the distinct developmental and behavioral health needs of this age group. The report looks at innovative justice-system responses used by jurisdictions to redirect the trajectory for justice-involved young adults. Legislators will find tools to assist them in identifying specific young adult needs in their jurisdictions and to advance informed policy responses effective in helping this age group.
Read the online report | Read the printed report

Women in Jails report

Conditions and Rights for Women in Jails Report, January 2022

This report examines the population of women in the front-end of the justice system. It provides an overview of the limited research and the gaps in research on who justice-involved women are, what they have experienced, and how they got there. It also discusses the varying approaches jurisdictions are using to address the distinct needs of justice involved women, to improve conditions of confinement and support reentry services.
Read the online report | Read the printed report

Additional Resources