Abstract for: Understanding the Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System

The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners costing $80 billion a year. The federal government, state governments, civil society, and many private foundations are actively looking for ways to understand how to fix the system everyone believes is broken. Since 2014, interacting with the Office of Research of the Cook County’s Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the largest jail in the United States, and in conjunction with representatives from the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC), an effort using System Dynamics modeling to understand the dynamics of the jail population was initiated. A conceptual model, and some initial insights derived from the effort, are described.