Agency Openings

Minnesota DOC Warden Vacanies

The Minnesota Department of Corrections is currently seeking applicants for two separate Warden positions. One is at MCF-Red Wing and the other is at MCF-Rush City. The application deadline for both positions is December 20, 2016.

Click here for more information on the MCF-Red Wing Warden vacancy.

Click here for more information on the MCF-Rush City Warden vacancy.

VACANCY: DC Department of Corrections Director

The Bowser Administration seeks the next Director, DC Department of Corrections (DOC).  The DC Department of Corrections (DOC) is one of several agencies under the oversight of the Deputy City Administrator/ Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice. The mission of the DOC is to ensure public safety for citizens of the District by providing an orderly, safe, secure and humane environment for the confinement of pretrial detainees and sentenced inmates, while providing meaningful opportunities for community reintegration.

DOC currently operates one of the largest municipal jail systems in the country with an average daily population of approximately 1,900 inmates in a diverse urban environment.  Those in the custody of DOC include males (93 percent) and females (7 percent). The DOC system is comprised of two primary correctional facilities—the Central Detention Facility also known as the DC Jail and the Correctional Treatment Facility.  In addition, DOC contracts with two privately operated halfway houses for the community placement of male/female inmates that offer a variety of educational opportunities and other programming services.

Click here for the job announcement and how to apply.

VACANCY: CDCR Warden – Deuel Vocational Institution – Closing Date 12/14/16

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is recruiting for a Warden executive management position at CDCR’s Deuel Vocational Institution in the City of Tracy, California.

Please click here for a copy of the job announcement.

Closing date: December 14, 2016

Vacancy: DC Department of Corrections – Correctional Institution Administrator

The DC Department of Corrections is seeking someone to mange one or more of the operational elements aligned with programs, services and activities related to Agency Management, Institutional Custody, Programs Support Services and Inmate Service at the Central Detention Facility (District of Columbia Jail).

The closing date is November 11, 2016.

Click here to view the vacancy announcement.

To apply, go to the following website:

CDCR Executive Positions Available

CDCR is currently recruiting for three executive management positions. For more information please access the links to the CDCR website.  PDFs of the recruitment bulletins are also available below.

Director, Division of Adult Parole Operations

Click here for the job posting on the CDCR Website.

Click here for the recruitment bulletin.

Superintendents (Northern and Southern California locations), Division of Juvenile Justice

Click here for the job posting (Northern) on the CDCR Website.

Click here for the job posting (Southern) on the CDCR Website.

Click here for the recruitment bulletin.

KY DOC Seeking Medical Director - Closing Date 12-1-16

The KYDOC is seeking a medical director to provide administrative oversight and direction for all aspects of inmate health care, including psychiatric and dental services within the KYDOC. This position would oversee the medical services provided to inmates. The Medical Director shall work with any current or future vendors to develop formulary drug list. He/she shall travel throughout the state to visit all state prison facilities. They will also represent the KYDOC in dealing with the executive and legislative branches of state and federal government along with local health agencies and professional voluntary health organizations as it pertains to inmate health care. The salary range for this position is $250,000-275,000.

Any interested parties should visit:

They should then click on “Vendor Self Service (VSS) and Active Solicitations”. They should click on the “Guest Access” in the upper, left corner of the page. A search box will appear, they should type “Department of Corrections”. The Medical Director RFP should be near the top of the page. Here they can open up the RFP to see our requirements which will include submission instructions and the DOC point of contact. Please note that anyone who responds to the RFP MUST be a registered vendor with the state.

They must obtain a vendor customer number (they can do this through the above website as well—instead of clicking guest access they should click “register”).

CSG Justice Center Job Postings

Council of State Governments Justice Center is currently advertising for two Senior Policy Analyst positions, one in supervision and one in parole. Both positions close November 20, 2016.  Job description are available below.

Click here for Senior Policy Analyst - Parole

Click here for Senior Policy Analyst - Supervision

International Career Opportunities for Corrections Professionals

With over 15 years of experience building rule of law capacity in developing countries, PAE performs the full spectrum of rule of law
development services, including the advising of corrections system personnel.

PAE is seeking experienced and dedicated senior level corrections professionals for challenging mentoring positions in conflict, post-conflict and developing countries.

Please apply online at and/or contact

Click here for a brochure about PAE corrections opportunities.


Pennsylvania DOC Holds Press Conference to Address Children of Incarcerated Parents

On November 2, 2016, a press conference was held by Secretary Wetzel (DOC) and Secretary Ted Dallas (DHS) to highlight the importance of early childhood education and talk about a group of kids, children impacted by state incarceration in PA, who need someone to give them an opportunity to change their trajectory.

Secretary Wetzel has been working with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to create Child Resource Centers for their visiting rooms, providing information for caregivers of programs that the children in their care are likely eligible for. By the end of the year, the DOC will be announcing a department to focus on Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Click here for infograph.

Click here for more information on press conference.

Michigan DOC Takes Lead on Hepatitis C Treatment

The Michigan Department of Corrections has taken the lead on the issue of Hepatitis C treatment, creating a plan to efficiently treat medically-eligible prisoners and working to educate stakeholders, including the Legislature, to secure the funding and support needed to execute that plan. The Department began using Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) Drugs for treatment of F4 stage Hepatitis C patients in early 2014. At the time, total spending on DAA medications totaled roughly $7M, allowing the Department to simultaneously treat 15 to 20 prisoners or 60 to 100 per year. Under this approach, which continued into FY 2015, prisoners in the F4 category were given access to drug treatment based on their deteriorating liver function, with the most compromised prisoners being given access to drug treatment first.

During FY 2016, the State of Michigan made the decision to start covering DAA treatment for the state’s Medicaid population, extending coverage to those patients in the F3 and F4 stages of the disease. This effectively established a clear “community standard” in Michigan and resulted in creating a more aggressive plan for treating all F3 and F4 prisoners within the inmate population. This group numbered roughly 340 at the time, so the Department developed a plan to treat this population, as well as newly entering prisoners that would qualify for this treatment, over a 2 to 3 year time frame.

The Department then embarked on a concerted effort to educate lawmakers and other stakeholders to obtain the funding necessary to make this plan a reality. In the current fiscal year, spending on DAA medications is projected to be $18M in state general fund dollars, allowing for the treatment of roughly 280 prisoners. The budget has also been finalized for FY 2017, with DAA spending at $14.9M, which is projected to allow the Department to finish the year without a backlog of eligible patients. While plans for FY 2018 are not finalized, the expectation is that funding needs will decline as the Department shifts to a maintenance approach that treats only those prisoners that are either new to the system or have deteriorated to a F3 or F4 status.

With the increased expenditure on DAA medications, the Department and its Healthcare partners have had to adjust their approach to ensure the program operates efficiently and effectively. Rather than trying to monitor prescription compliance across roughly 30 facilities, the Department has maintained a centralized list of eligible prisoners in order to stage and treat them at one of a handful of facilities that have been selected to provide this treatment. This approach allows for more consistency and avoids the issue of costly medication waste of noncompliance. Prisoners receiving treatment are not subject to normal transfer during their treatment and the prison, healthcare provider, and parole board remain in regular contact regarding the status of prisoners. The Department has also worked with its healthcare provider to secure the most competitive pricing possible for a correctional setting for these DAA medications and has focused on utilizing drugs, including drugs newly entering the market, that provide the best balance of effectiveness and pricing. The challenge and cost of providing Hepatitis C treatment is very real for a state like Michigan with a prison population of nearly 42,000 and a state budget that must be in balance every year, but the Department believes it has found a way to balance those concerns with the need to provide this treatment.

BJA and CNA Body-Work Camera Training and Technical Assistance Initiative

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs is leading the nation in developing and delivering technical assistance resources for police and other criminal justice agencies implementing body-worn camera (BWC) programs. Working with a panel of national experts from over 20 states, BJA implemented the BWC Toolkit in 2015 (, which identifies resources and expert advice in such areas as policy development, training, technology, research, and privacy.

BJA also selected CNA and its partners—Arizona State University and Justice & Security Strategies—to develop and expand its BWC Pilot Implementation Project training and technical assistance (TTA) program. The goals of the BWC TTA program are to provide TTA efficiently and effectively to agencies implementing BWCs and to support the successful implementation of BWCs across the country, which will help to identify and fill gaps in needed TTA, and reveal the positive outcomes from BWC implementation around the country for the benefit of the justice system.

To request training and technical assistance, email:

Click here for additional information.

Hospice Care in the Missouri Department of Corrections

Director George Lombardi (MO) is very proud of the Hospice programs provided in the Missouri Department of Corrections and wanted to share with you an article on their strategies for handling terminally ill offenders.

Click here to read more about the hospice care provided.

Illinois Department of Corrections Holds Essay Contest

The Illinois Department of Corrections recently held an essay contest for staff members in an effort to build morale within the agency.  Winning topics included "Staff Assaults: Taking Back our Safety" and "Reducing Recidivism: It Starts on the Frontlines". Six of the winners were selected to receive the grand prize of attendance at the Winter ASCA and ACA meetings.  In March the winners will present ideas to their Wardens to improve the Illinois Correctional System from what they learned in New Orleans.

Below are the winning essays listed by the staff members' name.

Congratulations to all who participated and to the Illinois Department of Corrections for such an innovative idea!!

