Data-based Justice Solutions

Each day, 91 people die in the U.S. from an opioid overdose.1 In Pennsylvania alone, 4,642 people lost their lives in 2016, an increase of 37 percent from 2015.2 These numbers are staggering.

Since the mid-1990s, violent crime in the United States has decreased 29 percent. Despite this significant drop, there are pockets in our nation where violence thrives and extraordinarily high levels of homicides, assaults and gun crimes occur.

On March 15, 2015, Marcus Ladson killed Curtis Avent in Cleveland as part of a shooting spree in revenge for the gang-related killing of his cousin. Without eyewitnesses or DNA evidence, there were few leads. Through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), investigators were able to link shell casings from the crime scene to four prior incidents.

As both a trauma surgeon AND police Lieutenant with the Dallas Police Department, I spend an inordinate amount of time mitigating the aftermath of violence. 

Armstrong v. Village of Pinehurst is a clear reminder that legal standards around police de-escalation are rapidly evolving.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein

Numbering somewhat fewer than four in every 100 adults in America, individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) generate at least one in 10 calls for police service.

How do you prove the value and effectiveness of a program? — With evidence.

As a judge serving on the bench for 20 years in the 20th Judicial Circuit in Illinois, I worked with several problem-solving courts and learned the many pros they provide for both an offender and a community at large. These courts included domestic violence, drug, veterans’ and teen courts.

Problem-solving courts began in the 1990s to accommodate offenders with specific needs that were not adequately addressed in traditional courts.