La Crosse County

La Crosse County

La Crosse County, Wisconsin, is 400 square miles in size, has a population of approximately 120,000 individuals, and serves as home to more than 17,000 students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College.

In 2016, the La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office opened 3,143 criminal files. Charges were filed in 3,084 of the cases, with 970 felony cases, 1,714 misdemeanor cases, and 400 criminal traffic cases. That same year, 5,157 non-court bookings occurred at the La Crosse County Jail. Approximately 265 individuals are placed on probation each year in La Crosse County.

EBDM Stakeholders

The EBDM policy team was formed as a subcommittee of the La Crosse County Criminal Justice Management Council (CJMC), which was established by county board resolution in 2000. The mission of the CJMC is to use research to seek a just, coordinated and accountable criminal justice system through collaboration with criminal justice stakeholders and community engagement.   Its vision is that all people in La Crosse County experience a healthy, safe and just life. 

The EBDM policy team is comprised of a variety of stakeholders, including:

  1. Administrator’s Office
  2. Circuit Court Judges
  3. Community Members
  4. County Board of Supervisors
  5. CJMC Coordinator
  6. District Court Administrator
  7. District Attorney’s Office
  8. La Crosse Police Department
  9. Sheriff’s Office
  10. State Public Defender/Local Criminal Defense Bar
  11. Victim Service Providers
  12. Wisconsin Department of Corrections

EBDM Principles

  1. The professional judgment of criminal justice system decision makers is enhanced when informed by evidence-based knowledge.
  2. Every interaction within the criminal justice system offers an opportunity to contribute to harm reduction.
  3. Systems achieve better outcomes when we operate collaboratively.
  4. The criminal justice system will continually learn and improve when professionals make decisions based on the collection, analysis, and use of data and information.

Harm Reduction Goals

La Crosse County’s harm reduction goals include the following:

  1. Divert low-risk individuals from the criminal justice system, reducing the negative impact of the criminal justice system on low-risk individuals.
  2. Utilize validated assessments (to help determine those who are low, medium, and high risk) to inform charging decisions and plea negotiations.
  3. Decrease the use of probation for low-risk individuals.
  4. Reserve high-cost jail usage for high-risk individuals.

Read more what stakeholders are saying about the EBDM Initiative:

It's inspiring to see a diversity of criminal justice practitioners dedicated to creating a more just system. Utilizing the best evidence we have on what works to reduce harm has incredible potential to create a better future for victims, offenders, and communities. I'm grateful to be involved in the process and to witness these important changes occurring.

-Dr. Lisa Kruse, EBDM Subcommittee Chair and UW - La Crosse Assistant Professor of Sociology

Phase VI Application

For more information on the effort in La Crosse County visit:  

Contact Mandy Bisek, CJMC Coordinator, at

Jane Klekamp, EBDM Coordinator, at