Motivational Video

The following motivational video was presented at the Midwest Directors Meeting October 20-22 in Madison, Wisconsin.  Click here to view the video.  The video is at the top left.  Photos from the meeting are also available to view.

Walter Dunbar Award Recipient Gary Mohr

Congratulations to Gary Mohr (OH) who has been selected as the recipient of the Walter Dunbar Accreditation Achievement Award. He will receive his award at ACA's Opening Session in Indianapolis.

The Dunbar award was established in honor of Walter Dunbar, a man who was vital in starting the accreditation process. The Dunbar Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections, and is presented annually to a person whose contributions have been superior in support of the accreditation process.

BJA Launches the Body-Worn Camera Toolkit

BJA has just released the much anticipated Body-Worn Camera Toolkit, an online clearinghouse of resources designed to support law enforcement professionals and the communities they serve plan and implement body-worn camera programs. This free and easy-to-use online resource consolidates and translates the growing body of knowledge about body-worn camera programs and technology.

Recent events underscore the importance of collaborative relationships between law enforcement and communities and the need for better policing practices to improve officer and citizen safety. In direct response to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, BJA has developed the Body-Worn Camera Toolkit to assist law enforcement agencies in implementing body-worn camera programs in a thoughtful way, building upon the best research currently available and input from both criminal justice and community stakeholders.

BJA is committed to meeting the needs of law enforcement and improving community policing. This one-of-a-kind Website includes information, templates, and tools focused on model policies and procedures, key privacy considerations, lessons learned for implementation, training needs, community engagement, and more. One of the Toolkit’s most essential features is the Resource Center to share questions, comments, and additional resources.

For more information, please visit the Body-Worn Camera Toolkit or e-mail

National Crime Victim's Rights Week Resource Guide

The National Center for Victims of Crime is partnering with the U.S. DOJ, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime to present the 2015 National Crime Victims' Rights Week Resource Guide. These resources have been developed to support and inspire your efforts to raise awareness of the rights and interests of crime victims during National Crime Victims Rights week, April 19-25-2015.

You can go to the following website to download resource guide and other materials:

U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Release Correctional Education Guidance Package

On Monday, December 8, 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the release of the Correctional Education Guidance Package, aimed at helping states and local agencies strengthen the quality of education services provided to America’s estimated 60,000 young people in confinement every day

Click here for the Guiding Principles.

FCC Proposed Rules on Interstate Inmate Calling Services

The Federal Communications Commission has published proposed Rulemaking:

In the attached Notice, the FCC  “seeks comment on additional measures it could take to ensure that interstate and intrastate inmate calling services are provided consistent with the statute and the public interest and the Commission’s authority to implement these measures. The Commission believes that additional action on inmate calling service will help maintain familial contacts stressed by confinement while still ensuring the critical security needs of correction facilities of various sizes.”

Click here for the proposed FCC rulemaking Notice

Idaho Report on the Transition of the Idaho Correctional Center

Construction of the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) was completed in 1999 and the facility opened in 2000 with a capacity of 1,272 prisoners. With a current capacity of 2,080 inmates, the facility is Idaho’s largest prison. It is located approximately 10 miles south of Boise in an area with several other correctional facilities operated by the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), known as the South Boise Prison Complex. The State of Idaho owns the facility, though management of ICC had been contracted to Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) for the past 14 years. On July 1, 2014, CCA's contract came to an end and IDOC assumed all management operations and renamed the facility Idaho State Correctional Center (ISCC). 

This report, prepared by the Boise State University Department of Criminal Justice outlines the transition process of the prison operation from Corrections Corporation of America to the Idaho Department of Correction.

Click here for the report on the ICC transition.

Targeted Interventions for Corrections (TIC)

The Targeted Interventions for Corrections program consists of six brief life-skill interventions to be used in a variety of correctional-based settings. The interventions address the core aspects of addiction treatment and recovery. They focus on what incarcerated individuals need to work on to improve their potential for early engagement in treatment and early recovery, including motivation for treatment, controlling anger, opening lines of communication, correcting criminal thinking errors, and improving social networks.

After assessing the available evidence, the team rated the program as “Promising” in impacting cognitive changes (i.e., knowledge, attitude and psychological functioning) in the treatment verses control group.

The “Promising” rating means there is some evidence to show the program had overall positive effects, but the effects were mixed or not significant enough for the program to earn an “Effective” rating.

Click here for more information about the program at

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Job Search Kiosks

A kiosk that permits soon-to-be-released inmates to search nearly 2 million local state and nationwide job listings was implemented in 2011 by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and is an aid to reentry, says the DOC. It had been previously installed in 28 federal prisons starting in 2009.
Called JOBview 2ndChance, the ATM-kiosks are prison ready, with no keyboard or connection to the Internet, and allow inmates to search through current job listings that are updated daily.

Click here for the full story about the job search kiosks.

Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure

Recidivism, the most commonly used definition of correctional success, is one example of a performance measure that many states use.  Broadly defined as reengaging in criminal behavior after receiving a sanction or intervention, recidivism is an important performance measure for justice agencies and should be at the heart of any effort to evaluate JRI outcomes. Unfortunately, recidivism is most frequently reported as a single, statewide rate, which is too imprecise to draw meaningful conclusions and insufficient for assessing the impact of changes to policy and practice.

Outlined in this report are necessary elements that every state should be using when defining, collecting, analyzing, and disseminating recidivism data. The specific metrics will vary from state to state, but a blueprint exists for expanding beyond system-level trends, accurately comparing across groups and over time, and using the results to inform decision making and improve outcomes. This policy brief lays the groundwork and sets the stage for the next generation of recidivism research.

Click here for the report; Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure from the Urban Institute.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences

The Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has just released the report, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, that examines the origins and impacts of the high incarceration rates in the United States.  The report finds that the dramatic increase in incarceration has failed to clearly yield large crime-reduction benefits for the nation. In addition, the growth in incarceration may have had a wide range of unwanted consequences for society, communities, families, and individuals.

Click here for the report.

How a Prison Record Hurts Your Chances of Getting a Job

In a study that involved sending out more than 6,000 applications for entry-level jobs, NIJ-funded researchers, led by Scott Decker, found that applicants with a prison record were less likely to receive an interview or job offer than applicants without a record. Black men with prison records had the most difficulty getting a favorable response from employers. Their odds of a getting an interview or a job offer were 125 percent less than those of white men with prison records. Black men without prison records had only a 6-percent better chance of getting a favorable response from employers than white men with prison records.

Watch the recording from Decker'’s Research for the NIJ Real World webinar session or tune in to this interview with Decker about the findings of his study.

Statewide Recidivism Reduction and Release of Report

On Thursday, June 12, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (left, D-WV), President of Council of State Governments, and Governor Tom Corbett (right, R-PA)  discussed with national leaders how they spearheaded groundbreaking efforts in their states to slow the growth of corrections spending and reinvest in strategies that increase public safety.

At this Washington, DC event, representatives from the National Reentry Resource Center also released Reducing Recidivism: States Deliver Results, a new report highlighting data from a large cross-section of states showing dramatic reductions in their statewide recidivism rates. These developments demonstrate that the Second Chance Act and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative are getting results.

Click here for the report: Reducing Recidivism: States Deliver Results.

Re-Thinking How and Why We Incarcerate - Lessons from Europe

Last year, representatives from the Vera Institute of Justice joined corrections officials from Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Georgia in visiting German and Dutch prisons to explore the differences between European and American corrections philosophies. What they found was both shocking and inspiring.

People incarcerated across the pond lived in private rooms instead of cramped cells, cooked their own food, dressed how they pleased, were treated with dignity and respect by staff, and were given the opportunity to gain an education and learn valuable job skills. All to prepare them for success in the outside world upon their release. This philosophy of resocialization and rehabilitation stands in stark contrast to that found in American prisons.

The lessons learned there were not lost on those in attendance, however. In an op-ed co-written by Nicholas Turner and John Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, they explore the impact such a philosophy could have on American corrections systems, reentry rates, and public safety. We also highlight several changes being implemented in Pennsylvania prisons, such as improved staff training, reduced use of segregation, and the piloting of some of the normalization and reentry practices seen in Europe.

Click here for the op-ed article from the National Journal.

Correctional Officer Wellness and Safety Literature Review

"Health and wellness among those who work in correctional agencies is an issue that has always existed, but is just starting to get the increasing attention that it deserves. One of the greatest threats to correctional officer (CO) wellness involves the stress they encounter as a result of their occupation. This document reviews the body of literature on the causes and effects of stress for COs, and describes the available research on CO wellness programs and their effectiveness" (p. 1). Sections cover: sources of correctional officer stress—inmate-related stressors, occupational stressors, organizational and administrative stressors, psycho-social stressors, and stressors unique to supervisors and female correctional officers; the effects of stress—impact on work environment and the correctional agency, impact on the physical and mental health of Cos, and the impact on their home life; and correctional officer wellness programs and their effectiveness—gaps in CO wellness programs, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), peer support programs, and wellness programs designed specifically for COs. SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ). Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Diagnostic Center (Washington, DC). Authored by Brower, Jaime.

Click here to access the report.

