Vol. 12 | October 2021
This Issue's Must-Reads
  • A Look-Back
  • Special Announcements: Director Retiring; Interim Director Announced; Pre-Trial Services Director Announced
  • Policy Byte - A Look at Data
  • In Focus
  • In the News
  • CJCC
A Look-Back
Celebrating two years of JAD and one year of the JAD newsletter, In Session!

In October of 2019, Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously created the Harris County Justice Administration Department (JAD), and name Jim Bethke as Director.

When Bethke started to build JAD, he created three positions to begin working as a policy research team for Harris County. Two years later, Bethke has built a vibrant and robust department comprised of over twenty experts in their fields.

Over the last two years, the JAD team has created the Racial, Ethnic, and Equity Community Committee and held its first three meetings, prepared and submitted a multitude of memos, and work on programs such as tracking Racial and Ethnic disparities in the Harris County criminal justice system, Harris County Traffic Stop Data and a dashboard, Model Use of Force Policy, Victim Services Assessment, Justice for All: A Proposal to Expand the Harris County Public Defender’s Office and Create a Model Indigent Defense System, and County Level Emergency Responder Study to name a few. In addition, JAD hosted public meetings on the ODonnell Consent Decree, made public data dashboards on traffic stop data, court appointments, and jail population statistics.

In May after months of designing and developing, JAD created and launched its new website. The website is designed to be user-friendly and allows the reader to navigate easily to stay informed and educated as to what JAD is working on. The website also features language options to be reader-friendly for our County.

We are also happy to recognize that October 2021 marks the 12th edition of, In Session, the JAD monthly newsletter. We started, In Session, hoping that it would help inform and educate our partners, stakeholders, and community of the work being accomplished by JAD and our Harris County partners. We've had a very positive response to the newsletter and the information it provides. Thank you for your readership, article contributions, and support!

These are only a few of the numerous projects and programs that JAD is working on to enhance public safety, fairness, and accountability.

Cheers to many more years.
JAD Director Retiring, Interim Director Announced, Pre-Trial Services Director Announced
Director of JAD Retiring After Twenty
Plus Years of Service to the Criminal
Justice System
The Harris County Justice Administration Department is extending best wishes to its Director, Jim Bethke, who retires on October 1.
Bethke began serving as Director of JAD in October of 2019 upon its creation. Under his leadership, JAD has experienced growth and navigated changes and advancements. In November 2020, Bethke served Harris County in dual roles upon being appointed as Interim Director of Pretrial Services.
"I am grateful to the County for providing me this opportunity and appreciative of the support given to me by the Commissioners Court to build a new department effectively," said Jim Bethke, Director of JAD. "Our greatest strengths are the incredibly gifted and talented people serving throughout the County. Much has been accomplished and much more still needs to be done. I wish all of Harris County the best of success in making this County the model other jurisdictions in Texas and across the country aspire to be."
Bethke came to Harris County after serving as Executive Director and Chief Defender for the Lubbock Private Defender and Executive Director of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. His thoughtful style of leadership has helped our department become more of a supportive family.

We know that you all join us in wishing Jim well as he embarks on more quality family time, traveling, and maybe a few rounds of golf! - Cheers to you, Jim!
JAD's Interim Director Announced.
Dr. Ana Yáñez-Correa, Appointed Interim
Director of JAD

The Harris County Justice Administration Department (JAD) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ana Yáñez-Correa, as Interim Director, following the departure of Director Jim Bethke.

Dr. Yáñez Correa joined JAD in June of 2020 as Deputy Director. In this role, she helped manage a team made of talented professionals, assisted the Director in developing and implementing the Department's strategic direction, maintained and managed the relationships with internal and external stakeholders, and helped oversee the public education, outreach, and policy research effort of the Department.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my service at Justice Administration Department during this transition, especially given the many challenges our community faces daily. These are unprecedented times, and it will take all of us at the County to help the County Leadership build a vibrant, safe, healthy, and thriving community for all Harris County residents," stated Dr. Ana Yáñez- Correa, Interim Director, JAD. "JAD is poised to build on the momentum of the past two years led by Jim Bethke. The JAD team and I look forward to being a part of the effort to bring the Department to the next level and having a positive and lasting impact."
Dr. Yáñez-Correa brings over 25 years of service and experience to the role of Interim Director. Before joining the JAD team as policy director in 2020, she served as the Community Engagement Director and Policy Director for Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis.

