Connecting state and local government leaders

Sharing Best Practices is Helping Miami-Dade County Turn Its Jail System Into a National Model


Connecting state and local government leaders

WATCH: County Commissioner Sally Heyman shared how she borrows good ideas and makes them work for her community.

This is the second in a series of Route Fifty video interviews from the National Association of Counties annual conference in Franklin County, Ohio.

Throughout Sally Heyman’s long career in state and local government—from time spent as a council member for the city of North Miami Beach to eight years in the the Florida House of Representatives to her current position representing District 4 on the Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners—her work has been driven by a series of questions. Questions like:

“What’s working for you? What’s not? What’s your best solution? What’s your issue?” And finally, “How can we help?”

Heyman’s commitment to seeking out the best practices from other jurisdictions, whether that’s right in her own backyard or across the country, has helped her reform Miami-Dade’s criminal justice system. She’s worked to unburden minority populations from unnecessary involvement in the system and improve the way the county serves its populations to make sure those with mental illnesses get the treatment they need, rather than winding up in jail.

These efforts have helped Miami-Dade County’s jail system go from being “the worst to now [serving as] the national model,” Heyman said.

On Saturday, Route Fifty sat down with Heyman to discuss what the sharing of best practices and lessons learned has meant to her career as part of the National Association of Counties’ annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

Quinn Libson is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty, based in Washington, D.C..

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