Review of Legislative Changes Reveals More Than 30 States Have Reformed Drug Laws Since 2009

The “War on Drugs” has cost billions of dollars, been a major driver of mass incarceration and inflated corrections budgets, and devastated communities on the frontlines of drug interdiction and enforcement activities. Facing significant economic restraints, however, and backed by a growing body of research that community-based treatment and support is a more effective response to drug-related offenses than long terms of incarceration, more and more states are revising their drug laws and sentencing practices. In Drug War Détente? A Review of State-level Drug Law Reform, 2009-2013, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections examines the nearly 50 bills that have been passed by more than 30 states to reform laws pertaining to mandatory penalties, drug sentencing schemes, early release mechanisms, community-based sanctions, and collateral consequences.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Crime Bill. To examine the legacy of this landmark federal legislation, the lessons learned, and the path ahead, Vera is convening a series of conversations with experts and policymakers in Washington, DC, as well as issuing a series of reports on sentencing trends—where the states stand on mandatory minimums and other sentencing practices and the resulting collateral consequences. This report is the second in that series. Look for updates on the VERA website.

National Institute of Corrections Affordable Care Act Page

The National Institute of Corrections has added a page to their Library that focuses on the Affordable Care Act and the implications and opportunities it provides to corrections.  Topic areas include enrollment, funding and budgets, mental health and policies.

Click here to access the NIC Affordable Care Act resource page.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction Smart Ohio Plan

Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction (DRC) has committed to reallocating up to $10 million dollars in support of the Smart Ohio Plan, a funding model developed to increase community corrections alternatives to prison.  The Smart Ohio Plan provided all Ohio counties the opportunity to submit a Statement of Interest in an effort to qualify for additional funds to support their community prison diversion programs.
Interested counties were able to choose between three different funding models:  1) the Probation Service Model supplements the costs of supervision and treatment as long as there is no prison commitment; 2) the Treatment Service Model increases resources for community treatment; and 3) the Targeted Diversion Model encourages the increased use of community alternative sanctions for non-violent F4 and F5 offenders by offering potential reimbursement of $5,500 per targeted offender diverted from prison.
“The Smart Ohio Plan will help communities with their prison diversion and community corrections efforts,” stated DRC Director Gary C. Mohr.  “Together we are identifying necessary resources to provide appropriate sentencing alternatives to prison and for those who are sent to prison, aiming to prepare those offenders for life after prison and help them become a productive member of society.  It is a matter of treating people differently by keeping non-compliant, dangerous offenders in secure settings while supporting the successful transition of those committed to turning their lives around.”
To date, all twenty-nine counties that submitted a Statement of Interest have been awarded a Smart Ohio Funding Pilot grant. Counties will receive quarterly disbursements based upon the type of funding model awarded and reported progress data provided to DRC.  The funding models will run through Fiscal Year 2015 and will be evaluated to determine their effectiveness in providing alternatives to prison commitments.

The Sentencing Project: Strategies for Sentencing Reform for Long-Term Prisoners

A number of states have been addressing sentencing policies in their legislative sessions this year. Lawmakers in Idaho and Nebraska are considering revisions to their criminal codes. Legislation to address racial disparity in sentencing policy is in play in Mississippi and Florida. And California lawmakers recently introduced a measure to equalize penalties for crack and powder cocaine offenses. Much of the atmosphere to move sentencing reform has targeted alternatives for persons convicted of nonviolent offenses.
Click here for an article from The Sentencing Project with strategies for addressing sentencing reform for Long-Term Prisoners.

IJIS institute Report: Strategies for Procurement Innovation and Reform

The IJIS Institute announced the report entitled, Strategies for Procurement Innovation and Reform. The report, developed by the IJIS Institute’s Procurement Innovation Task Force, was funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Program Manager of the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE).

This initiative is primarily unique because of the multi-disciplinary composition of the Task Force. Rather than presenting a bifurcated view of the procurement world, the Task Force made a concerted effort to present a unified, comprehensive viewpoint that can be an effective tool for both public and private sector stakeholders.  In addition to offering guidance on procurement issues for state and local government officials, the Task Force’s report aims to not only provided high-level suggestions aimed at addressing general procurement issues but it also provides recommendations that may solve specific procurement challenges. Perhaps the most ambitious goal of the Task Force was to clearly define how technology, in general, and the investment in and adoption of technology standards, in specific, can play a role in ameliorating some of the issues inherent in procurement.

Click here for the IJIS report from the Procurement Innovation Task Force.

Urban Institute Report: Opportunities for Cost Savings in Inmate Medical Care

The Urban Institute has produced a report: Opportunities for Cost Savings in Corrections without Sacrificing Service Quality: Inmate Medical Care.

Typically 9 to 30 percent of corrections costs go to inmate health care. This amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars nationally, and is an aspect of corrections about which the public and many decision makers are largely unaware. Inmate health care costs are high in both prisons and jails.

In Washington, D.C., for example, inmate medical services in its jail cost about $33 million in 2012, a quarter of its corrections budget.2 This does not include the cost of sending corrections officers to guard prisoners who receive medical treatment outside the jail. On average, D.C. tax payers spend about $30 a day per inmate for medical, dental, psychiatric, and vision care.

Can these costs be substantially reduced? This report identifies a number of opportunities for corrections agencies to save inmate health care costs and, very importantly, without sacrificing service quality.

Click here for the Urban Institute report.

GA Department of Corrections Report on Aging Inmate Population

The aging inmate population has been a consistent issue identified in the annual ASCA survey of Current Issues in Corrections.  The Georgia Department of Corrections recently published a report on the aging inmate population.  Click here for the Georgia DOC report on the Aging Inmate Population Project.

Ohio Mothers in Prison Record Books for Children

Mothers incarcerated in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction are using a program called Aunt Mary's Storybook Project to record books for their children and a copy of the recording and the book will be sent home to the children.  The Aunt Mary's program began in Chicago in 1993 and has spread to other states since.  Click here to read the Columbus Dispatch story about the program.

Fact Sheet - Trends in U.S. Corrections

The Sentencing Project has just released an updated version of a graphics presentation, Trends in U.S. Corrections, providing data on incarceration, drug policy, race, ethnicity, gender, and other trends over the past several decades.  Click here for the fact sheet.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003: The Impact of National PREA Standards on Community Corrections

Wondering how the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) impacts the management of offenders in the community? Then this is the resource for you. This handbook aims to educate community corrections staff on: why community correctional staff and administrators need to be concerned about sexual abuse of offenders; identifying inappropriate relationships with and between offenders; the impact of the National PREA Standards on agency policies, practices and special concerns community correctional staff have in addressing PREA; where reports of sexual abuse may come from and the duties of first responders; what the consequences are for sexual abuse of offenders; and how community correctional staff members can prevent sexual abuse of offenders. “This publication provides guidance for departments and agencies supervising adults on community supervision. Because the National PREA Standards cover juvenile community corrections under the juvenile standards, this publication will focus on adults. However, there are resources developed addressing juveniles under community supervision.”

Click here for the report from Jaime M. Yarussi and Professor Brenda V. Smith from the American University - Washington School of Law

A New Approach for Reducing Reincarceration and Joblessness Among Adults with Criminal Histories

On September 19, 2013, the Council of State Governments Justice Center released Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies: Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Job Readiness, a white paper that provides a new tool that can be used as a starting point for cross-systems collaborations to reduce reincarceration and unemployment among adults with criminal histories. It presents guidance to policymakers, corrections and community supervision administrators, and workforce development providers on how to make the best use of scarce resources by using objective, assessment-based approaches that take into account individuals’ risk of future criminal behavior, level of job readiness, and their need for services in order to produce better reentry, employment, and public safety outcomes.

The paper was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, with additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. It builds on work done by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Center for Employment Opportunities, as well as work done by the policy research organization, Public/Private Ventures.

Click here for the white paper, Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies: Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Job Readiness

RAND Report on the Effectiveness of Correctional Education

RAND Corporation recently completed a report on the effectiveness of correctional education on reducing recidivism and improving post-release employment outcomes. 

The study, which was supported by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, should be of interest to corrections officials and state lawmakers as they cope with operating prisons during difficult budget times.

Key Findings from the report:

  • Correctional Education Improves Inmates' Outcomes after Release
  • Correctional education improves inmates' chances of not returning to prison.
  • Inmates who participate in correctional education programs had a 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not. This translates to a reduction in the risk of recidivating of 13 percentage points.
  • It may improve their chances of obtaining employment after release. The odds of obtaining employment post-release among inmates who participated in correctional education was 13 percent higher than the odds for those who did not participate in correctional education.
  • Inmates exposed to computer-assisted instruction learned slightly more in reading and substantially more in math in the same amount of instructional time.
  • Providing correctional education can be cost-effective when it comes to reducing recidivism.

Click here for the RAND Corporation report press release.
Click here for the DOJ press release.
Click here to link to more information and to download the report.

PREA Resource Center adds Audit Page to the Website

The National PREA Resource Center (PRC) has just gone live with an Audit page on their website. This webpage will provide detailed information about the audit instrument, the audit process, and auditor certification. The PRC will also use this section to provide continuing guidance from the Department of Justice related to the audit process. You can locate the audit page at:
Additionally, PRC released the information regarding auditor qualifications and the application. If you would like to become a PREA Certified Auditor you can access information from the PRC at:

CSG Justice Center Launches New Website

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has launched its new website at The overhauled site embodies the Justice Center’s efforts to provide data-driven, consensus-based strategies to increase public safety and strengthen communities.

The CSG Justice Center homepage is organized into eight programs areas:

  • Corrections
  • Courts
  • Justice Reinvestment
  • Law Enforcement
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Reentry
  • Youth

Each of these programs includes rich content developed by staff and experts from around the country.

