Coalition, White House officials meet to discuss data-driven health care and law enforcement reform

January 12, 2016

Coalition founder Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, and Dawn Wiest, Senior Manager for Research and Evaluation, met with senior White House  policy advisors at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in October 2015 to discuss emerging data-driven healthcare and law enforcement initiatives at the Data-Driven Justice workshop.

The workshop, organized by Senior Policy Advisor Lynn Overmann, was part of President Obama’s ongoing initiative to encourage criminal justice reform. In a visit last summer, the president praised the new data-driven community policing efforts of the Camden County Police Department, calling them “a symbol of promise for the nation”

The workshop assembled individuals from across the country to discuss data sharing projects to improve public health and safety. Dr. Brenner and Wiest presented the Coalition’s Camden ARISE, which integrates public data sets in order to explore the factors contributing to excessive utilization in both the healthcare and criminal justice systems. Many “dual-system high utilizers,” the study finds, have unaddressed behavioral, substance abuse or mental health related complications which may contribute to frequent arrests and hospitalizations.  Identifying and addressing the needs of these individuals can help them avoid readmissions or incarceration.

“Better communication and collaboration across the health care and law enforcement sectors could alter these outcomes,” Wiest said of the project last August.

In November, Jeff and Dawn along with Chief Scott Thomson of the Camden County PoliceDepartment and Anne Milgram, President of Criminal Justice for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (the current funder of Camden ARISE), returned to the White House for a follow-up conversation.

The group discussed the possibility of implementing a pilot pre-arrest diversion program in Camden spearheaded by the Camden Coalition in collaboration with the Camden County Police Department. Milgram stressed that she believes that the Coalition’s emphasis on root causes of repeat arrests and re-hospitalizations, coupled with our skill in telling compelling stories with data, can help advance conversations about criminal justice reform across the country. Dawn and her team are looking forward to continuing discussions with the White House as they move into the next phase of Camden ARISE.

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