The Criminal Justice Resource Department (CJRD) opened in November 2015 as a division of the County Manager's Office. On July 1, 2017, it became a department in Orange County Government. The department oversees and supports jail alternatives programming in Orange County.
The Criminal Justice Resource Department administers the Pretrial Release Program, two Drug Treatment Courts, the Misdemeanor Diversion Program, youth and adult mental health and substance use professionals that work directly with individuals in custody or at risk of incarceration, and the newly-formed Local Reentry Council. These programs and positions strive to assist court and justice system stakeholders by offering assessments, referrals, recommendations, supervision and programming.
The department also provides direct support and case management services to individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. Individuals on Pretrial Release, people reentering the community from incarceration, and participants in the Misdemeanor Diversion Program and the two drug treatment courts are provided case management. In addition, the Criminal Case Assessment Specialist and the Youth Mental Health Liaison work directly with adults and youth with mental health and substance use issues that are facing incarceration. These professionals seek to address specific therapeutic needs and to link individuals to appropriate services and resources in the community.
The department collects and provides data and information to the County Manager, justice stakeholders and the community in order to support, enhance and recommend changes to jail alternatives programming. The objective is to reduce overall rates of pretrial detention, reduce the number of individuals with mental illness in custody, reduce recidivism, reduce racial and economic disparities and increase public safety.
"Ending the overuse of jail will reduce economic and racial inequalities and is an essential part of advancing civil rights in the 21st century." Nicholas Turner, President and Director, Vera Institute of Justice.