Each year, nearly half a million users visit the CSG Justice Center’s website properties to tap resources that present the latest research in straightforward, easy-to-understand materials, to learn what innovative, cost-effective, bipartisan approaches state and local governments are taking to make their communities safer, to sign up for newsletters and webinars, and to find out what Congress is doing to advance criminal justice issues.

Besides bringing this content together under a single domain, the new website’s enhanced features include more intuitive navigation, searchable archives of all published content and webinars, a “smart stumble” function that helps expose visitors to a broad range of content that may be of interest to them, and a more sophisticated content management system that enables the Justice Center to post interactive, multimedia, and social content.

“Over time, the Justice Center has gathered an incredible wealth of information and content, but we found that some users only knew us through a single online window into our services,” said Michael Thompson, Director of the CSG Justice Center. “The new is easier to use, better reflects the range of issues we deal with, and provides flexibility for future growth. We have already benefited from increased stability, a broader platform, and the enhanced user experience. I’m very excited that visitors to our website will now be able to get one-click access to information that we think is particularly useful to practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and advocates. I think our constituents will agree that this is a vast improvement in our effort to share this information and I am immensely proud of it.”

“We know that most of our website’s visitors’ needs transcend a single program area,” said Robert Coombs, Director of Communications at the Justice Center. “This new site creates a framework that breaks down the silos of information, allowing for cross-disciplinary presentation of information from the many fields related to criminal justice. We look forward to feedback from our users and exciting new developments to come.”

The Council of State Governments Justice Center is a national nonprofit organization that serves policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels from all branches of government. The Justice Center provides practical, nonpartisan advice and consensus-driven strategies, informed by available evidence, to increase public safety and strengthen communities.
For more information, please visit


Childrens Book: Someone I Know Lives in Prison

George Lombardi recently shared with us a copy of a children’s book entitled “Someone I Know Lives in Prison.”   The book was written by an individual who had spent 35 years in Early Childhood Education and also had a family member incarcerated.  During her visits to the prisons, she noticed the myriad of young children also visiting family members who are in prison.
She wrote this book to help prepare children, in a small way, to visit family members in prison.

Click here for a copy of the front and back cover. 
Click here for an order form.

New Study Examines How Second Chance Act Reentry Programs are Implemented

The number of offenders released every year from the nation’s prisons increased significantly in the last three decades. To address this challenge, Congress enacted the Second Chance Act in 2008.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance is currently providing funds for more than 100 SCA adult offender reentry demonstration sites across the nation.

To determine the effectiveness of the programs, NIJ is evaluating a handful of sites. NIJ sat down with lead researcher Ron D’Amico of Social Policy Research Associates to discuss the evaluation and the early findings from the evaluation of Second Chance reentry programs.

Click here for the nine-minute interview: “Second Chance Act: What Have We Learned About Reentry Programs So Far,”
Click here to link to the NIJ webiste for more NIJ Resources.

NIJ Reports: Transitions Between Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Crime

Through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, NIJ has made available a series of six final technical reports which describe findings from the National Institute of Justice Study Group on the Transitions between Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Crime.

The series presents the latest research findings and information about:

  • criminal career patterns
  • special categories of serious and violent offenders
  • explanations for offending
  • contextual influences
  • prediction and risk/needs assessments

In addition, the series of bulletins considers legal boundaries between the U.S. juvenile and criminal justice systems, young offenders and an effective justice system response to young offenders, approaches to prevention and intervention, and research and policy recommendations.

These reports are the result of an NIJ-funded project but were not published by the U.S. Department of Justice. See below for additional details:

Title: Bulletin 1: From Juvenile Delinquency to Young Adult Offending (pdf, 39 pages)
Authors: Rolf Loeber, David P. Farrington, David Petechuk
Title: Bulletin 2: Criminal Career Patterns (pdf, 34 pages)
Authors: Alex R. Piquero, J. David Hawkins, Lila Kazemian, David Petechuk
Title: Bulletin 3: Explanations for Offending (pdf, 43 pages)
Authors: Terence P. Thornberry, Peggy C. Giordano, Christopher Uggen, Mauri Matsuda, Ann S. Masten, Erik Bulten, Andrea G. Donker, David Petechuk
Title: Bulletin 4: Prediction and Risk/Needs Assessment (pdf, 45 pages)
Authors: Robert D. Hoge, Gina Vincent, Laura Guy
Title: Bulletin 5: Young Offenders and an Effective Response in the Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems: What Happens, What Should Happen, and What We Need to Know (pdf, 51 pages)
Authors: James C. Howell, Barry C. Feld, Daniel P. Mears, David P. Farrington, Rolf Loeber, David Petechuk
Title: Bulletin 6: Changing Lives: Prevention and Intervention to Reduce Serious Offending (pdf, 56 pages)
Authors: Brandon C. Welsh, Mark W. Lipsey, Frederick P. Rivara, J. David Hawkins, Steve Aos, Meghan E. Peel, David Petechuk

PREA Resource Center Adds PREA Standard Interpretive Guidance to FAQ Page

The PREA Resource Center has added PREA standard interpretive guidance, just released from the US Department of Justice (the “Department”), to the PRC website FAQ page. The new guidance includes commentary on the applicability of the standards to different settings, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), contract monitoring, reciprocal audits, and staffing ratios in juvenile facilities. The PRC will continue to update the FAQ page as additional interpretive guidance is issued from the Department.
Click here to access the PREA Resource FAQ page.

Bureau of Justice Assistance Report Shows the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program Funded Approximately $278.4 Million in 2013

This report describes the steps used in the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) formula calculation process and presents summary results of the FY 2013 formula calculations. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 merged two grant programs to establish the JAG program. The Bureau of Justice Assistance administers this program and the Bureau of Justice Statistics calculates the formulas. Funds are distributed to states and localities based on resident population and violent crime data reported to the FBIs Uniform Crime Reporting Program. In total, approximately $278.4 million was allocated for the FY 2013 JAG awards.


  • The total allocation for the 2013 JAG funding was approximately $278.4 million, of which $271.5 million went to states and $6.9 million to territories and the District of Columbia.
  • The five states with the largest total state allocations included California ($30.8 million), Texas ($21.4 million), Florida ($18.0 million), New York ($15.4 million), and Illinois ($11.2 million).
  • A total of 1,541 local governments were eligible for awards, either directly or through a joint award with other governments within their county. The five local governments eligible to receive the largest awards included New York City ($4.0 million), Chicago ($2.7 million), Philadelphia ($1.8 million), Houston ($1.7 million), and Los Angeles ($1.7 million).
  • Three states had around 100 or more local governments eligible to receive award funds either directly or through a shared award: California (221), Florida (126), and Texas (94).

Click here for the BJS 2013 JAG report.

Vera Releases Review of Practice, Policy, and Research Opportunities in Community Corrections

Ongoing budget deficits, overcrowded prisons, and stubbornly high recidivism rates have challenged states to rethink decades of responding to crime with an increased reliance on incarceration. Governors and legislators have begun to pay attention to the substantial body of evidence that shows how the careful use of community corrections—which encompasses probation, parole, and pretrial supervision—has the potential to change individual lives, help make communities safer, and reduce public costs. But this current focus could be a missed opportunity if policymaking is not well-informed and accompanied by upfront investment in capacity building.

With The Potential of Community Corrections to Improve Safety and Reduce Incarceration, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections provides an overview of the state of community corrections, the transformational practices emerging in the field (including those in need of further research), and recommendations to policymakers on realizing the full value of community supervision to taxpayers and communities.

Click here for the Full Report.  Click here for the Fact Sheet.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Key Department of Justice Programs

On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) approved the fiscal year 2014 bill that funds Department of Justice (DOJ) programs. The bill funds DOJ at $26.3 billion, a decrease of $720 million (3 percent) from the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.

The bill included $55 million for the Second Chance Act, the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (created by the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, or MIOTCRA) received $7.5 million, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative received $25 million, including funding for a task force on federal corrections spending. The robust funding provided for Justice Reinvestment programs reflects continued congressional support for programs that address rising corrections costs and increasing prison and jail populations.

The bill also provides $75 million for a comprehensive school safety initiative to be developed by the National Institute of Justice.

Committee approval is only the first step in the appropriations process. The appropriations bills must be passed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as the full House and Senate.  The Senate plans to release their fiscal year 2014 CJS appropriations bill later this month.

A funding summary of key programs:

IJIS Institute Releases Justice Information Sharing Pre-Request for Proposals Toolkit

The IJIS Institute—a nonprofit organization that focuses on mission-critical information sharing for justice, public safety, and homeland security—is pleased to announce the third edition of the Pre-RFP Toolkit. The Toolkit is available from the IJIS Institute website at no charge and is intended to assist the practitioner community in planning for successful justice information system integration.

Click here for the full Press Release.  Click here for the Pre-RFP Toolkit link.

New Database Shows Ramifications of Conviction

Criminal conviction comes with a host of sanctions and disqualifications that can place unanticipated burdens on former offenders who reenter society and try to lead lives as productive citizens. Many of the restrictions affect employment opportunities and deny access to services, such as student loans, housing, contracting and other forms of participation in civic life.

These “collateral consequences” can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to get a job and pay taxes. They are also notoriously difficult to track down and understand.

The latest article in the NIJ Journal describes a new interactive Web site that makes it easier for judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, probation officers and social workers to be aware of and take into consideration the restrictions offenders will have when they complete their sentence.

