Forming a CJCC

Forming a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) from the ground up can seem like a daunting task as there are many things to consider. The information outlined in this section of the microsite outlines a step-by-step process for starting a CJCC. It responds to questions you may ask, such as who initiates action or by whose authority is action initiated to establish a CJCC? How does a CJCC get started? The answers to these questions vary depending on the local area and the situation.

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) finds that some communities request technical assistance to establish a CJCC because there is uncertainty or ambiguity about who can legitimately act on issues they face in their criminal justice system. Holding a strategic planning session, with the assistance of a skilled facilitator, is a good way to establish the foundation and priorities for a CJCC. Repeating these sessions at least annually to review the work, celebrate accomplishments, establish new priorities, and reenergize the CJCC can be beneficial.

Authorization and Purpose

Groups can operate informally, but those with formal authorization and structure tend to be more effective. The first step in setting up a CJCC is to obtain legal authorization for it to serve across agencies and jurisdictions.  For example, the CJCC might be established by a joint resolution of local governments, a joint powers agreement, a municipal ordinance, a resolution of the county government, a statute, or an executive order. More examples are found in the Resources under Governance Documents. Whatever form of enabling mechanism is used, its provisions should describe the CJCC’s location within local government and its major purposes, duties, and powers. It should also outline the mutual responsibilities of the CJCC and the agencies it serves. This document legitimizes the CJCC’s staff efforts to obtain line agency cooperation in collecting necessary data and to implement CJCC-sponsored plans and programs. A clearly articulated purpose should be formally adopted. After the CJCC has created its purpose, it can begin mission and vision setting with all the council stakeholders. More details on how to create mission and vision statements can be found in chapter 2.