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.

The first 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.

The second 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.

Additional Resources