Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date

Summer 7-2019


McLean County, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Design, Sociology

First Advisor

Frank D. Beck

Second Advisor

Rick Valentin


The standards of criminal justice structure and organization are discussed and debated from many positions. The limitations and inefficiencies of a hierarchical and bureaucratic system greatly hinder the possibilities of effective communication and collaboration within it. To address these unique issues Design Sociology (DS) can be applied.

Design Sociology (DS) inspires positive social change by approaching research through an action or applied research method. These methods center the end user’s perspective and have the potential to reimagine processes that produce unfavorable results for the majority of users. Concepts of DS can be applied to any institution or organization, especially to address issues with communication and collaboration that arise between arms of the same institutional body, such as the criminal justice system.

The criminal justice system in Illinois is comprised of numerous independent agencies that work alongside one another. Depending on the function of the agency, the departments can operate in silos inhibiting effective communication and collaboration. The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) created Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (2002) to assist criminal justice system members who wish to improve communication, cooperation, and coordination in their areas. One method of addressing these issues is through the creation of a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC). Although CJCCs have existed since the 1930’s, they are unique to each county or jurisdiction that employs them. The NIC published three common characteristics of effective CJCCs in their online publication, The National Jail Exchange (NJE) 2013. These include an engaged membership lead by an effective leader, appropriate planning staff and a structured, data-driven and collaborative policy approach. Using the three NJE characteristics, a quantitative survey of CJCC members, and qualitative interview of active CJCC members, this paper will analyze the effectiveness of the CJCC in McLean County. The paper will conclude with recommendations based in design sociology.