The collateral consequences Web site was developed by the American Bar Association with funding from the National Institute of Justice.

Click here for National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction Web site.

Improving the Future for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Last year, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Agriculture, the Social Security Administration, along with other federal agencies joined forces and created the Children of Incarcerated Parents Working Group.  Through this intergovernmental workgroup, lead by the Domestic Policy Council, the White House has worked with partners across the federal government to identify opportunities to support these children and their caregivers.  A toolkit was developed for child welfare agencies, federal prisons and residential reentry centers to address issues faced by incarcerated parents.

Free materials are being distributed to these stakeholders, which have been developed by one of the best, beloved sources of early childhood development:  Sesame Workshop.  Sesame Workshop has created a new outreach initiative called Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration, to help children with incarcerated parents obtain the necessary tools to help evolve their coping skills and to better express themselves at a time in their lives when communication is key.  These tools include multimedia, bilingual (English/Spanish) materials targeting young children of incarcerated parents, their families and caregivers, and the range of other professionals who interact with these children.

Click here for a flyer outlining the Sesame Workshop initiative.
Click here to link to the online activities toolkit.

Vera Institute of Justice Guide - Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice

Demonstrating that a program accomplishes its stated goals is increasingly important for social service organizations—funders and clients want to see the evidence of successful outcomes. Although a full-scale evaluation can be a costly and overwhelming goal, adopting the information-gathering and self-reflective approaches that lead up to an evaluation can strengthen an agency’s focus and procedural consistency. As part of the MacArthur Foundation Models for Change initiative, the Vera Institute of Justice created this guide, which describes the process that assesses whether a program qualifies as evidence based—which often determines an organization’s funding and the growth of its client pool—and explains how programs can prepare to be evaluated.  Click here to download the guide.

New Justice and Health Connect Website Launched

New Vera website helps public health and justice agencies coordinate information to improve health care.  Iowa Director John Baldwin represented the ASCA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee on the working group that developed this exciting new resource.

People involved in the criminal justice system have significantly higher rates of behavioral and physical health problems than the general population. For example, the rate of serious mental illness among incarcerated persons is estimated to be more than three times higher than in the general population. Adding to these challenges is the fact that these persons and others involved in justice systems have limited access to healthcare both inside facilities and in the communities to which they are released. A historical lack of coordination between justice and health agencies exacerbates these issues even further. Consequently, people with drug and alcohol use disorders, mental illness, and other chronic diseases routinely fail to get the treatment that they need. Research shows that increasing access to treatment can address health disparities, reduce costs, and lower re-arrest rates.

To help close this communication gap, and increase information sharing between justice and health authorities, The Vera Institute of Justice’s Substance Use and Mental Health Program (SUMH) today launched the Justice and Health Connect (JH Connect) website This initiative was made possible with support from the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), which promotes information sharing solutions for state, local, and tribal authorities. To that end, JH Connect provides a series of resources, with the aim of increasing agencies’ abilities to share data between behavioral health and justice systems in a confidential, legal, and ethical way. The goal is to better serve people with behavioral and other health needs who come into contact with justice systems.

The website includes a wide range of materials, including a toolkit for designing information sharing initiatives, an extensive resource library, policy briefs, legal memos, templates, and webinars. The materials are designed for diverse audiences and jurisdictions. These resources will offer guidance on the type of data exchanges that are legally permissible, outline their potential ethical pitfalls, and highlight promising practices that maximize benefits to clients while reducing costs.

Click here for the full press release announcing the website launch.
Click here to access the new Vera JH Connect website.

PREA Webinar: Audit Instrument Introduction Archive

The PREA Resource Center held a webinar on the newly released PREA Audit Instrument on June 13, 2013.  During this webinar, participants received an introduction to the audit instrument including an explanation of compliance measures; and how the instruments were developed, tested and finalized. Information was also provided about the audit cycle beginning August 20, 2013. The webinar concluded with a question and answer session.

Because of the interest in the webinar and limited available space, many were not able to attend the webinar.  The PREA Resource Center has provided a PDF of the presentation and a link to view an archive of the webinar.

Click here for the PDF presentation.  Click here to view an archive of the webinar.

FCC Proposed Rule Making - Contraband Cell Phones and Managed Access

The Federal Communications Commission proposes rules to encourage the development of multiple technological solutions to combat the use of contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities nationwide.  Click here for a copy of the proposed rules.

Specifically, the Commission proposes rule modifications to facilitate spectrum lease agreements between wireless providers and providers or operators of managed access systems.

The Commission further proposes to require wireless providers to terminate service to a contraband wireless device if an authorized correctional facility official notifies the provider of the presence of the contraband wireless device within the correctional facility.

The Commission seeks comment on these proposals as well as other technological approaches for addressing the problem of contraband wireless device usage in correctional facilities.

Comments are requested by July 18, 2013.

Vera Project: The Impact of Family Visitation in Incarcerated Youth's Behavior and School Performance: Findings from the Families as Partners Project

From February 2010 through March 2013, Vera’s Family Justice Program partnered with the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) on the Families as Partners project. The work sought to promote better outcomes for incarcerated youth by helping staff draw on youth’s families as a source of material and emotional support, encouraging visits and correspondence between youth and their families, and increasing family involvement in youth’s treatment and reentry plans. DYS is the first agency to implement Vera’s Juvenile Relational Inquiry Tool, which helps staff identify youth’s family and social support. The research component of the project looked at associations between family support and outcomes for youth during their incarceration. This brief summarizes the findings.  Click here to download the brief.

Karol Mason Sworn in as Assistant Attorney General for OJP

Karol Mason was nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs by President Barack Obama on February 13, 2013. Her appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 2013. As head of the Office of Justice Programs, she oversees an annual budget of more than $2 billion dedicated to supporting state, local, and tribal criminal justice agencies; an array of juvenile justice programs; a wide range of research, evaluation, and statistical efforts; and comprehensive services for crime victims.

Ms. Mason previously served the Department of Justice as Deputy Associate Attorney General. At DOJ her primary responsibilities were to oversee the Tax Division and the grant making components: the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. In a cross-department initiative to address criminal justice issues in New Orleans, she led a team of representatives from each of the Department's grant components, as well as the Civil Rights Division, the Office of U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the DEA and the Community Relations Service. She led Attorney General Holder's Defending Childhood Initiative, and helped create its Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, bringing in the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services as partners. Ms. Mason was responsible for the implementation of the Combined Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), which consolidates all of the Justice Department's tribal grants under a single solicitation.

Prior to her federal government service, Ms. Mason practiced law at the Atlanta law firm of Alston & Bird, where she concentrated on public and project finance, chaired the firm's public finance group, and served on its management committee.

Ms. Mason received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was note editor for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. She received her A.B. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was named the Distinguished Young Alumna in 1991. She served as a member of the university's board of trustees from 2001 to 2009, and received the school's Distinguished Service Medal in 2010. Among her many other honors is a Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the Department of Justice, awarded by Attorney General Eric Holder in 2011.

Screening for Risk of Sexual Victimization and for Abusiveness - Guidline Document

The Vera Institute of Justice has created a guideline document for screening for risk of sexual victimization and for abusiveness.  The document discusses administration of the screening instruments and use of screening information to inform housing decisions.

Community Service Providers and Federal Funding Guideline Document

Just Detention International has developed a guideline document to explain the nuances of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding streams - including relevant applicability and restrictions to the provision of comprehensive victim services to inmate victims of sexual abuse.

Correctional Healthcare: Financial Incentives for Using Electronic Health Records

The 2009 Recovery Act included an Electronic Health Record incentive program known as the HITECH Act.  The HITECH Act incentivizes hospitals and providers to meaningfully use electronic health records for Medicaid and Medicare patients. 

Previously, providers who practiced in prisons and jails were not eligible to receive incentive payments because eligibility requirements stated that demonstrating a Medicaid patient volume of 30 percent needed those encounters to be paid encounters.  However, in August 2012, a new regulation was published, meaningful Use Stage 2, and the requirement is now that providers need to have 30 percent of their encounters be with Medicaid enrolled patients, as opposed to paid encounters.

This small change means that providers who are seeing Medicaid enrolled inmates in prisons and jails can now count those patients towards their patient volume and as a result make them eligible for the incentive payments.  If the correctional facility is in a state that currently provides Medicaid services to childless adults or that in 2014 has chosen to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act in 2014 and the state "suspends" Medicaid eligibility rather than terminates when the p[person is incarcerated, it is possible that there could be a significant number of prison and jail health care providers who would be eligible to receive the EHR incentive payment.  The Medicaid enrollment status of female inmates with children should also be determined as providers in some women's prisons might be eligible already.

Click here for more information about the HITECH Act and correctional eligibility.

The Implications of the Affordable Care Act on People Involved with the Criminal Justice System

 “This brief provides an overview of the implications of the ACA [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] for adults involved with the criminal justice system, as well as information about how professionals in the criminal justice field can help this population access the services now available to them” (p. 1). Sections of this publication cover: the opportunity to increase access to community health for offenders by removing financial barriers to obtaining health insurance; what ACA means to people involved with the criminal justice system—the range of provisions relevant for offenders; the “individual mandate” of ACA—the prescribed minimum level of health insurance; and the role of criminal justice agencies—determine eligibility, facilitate enrollment, and collaboration. The preparation of Illinois for the newly eligible correctional population for Medicaid is also highlighted.  Click here to link to the report.

