The City of Long Beach has received two grants from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation totaling up to $1 million to fund the Long Beach Justice Lab, which the City launched to provide new tools to first responders to divert residents in need out of the criminal justice system and toward resources like treatment and care.
“The City of Long Beach is working to create innovative solutions to help those stuck in our justice system start new lives,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We are grateful for the support that the Laura and John Arnold Foundation has provided to help the City of Long Beach move forward with the Justice Lab.”
The facility was developed through a partnership between the City’s Innovation Team, or “i-team,” and the Long Beach Public Safety Continuum. The Continuum consists of: police, fire, health and development-services departments; the city prosecutor’s office; neighborhood associations; nonprofits; and residents who work collaboratively.
The first grant from the Arnold Foundation funds implementation of two critical initiatives as part of the Justice Lab: the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) and Data Mart. The MDT convenes city and county service providers to better coordinate and make it easier for residents to access mental health care, substance-abuse treatment and homeless services. Data Mart is part of the City’s Data Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative that will bring multiple data sets together to cross-check information from the police, health and fire departments, as well as the city prosecutor’s office, and other departments, to coordinate wraparound services and provide residents with more comprehensive, appropriate care that can help them get their lives back on track, officials said.
With the second grant, the i-team, in collaboration with California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will conduct a feasibility study and randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of the MDT’s team-based method of service planning and care management for people who frequently come into contact with police officers and other first responders.
The DDJ Initiative consists of over 140 cities and counties working collectively to disrupt the cycle of incarceration by bringing together data across criminal justice and health systems. The Arnold Foundation is working to address the connections between mental illness, substance use disorder, and incarcerations through data driven justice.
“Our mission is public safety through partnerships,” said Police Chief Robert Luna. “Through our Public Safety Continuum, which is a well developed collaboration between departments, we will help stabilize individuals and families allowing us to better serve our community.”
The i-team created the Justice Lab for the benefit of the entire community, said i-team Director Tracy Colunga.
“Receiving the support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation allows the City to better serve people in need of care and support,” Colunga said.
After analyzing over 100,000 offenses in Long Beach during a five-year period, the i-team determined that 85 percent of repeat offenses are not serious crimes, but rather low-level misdemeanors. First responders like police officers and firefighters until now have had few tools to help individuals in need, who often wind up in a deepening cycle of arrest and incarceration, according to city officials.
Source: City of LB