Starke County one of 11 counties to participate in Evidence Based Decision Making pilot programs

Starke County Court Services Director Shawn Mattraw explains EBDM and how the courts and probation departments are using it to help keep offenders from reoffending.
James Master

Evidence Based Decision Making (EBDM) is a strategic and deliberate method of applying empirical data and research supported principles to justice system decisions made at the case, agency, and system level.

Since 2017, Starke County has been one of 11 pilot counties that are utilizing EBDM Pre-Sentence Investigations (EBDM-PSI).

“We follow the evidence, empirical research and data that’s been done, collected, validated, proven. Especially when it comes to offender supervision,” explains Court Services Director Shawn Mattraw.

He went on to say that based on the recommendation of Starke County Judge Kim Hall, Court Services has compiled a snapshot of the EBDM report which provides Judge Hall with a more effective aid when sentencing offenders.

“Frankly, the defense attorneys who represent their clients may know their client’s criminal history etc… and the prosecutor may know that too, but what was missing was risk level. What’s the defendant’s risk level to reoffend. What are some needs that the defendant may have, does he need education, employment, substance abuse treatment, things like that. And it seemed that we weren’t really capitalizing on the best fit for each defendant,” Mattraw said.

About a year ago, Judge Hall and Director Mattraw discussed how to solve the issue and to come up with a method that would aid not only the defendant and the sentencing process, but also a method that would aid the rest of Starke County.

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