PREA Standards Audit Tool for Jails and Prisons Released

The PREA Resource Center (PRC) has announced the release of the audit instrument for the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) PREA Standards for Prisons and Jails.

Click here to access the entire instrument.

The instrument includes a process map, a checklist of documentation, a pre-audit questionnaire, the auditor’s compliance tool, instructions for the auditor’s facility tour, six interview protocols for staff and inmates/detainees, and a template for the auditor’s final report. In addition, the PRC has released a handbook for facilities with each of the standards and the full set of corresponding compliance measures to accompany the audit instrument.
In June 2013, the PRC will train the first group of auditors to be certified by the DOJ and prepared to audit facilities by the beginning of the first audit cycle: August 20, 2013. Participation in this training is by invitation only; future trainings will be open to all qualified individuals via an application process. Details about the application process and required qualifications will be posted on the PRC website when available.
The PRC will be hosting a webinar to explain the instrument and the auditing process on Thursday, June 13, 2013, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (EDT).
Click here to learn more. Click here to register.
The PRC is working with the DOJ to finalize the audit instrument for the PREA Standards for Juvenile Facilities, which will be available sometime in early summer of 2013. The audit instruments for PREA Standards for Community Confinement Facilities and Lockups will be in development this summer and available in the fall of 2013.

Reducing Recidivism and Curbing Corrections Costs

Acting Assistant Attorney General for OJP Mary Lou Leary issued the following statement about the recently released report Lessons from the States: Reducing Recidivism and Curbing Corrections Costs Through Justice Reinvestment.

We are very pleased to announce the results of an important report from the Department of Justice and the Council of State Governments (CSG), highlighting 17 states that have successfully cut corrections costs while reducing recidivism and improving public safety. As you may know, over the past 20 years, state spending on corrections has shot up from $12 billion in 1988 to more than $52 billion in 2011. Declining state revenues and other fiscal factors are straining many states’ criminal justice systems, often putting concerns about the bottom line in competition with public safety.

This new report, Lessons from the States: Reducing Recidivism and Curbing Corrections Costs Through Justice Reinvestment, summarizes the experiences of states participating in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) and shows that evidence-based strategies can improve public safety and reduce recidivism, even in an era of reduced resources.

The initiative analyzed statewide crime and corrections data, looking for ways to help officials redirect public funds from expensive prison building projects to more cost-effective programs aimed at ensuring greater public safety.  Based on these analyses, states have put in place legislation and policies which encourage use of risk-based decision making, increase services and support for victims, target grants to law enforcement and establish state-wide standards and training for probation agencies.

In North Carolina and Ohio, for example, JRI analyses led to legislation that focuses resources on high-risk offenders and conserves prison space for the most serious criminals.  Kentucky enacted a law that requires 75 percent of state supervision and treatment expenditures to be evidence-based by 2016.  An analysis in Hawaii found deficiencies in the collection of restitution for crime victims and prompted the state to revise its restitution collection infrastructure.

Through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, we’re helping state leaders become smarter and tougher on crime and employ data and research to wisely use scarce resources. This approach has shown that states don’t have to choose between safe communities and fiscal solvency.  Both are possible.

Click here for the report and click here to find more information on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

NIC News - Spotlights Motivational Interviewing Resources

It’s all about opening communication. It’s all about opening a pathway for the potential for change. It’s all about trying an alternative interaction style with offenders in the appropriate situation.

Motivational Interviewing Basics

Motivational Interviewing (MI) emerged out of the health/mental health services and substance abuse treatment milieu of the 1980’s. In those areas, it is an evidence-based practice used to address, and hopefully overcome, ambivalence toward personal change. It is not treatment, but it can get patients, clients, and offenders ready to achieve positive outcomes based on their own motivation, which can include readiness for treatment and life change. Some might call it a counseling technique, communication method, or a conversational style that is applied in the proper circumstances to tip the balance toward change and away from ambivalence for those experiencing problems in their lives. A key is listening for “change talk”, and to reinforce it whether it has to do with weight loss, quitting smoking, addressing substance abuse problems in the health/mental health care and addiction field, or, in terms of the criminal justice system and corrections, wanting to address issues that led to and facilitated criminal behavior and lifestyle.

Central to it all is the transfer of the motivation to change from the agent/officer/counselor to the offender so that it is client-based, not officer-based, motivation. This can involve a mindset adjustment in corrections professionals where previously the primary tools applied might have been confrontation, authority, surveillance, control, suspicion, and autocratic direction to now allowing a conversation to flow that internalizes the motivation to change in the offender/client. It is not used all the time, nor at any time, but at the right time.

Click here for more information about Motivational Interviewing and a list of resources from NIC and others

New Report Highlights Lessons Learned by Law Enforcement Agencies in Establishing a Successful Prisoner Reentry Program

The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) released a new report today, Lessons Learned: Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy. Created with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the report highlights how four law enforcement agencies engaged in local-level reentry partnerships in order to reduce crime and increase public safety in their jurisdictions. These four “learning sites” featured in the report applied strategies outlined in the Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy toolkit released by the CSG Justice Center and the COPS office in 2008, which focuses on ten key elements of creating a local reentry initiative.
In addition to today’s release of the Lessons Learned publication, an interactive assessment tool will be launched that is a companion to the original Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy toolkit. This online tool allows local sites to assess and plan improvements to their current reentry practices. Housed on the CSG Justice Center website, this tool will be accessible to law enforcement, corrections staff, community corrections professionals, and faith- and community-based services providers who are interested in assessing their current reentry projects and building on law enforcement and community partnerships focused on reentry strategies.
“Law enforcement professionals are uniquely positioned to engage their community policing networks of service providers who can help address the needs of those individuals returning from prison or jail,” said COPS Office Acting Director Joshua Ederheimer. “We are pleased by the commitment of these law enforcement executives in the four jurisdictions represented in this report, as they have served as solid examples for the field how local law enforcement can be important partners in the community reentry strategies focused on reducing recidivism, and improving public safety.”
In an effort to expand the knowledge base for law enforcement agencies interested in starting or enhancing a reentry effort, the CSG Justice Center selected four agencies to serve as “learning sites” that would implement recommendations and proposed strategies outlined in the law enforcement reentry toolkit. The four agencies that were selected and whose progress is featured in this report include:

  • The Las Vegas (Nevada) Metropolitan Police Department,
  • The Metropolitan (Washington, D.C.) Police Department,
  • The Muskegon County (Michigan) Sheriff’s Department, and
  • The White Plains (New York) Police Department.

Click here for more information about the four jurisdictions' challenges and their progress highlighted in the new report.

New online community for Law Enforcement, Courts and Corrections Hosted by NLECTC

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System recently launched JUST-Link, an online community for cops, courts and corrections. This secure forum is invitation-only, moderated by NLECTC, and designed to share ideas, technologies and solutions.

Those eligible to apply for a JUST-Link account are any federal, state or local unit of government, or an Indian tribe or special district (e.g. airports, schools) authorized by law or by a government agency to engage in, or supervise, the prevention, detection, investigation or adjudication of any violation of criminal law, or authorized by law to supervise criminal offenders. Here’s how to apply: Submit a request on agency letterhead to Include a designated point of contact (name, rank/title, mailing address and phone/fax/email) who is eligible to post information on JUST-Link on the agency’s behalf. Once the information is verified, you will receive a password to participate in the forum.

Questions? Submit them to and an NLECTC staff member will contact you. Sign up for a JUST-Link account today. Your peers are waiting to talk to you.

Working Effectively with Children of the Incarcerated, Their Parents and Caregivers

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has developed video training modules, "Working Effectively with Children of the Incarcerated, their Parents and Caregivers," designed to help social workers and other social service providers understand the particular needs of families with an incarcerated parent and learn effective practices in working with children of the incarcerated, their parents and caregivers.

Click here to link to the Washington DSHS web site for the video series.

Departments of Justice and Labor Announce Availability of $32 Million in Grant to Help Formerly Incarcerated Juveniles and Women Prepare to Enter the Workforce

The Departments of Justice and Labor today announced the availability of approximately $32 million through two grant competitions that will offer job training, education and support services to formerly incarcerated youths and women.  
“Expanding access to job training programs and educational opportunities is a proven strategy for reducing recidivism and preventing crime,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “By supporting efforts to help formerly incarcerated women and young adults rebuild their lives – and become productive, law-abiding members of their communities – the Departments of Justice and Labor are making good on our shared commitment to improving outcomes and ensuring public safety.”
“We are a country that believes in second chances,” said Department of Labor Acting Secretary Seth D. Harris. “Job training offers opportunities to learn skills and reshape lives. The grants announced today will provide critical support for women and young people who are eager for employment and a productive role in their communities.”

Click here for the full Justice Department press release.

Changing Behavior of Drug-Involved Offenders: Supervision That Works Seminar

The National Institute of Justice has posted a recorded of the NIJ Research for the Real World Seminar "Changing the Behavior of Drug-Involved Offenders: Supervision That Works."  The seminar was presented on December 18, 2012, by Angela Hawken, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics and Policy Analysis, Pepperdine University, and Mark Kleiman, Ph.D.Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles.

About the Seminar
A small number of offenders who are heavily involved in drugs commit a large portion of the crime in this country. An evaluation of a "smart supervision" effort in Hawaii that uses swift and certain sanctioning showed that heavily involved drug offenders can indeed change their behavior when the supervision is properly implemented.

