Evidence-based decision making (EBDM) is a strategic approach that utilizes research-based principles to inform justice system decisions at the system level. It recognizes that justice jurisdictions differ in size, resources, assets, and challenges, and encourages justice system reformers to work together to understand research and improve outcomes. Unlike other justice system reform models, EBDM does not prescribe a specific set of strategies or outcomes. Instead, it provides a process for jurisdictions to analyze their current policies, practices, and performance and align around methods of improvement that fit their unique circumstances.
The paper explores the history of EBDM, highlights its implementation in a local pilot site, showcases the experiences of the state of Indiana, and discusses challenges and strategies for sustainability. EBDM has demonstrated its promise in creating a more rational and research-supported justice system, managed by stakeholders who work together to achieve a shared vision.