Before making Harris County her home, Dr. Yáñez-Correa served as the Criminal Justice Program Director at the Public Welfare Foundation, where she developed and oversaw organizations in nine states that were seeking to tackle justice system-related challenges and to address the needs of crime survivors, individuals reintegrating back into their communities, and supporting other justice-system stakeholders striving to improve their policies and practices. Prior to that, she served for ten years as Executive Director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on advancing bipartisan justice improvements in Texas. During her time as ' 'TCJC's Executive Director, Ana successfully fostered relationships among a wide range of legislators, criminal and youth justice practitioners, law enforcement groups, civil rights organizations, and other community members, allowing TCJC to promote policies that foster public safety and community wellness while saving Texas billions in taxpayer dollars.

In 2014, she helped launch the Smart-on-Crime Coalition, a bipartisan effort that includes business, public policy, and civil rights groups in Texas, and her leadership helped ensure the passage of more than 150 smart-on-crime policies at the Texas Legislature that have positively improved the justice system outcomes in Texas.
Welcome Dr. Ana Yáñez-Correa to her new role.
New Director of Harris County
Pre-trial Services Appointed
Natalie Michalidies Appointed as Director of
Pre-trial Services

Harris County Pre-trial Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Natalie Michailides as its new Director. 
Ms. Michailides has been embedded with Harris County Pretrial Services over the past ten months, assisting the agency in creating efficiencies and practices consistent with a high-performing pretrial agency. In this role, she worked directly with the staff and interim leadership, Jim Bethke, to re-envision organizational processes from the point of intake at the jail through disposition.
"I welcome this opportunity to continue the momentum gained over the past year. I've been working in Harris County for over five years as a consultant on various pretrial initiatives. The agency is well-positioned to start taking proactive steps at all stages of the justice system to meet the needs of the agency, defendants, and Courts" stated Ms. Natalie Michailides, Director of Pret. "Moving forward, I envision Harris County Pretrial Services as a collaborative partner with a justice system that evolves with statute changes and research."
Ms. Michailides has over twenty years of experience as a practitioner and consultant. In the last six years, she has applied her skills from public service to pretrial consulting. She served as the lead site coordinator for jurisdictions seeking to reform their pretrial justice systems to increase community safety, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and achieve a less costly and more fair system. The impetus for the reform efforts was the implementation of a pretrial assessment called the Public Safety Assessment (PSA). Ms. Michailides has worked with some of the largest justice systems across the country, including New Jersey and New York City. Additionally, she was the PSA site coordinator for eleven sites across the country including Harris, Cook, and Tarrant counties.
Before entering the field of consulting, Ms. Michailides had a wide range of justice experience, starting as a law enforcement planner with the Akron Police Department and then transitioning to the county level. Here, she held the position of Justice Affairs Coordinator with the Summit County Executive's Office Department of Public Safety and was responsible for initiatives to address jail overcrowding. She coordinated the efforts of the Jail Overcrowding Committee to reduce the jail population by re-envisioning pretrial and the front-end of the system, which included the implementation of a new pretrial assessment. The County sustained the reduced jail population based on the implemented processes. Based on her leadership through that process, she was asked to be the Pretrial Services Supervisor for the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. In the event a person was not released due to inability to pay, this Department identified people based on the charge and results of the pretrial assessment to recommend release on a personal bond under an emergency release order developed as part of the previously mentioned jail overcrowding initiative. Ms. Michailides then went on to serve as the Chief of Probation for the Canton Municipal Court. In addition to regular leadership duties of a probation department, she operationalized the first pretrial diversion program for the court. Also, due to a statutory change, she collaborated with leadership to develop a streamlined process to accommodate the influx of individuals seeking to seal their records.
Insight into the JAD Data and Technology Team
Who is the JAD data team?
The JAD Data Team consists of team members with various technology backgrounds that work together in collecting and analyzing data for policy research and decision support for the Justice Administration Department’s Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Values.