Drs. Angela Hawken and Mark Kleiman evaluated Hawaii's swift and certain supervision program, more commonly referred to as Hawaii HOPE. They discussed what they learned and how the principles of HOPE are being applied elsewhere.

They discussed, for example, the kinds of offenders who are now being supervised under HOPE-style programs in Hawaii and on the mainland. They also discussed the important unanswered research questions, such as: the psychological mechanisms that underlie the dramatic behavior changes, the minimum effective sanction, whether sanctions should escalate, and when revocation is appropriate. They also discussed the wider implications for juveniles, alcoholics, pretrial releases and prisoners, as well as the appropriate role of the federal government.

Click here to watch the seminar.
Read the transcript of the event.

Pew Center on the States - State of the States 2013

From politics and budgets to health care, social issues, and the environment, state legislatures have much to debate in the year ahead. What will states accomplish in 2013?  It's complicated: Nationwide, states have been bounding ahead of – and directly challenging – the federal government on key and substantive issues, leaving behind questions over supremacy, authority, and jurisdiction.

Pew Center on the States presents a report on the issues facing states in 2013 and the sometimes conflicting agendas with the federal government.  Click here for the PEW Center on the States - State of the States 2013.

The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs Supports Reentry Efforts

The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs has two programs targeting support of justice involved veterans returning to the community. 

  • Health care for Re-entry Veterans - HCRV provides prison outreach and reentry support.  The program provides:
    • Outreach and pre-release assessment services for veterans in prison
    • Referral and linkages to medical, psychiatric, and social services, including employment services upon release
    • Short term case management assistance upon release

Click here to link to the V.A. HCRV Program web page.

  • Veterans Justice Outreach - VJO provides support at the front end of the justice continuum including jail outreach, education of and liason with law enforcement, and linkage and staffing of treatment courts.

    Click here
    to link to the V.A. VJO Program web page.

In addition to these two programs, the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs has recently made available a video entitled "Suits: Support for Incarcerated Veterans" to be used in correctional facilities as a resource in preparing Veterans returning to the community.

Click here to link to the "Suits" video.

Proposed Department of Homeland Security Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Assault in Confinement Facilities

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to issue regulations setting standards to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and assault in DHS confinement facilities.  The standards were released December 6, 2012 and a sixty-day public comment period is open.

Comments and related material must either be submitted to our online docket via on or before 11:59 p.m. on [INSERT DATE 60 DAYS FROM DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER] or reach the Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier address listed below in ADDRESSES by that date.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by DHS Docket No. ICEB-2012-0003, by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for the following is the text of the proposed rule that the Secretary signed on December 6, 2012, and that the Department has sent to the Federal Register for publication. The Federal Register will publish the official version of this documents submitting comments.
  • Mail: Office of Policy; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security; Potomac Center North, 500 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20536; Contact Telephone Number (202) 732-4292. To ensure proper handling, please reference DHS Docket No. ICEB-2012-0003 on your correspondence.
  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Office of Policy; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security; Potomac Center North, 500 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20536; Telephone: (202) 732-4292 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

To avoid duplication, please use only one of these three methods. See the “Public Participation” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments.

Alexander Y. Hartman, Office of Policy; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security; Potomac Center North, 500 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20536; Telephone: (202) 732-4292 (not a toll-free number).

Click here for the Department of Homeland Security proposed PREA rules.  Click here for the DHS Press Release.

Bridging the Correctional Education Information Gap: Lessons Learned from Piloting a Voluntary Correctional Education Data Collection System

D. Lee, D. Giever, M. Tolbert, and L. Rasmussen, 2012
This report summarizes the findings from a pilot of the revised Correctional Education Data Guidebook and a secure online data collection system. It provides an overview of the project's history and pilot activities, presents information about correctional education drawn from the pilot states' data, and describes the pilot states' experiences collecting and submitting data and the lessons learned from the pilot.
Click here for the report.
Click here to visit the Correctional Education Data Network website.

Current Female Correctional Administrators Get Together at AWEC

The five current female Correctional Administrators met during the Association of Women Executives in Corrections (AWEC) conference in Little Rock, Arkansas in September. 

l-r: New York City Commissioner Dora Schriro; Kentucky Commissioner LaDonna Thompson; North Dakota Director Leann Bertsch; North Carolina Chief Deputy Jennie Lancaster; Oregon Director Colette Peters.

CSG Justice Center Releases New Report on State Reductions in Recidivism

On September 25th, 2012 the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center’s National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) released a policy brief highlighting a number of states that are reporting significant reductions in recidivism. The states profiled in the report show significant declines in their three-year recidivism rates based on data tracking individuals released from prison in 2005 and 2007. Texas and Ohio reported reductions of 11 percent, while the Kansas rate fell by 15 percent and Michigan’s rate dropped by 18 percent. Incorporating data through 2010 (and in some cases, through 2011), the report provides some of the most recent data available for statewide three-year recidivism rates.
Click here for the full NRRC Press Release.
Click here for the policy brief.

CSG Report: Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has released Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery. The report is written for policymakers, administrators, and service providers committed to improving outcomes for the large number of adults with mental health and substance use disorders that cycle through the criminal justice system. It introduces an evidence-based framework for prioritizing scarce resources based on assessments of individuals’ risk of committing a future crime and their treatment and support needs. The report also outlines the principles and practices of the substance abuse, mental health, and corrections systems and proposes a structure for state and local agencies to build collaborative responses.

The report introduces a framework that can be used at the corrections and behavioral health systems level to prioritize scarce resources based on objective assessments of individuals’ risk of committing a future crime and their treatment and support needs. The report on the Criminogenic Risk and Behavioral Health Needs Framework was supported by the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It was developed in partnership with the

  • Association of State Correctional Administrators,
  • National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors,
  • National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors,
  • American Probation and Parole Association, and other organizations and national experts.

“NIC recognizes the care of inmates with mental health and/or substance abuse diagnoses as a top priority for the nation’s correctional systems. Our support of the framework is indicative of the need for corrections to have comprehensive tools that guide practitioners through effective decision making, program planning, and treatment. The framework is one of many methods and processes that will aid in this endeavor. NIC is pleased to be part of these efforts,” said Director Morris Thigpen.
The framework white paper and summary, a FAQ, link to the press release, and other resources can be  found at

A webinar will be held October 2, 2012 to introduce the framework and how it can be used. Click here for information and a registration link. 

The report and related materials were supported by the National Institute of Corrections, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They were developed in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, the American Probation and Parole Association, and other organizations and national experts. Single hard copies can be ordered while supplies last from NCJRS (, NCJ# 239596).

National Symposium on the Use of Restraints on Pregnant Women Behind Bars

The National Symposium on the Use of Restraints on Pregnant Women Behind Bars was convened on November 22, 2010 in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, in partnership with the Rebecca Project for Human Rights. The Symposium was planned – along with staff from the Rebecca Project – and facilitated by the Center for Effective Public Policy and was designed to promote awareness and advance a national dialogue that will inform future reform initiatives. The Symposium was attended by a broad range of stakeholders and interested parties including criminal justice policymakers, practitioners, and representatives; medical experts; human rights advocates; and other key stakeholders. This paper is designed to frame the issues that emerged, highlight key discussion points and recommendations offered by Symposium participants, and identify specific steps interested parties have agreed to take to advance dialogue and action in this area.

Click here for the report from the November 22, 2010 National Symposium of the Use of Restraints on Pregnant Women Behind Bars.

BJA Welcomes Kristen Mahoney

Kristen Mahoney being sworn in
on July 9, 2012

BJA is excited to announce that Kristen Mahoney was sworn in as the new Deputy Director for Policy on July 9. Kristen most recently served as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention for the State of Maryland and as President of the National Criminal Justice Association. She is a longtime friend of BJA and a champion of state, local, and tribal efforts to improve criminal justice in communities across the country. She brings tremendous knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to her new position. Kristen has worked with staff in BJA’s Programs, Planning, and Policy Offices and PSOB for a number of years, and understands the importance of BJA’s work to the communities we serve. Kristen has also served as Chief of the Technical Services Division of the Baltimore Police Department, as a Senior Policy Advisor in the COPS Office, and as the State Administrative Agent for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds for many years. She has worked at the local, state, and federal levels of government and brings a wealth of leadership and criminal justice policy experience to BJA. Kristen is looking forward to working with all of our partners in the field!  ASCA welcomed Kristen Mahoney's attendance during our recent Committee and Business Meeting in Denver, CO.

BJA Releases Guidlines for Use of Second Chance Act Funds

BJA has released "Allowable Uses for Second Chance Act Program Grant Funds." These guidelines have been issued to inform Second Chance Act grant recipients that a wide range of legal services may be an appropriate use of funds where those services further the Second Chance Act's purpose.

National Resource Center for Justice Involved Women

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, in partnership with the National Institute of Corrections, has established the National Resource Center on Justice- Involved Women (NRCJIW) to address the needs of adult women involved in the criminal justice system. The NRCJIW provides guidance and support to justice professionals – and promote evidence-based, gender- responsive policies and practices – to reduce the number and improve the outcomes of women involved in the criminal justice system.

The NRCJIW provides training and technical assistance to criminal justice professionals working with justice-involved women, serves as a clearinghouse for model policies and practical tools, and provides a referral source for information, research, and subject matter experts.

