In May 2023, the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI), with support from the Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP), hosted a series of symposiums throughout Tennessee highlighting best practices and innovations in pretrial services. The events, held in Clarksville, Knoxville, and Memphis, featured national speakers and local leaders in pretrial, law enforcement, courts, and behavioral health.

Panelists at each event discussed the innovative, data-driven strategies that counties implemented to improve system and community outcomes. Experts shared valuable lessons learned and offered advice on the importance of cross-agency collaboration.

Panelist insights:

  • In some counties, the local jail is the highest-funded, or only, mental health treatment facility, but jail is not the right place for everyone. Agencies should understand their population – who needs to be in custody, and who could benefit more from treatment.
  • Resources to address behavioral health needs and other pretrial capacity challenges are available in Tennessee, including funding and services at the state level.
  • System change is a slow process that requires ongoing collaboration among criminal justice stakeholders, but if done right, the results improve outcomes.

Learn more about each panel and explore event-specific takeaways: