Public Policy Lab - NEW

Design research & report design on jail recidivism in Louisville, KY


Across the country, jails are handling a surge of high-need opioid drug users that they are not designed to serve. Working with the innovation team from the Mayor’s Office in Louisville, Kentucky, we explored the intersection of incarceration and opioid use and examined how to best respond to the jail system’s challenges around overcrowding.

By collaborating with Department of Corrections staff, jailed people, and treatment community members, we diagnosed six needs that all users of the jail shared and identified five promising paths for future design work. All of these paths rest on our conclusion that jail can model and support the behaviors that will help people lead more productive lives after release.


As a design fellow with Public Policy Lab, I created activities and templates to help research participants in various states of mental health communicate and share their experiences with us, modeled best practices to help teach interviewing and design research skills to our partner team, and designed an eight-panel pamphlet summarizing our research and recommendations.