The NRCJIW is now accepting applications for technical assistance in targeted practice areas. To apply for technical assistance, or to access more information about the NRCJIW and the resources and documents offered under this initiative, visit:

Photos from the National Forum on Recidivism

The National Forum on Recidivism was held in Washington D.C. on December 8, 2011 that included policymakers from all 50 states to focus on improving success rates for people released from prison. The event positioned states to set goals, or to expand on existing goals, for reducing recidivism through cost-effective strategies in their communities.  Click here for photos from the event and photos of representatives from states that participated in the event.

Remembering Associate Member Edward Cohn

ASCA Associate Member Ed Cohn, 73, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Indianapolis, IN on December 19, 2011.

Ed's long and distinguished career in Corrections began in 1965 as a parole agent in the Gary District office. In 1971 he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of the Indiana Boys' School and in 1977 he was promoted to Asst. Supt. of the Indiana State Prison. He was Superintendent of the Indiana State Farm and in 1985 was promoted to Superintendent at the Indiana Reformatory. He finished his career as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, retiring in 2001. He then served as Director of the National Major Gang Task Force for 9 years. He was a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Correctional Association, Association of State Correctional Administrators, Indiana Correctional Association, National Institute of Justice, the Swiss Institute of Criminology, and Special Olympics Indiana.

Click here for the full Ed Cohn Obituary.

Congress Restores Funding for Second Chance Act

On Monday, November 14, 2011, House and Senate conferees released the “minibus” appropriations report, which includes Fiscal Year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) spending. The conference report, a consolidated appropriations bill for several agencies including the Department of Justice, provides $63 million for the Second Chance Act.

The compromise appropriations bill resolves differences in Second Chance Act funding between the House, which allotted $70 million for the program, and the Senate, which provided no funding. The bill is expected to go to the full House and Senate for consideration this week.

"The Second Chance Act is having a tremendous impact nationally. It has changed the way state and local leaders think about prisoner reentry and it's demonstrating how we can reduce recidivism, which not too long ago many thought was impossible. Continued funding is a victory for every community seeking to increase public safety and to help families and neighborhoods receiving people released from prison and jail," commented Justin Jones, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

The bill provides $2.2 billion for state and criminal justice programs, including:

  • $63 million for Second Chance Act programs;
  • $9 million for Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act programs;
  • $470 million for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants;
  • $6 million for comprehensive criminal justice reform and recidivism reduction efforts by states, also known as Justice Reinvestment;
  • $35 million for drug courts;
  • $10 million for residential substance abuse treatment programs;
  • $20 million for Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act programs;
  • $12.5 million for prison rape prevention and prosecution, and other programs.

In addition, the package contains a continuing resolution that funds other federal operations until December 16, 2011 – or until Congress completes the remaining nine FY 2012 appropriations bills.

Click here to see the legislative text approved by the conferees.  To read the conference report, click here.

Senate Eliminates Second Chance Act Funding

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee eliminated funding for the Second Chance Act in the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill. In contrast, the House Appropriations Committee provided $70 million in their FY12 funding bill. (The Second Chance program was originally funded at $100 million in FY 2010, but that was reduced to $83 million in 2011). Although no funding for Second Chance was included in the bill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy pledged to work to restore funding when the House and Senate Appropriations Committees attempt to resolve differences between the two spending bills.

The bill also provides $9 million for the Mentally Ill Offender Act (the legislation that authorizes the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program) for FY12. Overall it provides $2.3 billion for state and local law enforcement programs, including:

$9 million for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act
$0 million for the Second Chance Act
$395 million for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants
$21 million for Byrne Competitive Grants
$35 million for Drug Courts
$10 million for Residential Substance Abuse Treatment

Status of Federal Appropriations

FY 12 President's Request
FY12 House Bill
FY 12 Senate Bill
Second Chance Act
$100 mil $83 mil $100 mil $70 mil $0
Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Program
$12 mil $9.6 mil $0 $9.9 mil $9 mil
Justice Reinvestment
$10 mil $8.3 mil $0 $6 mil $0

Committee approval is only the first step in the appropriations process. The appropriations bills must be passed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as the full House and Senate.

Click here
for the summary of the legislation approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Click here for the bill report language.

Get Involved Today — Help Restore Second Chance Act Funding
Members of Congress need to hear from you immediately about the importance of Second Chance Act funding.

How You Can Help

  • Please contact your members of Congress (link to sample letter) and ask them to support funding for the Second Chance Act in FY 2012.
  • Sign the national sign-on letter in support of Second Chance Act funding.
  • Share this information and ask your colleagues and friends to help protect funding for the Second Chance Act.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Second Chance Reauthorization Act

On July 21, 2011 the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 1231, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2011, authored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rob Portman (R-OH). The bill provides resources to state and local governments, as well as community-based organizations, to improve the success rates for people released from prison and jail. The committee reported out the bill on a 10 to 8 party line vote.

The bill extends the original grant program authorized by the Second Chance Act for an additional five years while also improving and consolidating certain provisions. S. 1231 provides planning and implementation support for key reentry grantees; creates an incentive for federal inmates to participate in recidivism reduction programming; and repeals several programs that have not been funded or implemented.

During mark-up, committee members accepted several amendments. These amendments support a study of duplicative programs to ensure that federal dollars are spent in a cost effective manner; promote enhanced accountability measures for grantees by requiring periodic audits; require that nonprofit grantees do not hide money in offshore accounts; and promote transparency around compensation for nonprofit executives.

"There are currently more than two million people in jail or prison in the United States, and more than 13 million people spend some time in jail or prison each year. The Second Chance Act recognizes that most of these people will at some point return to our communities," said Senator Leahy. "I believe strongly in securing tough and appropriate prison sentences for people who break our laws. But it is also important that we do everything we can to ensure that when these people get out of prison, they reenter our communities as productive members of society."

Committee approval is only the first step in the legislative process. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

House Appropriations Committee Includes $70 million for the Second Chance Act

On Wednesday, July 13, 2011, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which provides $70 million for Second Chance Act Programs. The bill, which contains $50.2 billion in total budget authority, provides $1.04 billion for state and local law enforcement programs, including:

  • $9.96 million for Mentally Ill Offender Act (JMCHP)
  • $357 million for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants 

  • $6 million for Byrne Competitive Grants
  • $40 million for Drug Courts
  • $12 million for Prison Rape Prevention and Prosecution 

  • $15 million for Residential Substance Abuse Treatment

Committee approval is only the first step in the appropriations process. The appropriations bills must be passed by both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as the full House and Senate.

Click here for the text of the legislation approved by the Appropriations Committee.
Click here for the accompanying bill report.

Senators Leahy and Portman Hold Press Conference with State Corrections Leaders on Recidivism and the Second Chance Act

Washington, D.C., July 13th —Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) met with state corrections heads from around the country in the nation’s capitol today to discuss prisoners returning to communities and recidivism reduction. The corrections leaders lauded Leahy and Portman for the introduction of Second Chance Reauthorization Act, S. 1231.

Senator Leahy (VT) speaking with
Senator Portman (OH)

Commissioner Andy Pallito (VT) speaks
at the press conference

Director Gary Mohr (OH) speaks
during the press conference

Click here for a video clip from the press conference.  Click here for another video clip from the press conference

“When Congress passed the Second Chance Act four years ago, we gave needed resources to the states to help improve reentry programs that have proven, positive results,” said Leahy. “I am grateful for the support of those officials on the front lines in the states, developing these important reentry programs, working to promote public safety while helping offenders return to their communities as productive members of society. I know that later this year, these officers and others from around the country will come together to discuss ways that states can help reduce recidivism to improve public safety. This should be a priority on the federal level as well.”

The Second Chance Act provides critical funding for reentry efforts to learn how to effectively integrate the science of risk reduction into reentry efforts and fill gaps in services, which are critical to success. A recent report by the Pew Center on the States showed that 43% of people coming out of prison nationally return within 3 years making recidivism a significant pressure on criminal justice systems.

“By improving prisoner reentry, we can prevent crime, strengthen communities and save taxpayers’ dollars,” said Portman. “The Second Chance Act is making an important contribution to public safety and reducing costs to taxpayers and it should continue. I hope the Committee will move this important legislation to the floor, and I look forward to working with Senator Leahy and others to pass it in the Senate.”

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director, Gary Mohr, has seen first hand the strains that overcrowded prisons place on the state budgets and communities. “Ohio, like many states, has seen prison spending grow by 21% in less than a decade. That’s faster than most other areas in the state budget and puts enormous pressure on taxpayers to foot the bill.” He added: “The Second Chance Act is one of our best hopes for addressing one significant element of prison growth—the cycle of offenders who recidivate and return to prison.”

A.T. Wall, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, pointed to the elements of the Second Chance Act that states are learning from: “This funding helps to focus our efforts on programs that are proven to work. It is not good enough to have a gut feeling that something will change behavior. Second Chance Act programs are based on evidence-based practice to reduce recidivism, which helps us to know where to make public safety investments that will be the most effective.”

Andrew Pallito, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections, was thankful for the introduction of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act: “In Vermont and around the country, we are relying on key leaders here in D.C. to promote and fund programs that help state corrections address the overwhelming challenge of improving prisoner reentry and reducing recidivism. We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Leahy and Portman in advancing this important legislation.”

New BJA Director Sworn in

Denise E. O'Donnell
Director, BJA

Denise E. O'Donnell was sworn in as the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance on June 6, 2011, after being nominated for the post by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate.  Click here for more Information about Denise O'Donnell.