How is Data collected and used for JAD?
The data team primarily relies on automated data integration platforms to collect data from multiple sources and applies logical transformations of the data into a predefined schema. The process also flags data entry errors and inconsistencies before populating a structured data model.
At this point, the data team has developed a model that integrates information from different decision points within the criminal justice system that allows slicing and dicing of both operational and analytical measures and enables in-depth policy research and decision support
What do you want the JAD data to accomplish?
The Harris County justice system is complex and involves many workflows spread over multiple agencies and systems. Our goal is to develop an integrated data model that allows public and County agencies to access analytical measures and key performance indicators readily and reliably. In addition to publishing ad hoc reports and dashboards, the JAD data team roadmap outlines developing internal and external dashboards that provide insights into each decision point in the justice process.   
Spotlight on Media & News Announcements
 The Harris County Justice Administration Department (JAD)
Seeking Proposals for Community Engagement Grants

The Justice Administration Department (JAD) is seeking proposals from qualifying organizations for Community Engagement grants. The grants will provide funding for direct services that are preventative interventions to incarceration and provide support to justice-involved individuals, youth, and survivors of crime. The Community Engagement grants focus on investing funds in community-based responses to crime prevention, mitigating nonappearances to court, and decreasing recidivism by providing support to those that are justice-involved.
Initiatives funded will support JAD’s effort to reduce racial and ethnic disparities within the criminal justice system, reduce court nonappearance for misdemeanor offenses, improve public safety in the County, and decrease engagement with the county jails. Community Engagement grants: Administered by JAD, this program will further the goals of Harris County’s participation in the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) as well as the requirements of the ODonnell Consent Decree.
Each grant must promote one or more of the following objectives: 1) preventing involvement in violent or criminal activity as either a perpetrator or victim among those who are at risk, 2) diverting youth or adults from formal system involvement at the pre-arrest, arrest, or earliest stage possible, 3) reducing the risk of reentry or re-involvement in the criminal justice system 4) contributing to community healing through restorative justice practices and 5) providing supportive services to mitigate causes of nonappearance (outlined in RFP document).
The Community Engagement grants recipient(s) shall provide all necessary labor and materials to assist JAD with engaging the community. This includes supporting organizations that directly serve justice-involved individuals, implementing preventative violence programming to at-risk populations, and /or supporting victims and community healing or restorative justice. The grant awards will cover a period of time beginning on or about November 1, 2021, and continuing one (1) year after that.
To learn more about the Community Engagement grants, a pre-proposal conference is scheduled for September 20, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. CST local time in Houston, TX using the following dial-in information. Conference number (281) 985-1862, meeting number (access code): 455493597#. Attendance is optional, and organizations are encouraged to attend to better understand the requirements of the application process.

 To learn more, click here to access the solicitation reference number 21/0291.
Media Articles
Come Work for JAD - We're Hiring!

The Harris County Justice Administration Department is hiring for a Senior Justice Policy Research Analyst. The Policy Analyst is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing qualitative and quantitative data to inform County policy decisions.

Research is grounded in principles of racial, social, and economic equity. We are looking for an analyst to join our team who is passionate about leading transformative change based on best practices, highly motivated around problem-solving, and will approach focus on racial equity and collaboration with the community and key stakeholders. You can apply for the position here, Senior Justice Policy Research Analyst.

On September 28th at Commissioners Court, there was a discussion on how to make the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) a more effective meeting body to address pressing criminal justice issues. JAD will be providing recommendations to improve the efficiency of the CJCC to Commissioners Court at the end of October.
Harris County, Texas, is striving to lead in criminal justice innovation in the United States. The efforts described in this NEWSLETTER represent JAD's work for the Harris County Commissioners Court, and only a selection of JAD's pioneering policy work. JAD will continue to build coalitions with local stakeholders in the coming months and years, identify successful initiatives from other jurisdictions and forge innovative, evidence-based reforms from the ground up.