Individual Justice Planning

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Individual Justice Planning (IJP)

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!

Learn how IJPs Can Prevent the Incarceration of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) or Mental Illness (MI)

If a person with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) or Mental Illness (MI) has been charged with a crime, they should consult with an attorney. After that, the person may decide to plead guilty or may be convicted. Then, they might be offered probation. An IJP can help a person succeed on probation. An IJP can help a person succeed on parole and avoid being incarcerated again.

An IJP is a document for an individual with I/DD or MI. The document is created by a team. The document includes an assessment of the individual’s current needs and a support plan to address those needs. The plan must include action steps. The plan also includes a crisis plan. The plan says the person’s name, what their disabilities are, and any important information about their behaviors. The document states the reason for the IJP. The document says what the goal of the IJP is.

The Main Goal of an IJP is to Avoid the Incarceration of people with I/DD or MI.

IJPs can be made for youths or adults who have been convicted of an offense. The IJP is designed to help the individual not get into trouble again. IJPs help people get the services they need. IJPs help self-empowerment.

IJPs are similar to:

  • Individual Education Plans (IEPs) used in schools
  • Individual Program Plans (IPPs) or Individual Service Plans (ISPs) used at community developmental disabilities organizations (CDDO)

IJPs can be used with:

  • Positive Behavior Support Plans (PBSPs)
  • Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) 

IJPs are created by a team of people.

The team includes: the individual, parents, therapists, caseworkers, attorneys, advocates, and other community members affected by the IJP.

The criminal justice and human services systems make and carry out the IJP. A team of people from different agencies helps create the individual’s IJP. Working together helps get the support and services the individual needs. This helps avoid the chances of them going to jail again. It helps the individual thrive in the community.  The individual is the most important participant.

They must understand and agree with the plan.

How can an IJP help?

Criminal justice system professionals may not understand I/DD and MI. They may have wrong ideas about I/DD and MI. IJPs educate and help criminal justice system professionals understand behaviors related to I/DD and MI. IJPs promote safety by keeping track of the individual's behavior. The team members help the criminal justice professionals understand disabilities the individual has that affect probation and parole plans. They explain issues that may come up in following probation and parole plans. Then, proactive steps can be taken to help.

Examples of How an IJP Can Help

  • A public defender can use the IJP as a tool in talks with the prosecutor’s office.
  • A copy of the IJP can be given to local law enforcement. This can help law enforcement's understanding. This can help avoid future problems.
  • A student’s IEP team can use the IJP as a tool. It can help prevent bad consequences from expressions of the student’s disability.


Steps in Individual Justice Planning

Step 1: Assess the Needs

A service provider or other interested person can work with the individual to assess their needs. They can help say what services are needed to live and succeed in the community.

Services that the plan may address are: living situation, employment, education, finances, family, medical needs, psychiatric needs, psychological needs, social needs, recreational needs, transportation needs, and advocacy needs.

Step 2: Create a Team with Multiple Agencies

Local agencies that work with the individual must talk with each other to decide who can provide the services.

Agencies that may provide the services include: the local community mental health center, the local CDDO or an affiliate, Vocational Rehabilitation Services Office, the independent living center, Court Services, and the Probation and Parole Office.

When writing the IJP plan, the team should also consider including employers, clergy, family or friends who know the individual. These people can help other team members understand the individual better.

Step 3: Choose an IJP Team Leader

One person should be chosen to lead the team. The leader should guide the meetings. The leader should assign responsibilities and write down the team’s decisions. If either the individual or service provider doesn’t follow the plan, the leader must be contacted and informed.

Probation and parole officers have the legal authority to supervise the individual. They are often the team leader. This can be helpful in fixing problems that may come up early. For example, a team member could tell the probation and parole office if the individual isn’t following the IJP. The officer can address the problem before it becomes a probation or parole violation.


Step 4: Write the Plan

Next, the team will decide how to carry out the plan. The team must decide who will do each task and when the task is finished. The team must be certain the plan covers the person's needs. Then, they must write the plan, and send a copy of the plan to each member, including the individual.

Steps to accomplish each task need to be plain and clear. The team may need to explain the importance of completing every step in the plan. They may need to add additional steps to take if something isn’t done.

The plan needs to be flexible. Needs may change during the process or after the plan is in place. New needs may be found. The agencies on the team may change. The agencies providing services must talk often after the plan started. They must talk about and make changes in the plan. Team meetings are important. Problems with the plan itself or problems following the plan should be reviewed at team meetings.


For more information on IJPs, contact DRC!

Individual Justice Planning