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Local Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Makes Strides Toward Criminal Justice Reform Within Four Priority Areas Identified by Community Members




The Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) today released its 2021 Midyear Report: Strategic Plan Update (Fiscal Years 2021-2023) to update the community on the progress underway towards sustainable, data-driven improvements to Charleston’s  criminal justice system. One year into the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the CJCC is on pace with the twelve initiatives in the plan. Additional details about each of the twelve initiatives within the strategic  plan are found below.

The CJCC engaged over 1,200 community members in 2019 to inform the development of its Strategic  Plan in 2020, which focuses on the following core areas: community engagement and addressing inequity, strengthening jail diversion and deflection from the criminal justice system, focusing on fairness and  reentry and case processing advancements.

“While we’ve had to be flexible with changes due to COVID-19, our work remains guided by data and  collaboration, our plans are deliberate, and we are making progress towards the goals laid out,” stated  CJCC Project Director Kristy Danford. “As the CJCC moves into its second year of implementing the  strategic plan, we are excited to keep moving forward and seeing this strategic plan to fruition.”

Also significant, the CJCC has taken important steps toward long-term sustainability and to strengthen its  mission. The CJCC proposed and was awarded a two-year sustainability grant from the John D. and  Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition, the Charleston County Council passed a resolution  affirming its support of the CJCC as well as the CJCC’s goals, mission and operational function. As of July  1, 2021, Charleston County Council moved the oversight function of the CJCC to the Public Safety  Directorate of Charleston County to better examine a more holistic approach to public safety. In the  coming year, the CJCC will also revisit and revise its by-laws to better meet the needs of the community  and to enhance collaboration.

“Community engagement is crucial to our ongoing efforts to improve the local criminal justice system and  advance equity in the community we proudly call home,” said Lauren Williams, CJCC Community  Representative, Partner, Williams & Walsh, LLC. “As leaders within the criminal justice system, we’re  humbly requesting the community to continue engaging with these issues, sharing their thoughts with us,  and joining us as we hold ourselves accountable to advancing meaningful change.”

To read the complete 2021 Midyear Report: Strategic Plan Update (Fiscal Years 2021 – 2023) or for more information about the CJCC, visit or click here.

About the CJCC 

The CJCC is a collaboration of elected and senior officials, law enforcement leaders, judicial and court  leadership, behavioral health professionals, victim and legal advocates, and various community leaders  working in service of the Charleston community. The mission of the CJCC is to assist in making sustainable,  data-driven improvements to Charleston County’s criminal justice system and thereby improve public  safety and community well-being. The CJCC is currently funded by a Safety and Justice Challenge grant  from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more information, visit 

2021 Midyear Report: Strategic Plan Update (Fiscal Years 2021 – 2023) Highlights: 

Community engagement and addressing inequity 

  • Deliberately focused on making information increasingly accessible and available to a broader  audience through multiple formats such as social media, Community Justice Forums and targeted  community engagement events 
  • Partnered with Everyday Democracy to launch a qualitative two-year community-engaged  research study to better understand racial and ethnic disproportionalities and disparities in the  local criminal justice system 
  • Convened a dynamic group of researchers and community leaders that represent the target  audience for the Race Equity Fellowship Program to develop the program proposal, and secured  funding to develop and pilot the program 

Strengthening jail diversion and deflection from the criminal justice system 

  • Initiated a small scale pilot to engage individuals living with homelessness, mental illness and/or  substance use disorders that most often cycle in and out of jail in wrap-around services to help  achieve improved outcomes and uncover system gaps 
  • Launched a study with the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center and Justice System  Partners (JSP) to more fully understand how deflecting individuals with mental illness from the  criminal justice system and to diversion options (and subsequent treatment) impacts arrest, jail  populations and behavioral health outcomes 
  • Developed and launched regularly occurring data dashboards to monitor trends in crime, diversion  and deflection, arrests and jail use activity in the community 

Focusing on fairness and reentry 

  • Developed and launched regular dashboards to monitor Centralized Bond Court practices, pretrial  release patterns, and the use of pretrial service reports (PSR) 
  • Developed and launched a court observation tool to strengthen alignment among Central Bond  Court practices and national standards to help ensure bond hearings are continually fair, just and  meaningful
  • Studied current South Carolina statues, case law, and national standards for pretrial release and  detention as well as related research studies to guide the development of a proposal for pretrial  service option(s) 
  • Partnered with United Ways’ SC 211 to secure one-year assignment of an AmeriCorps VISTA  devoted to addressing gaps in reentry information available in the SC 211 platform and  implementing strategies to get this information directly to justice-involved populations  Case processing advancements  
  • Developed and launched regular dashboards to monitor case processing activity in the Court of  General Sessions 
  • Institutionalized weekly jail population reviews with court stakeholders 
  • Continued to improve the General Sessions Court text reminders 
  • Conducted reviews of key case processing indicators and convened stakeholders to help problem solve 
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