Agency Openings

OJP Job Posting: Program Analyst (Policy Advisor)

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides innovative leadership to federal, state, local, and tribal justice systems, by disseminating state-of-the art knowledge and practices across America, and providing grants for the implementation of these crime fighting strategies. OJP works in partnership with the justice community to identify the most pressing crime-related challenges confronting the justice system and to provide information, training, coordination, and innovative strategies and approaches for addressing these challenges. OJP is seeking results-oriented professionals to join our team and build solutions to address evidence-based, "smart on crime" approaches in criminal and juvenile justice.

This position is located in the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Policy Office and will work with national partners and stakeholders to develop innovative policy, programs, training, and technical assistance that meets the needs of the field. He/She will contribute high value ideas and energy in a dynamic work environment that requires individuals to excel at multi-tasking, completing individual assignments, working as a team member with others representing diverse backgrounds, and thrive on a strong commitment for results. The successful candidate will be responsible for supporting Senior Policy staff in national policy and program development, implementation, and assessment in the area of corrections, and specifically will manage the Prison Rape Elimination Act Grant Program, and BJA¿s employment and housing initiatives for justice-involved populations.

Applications for this position are being processed through an on-line applicant assessment system that has been specifically configured for Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs applicants. Even if you have already developed a resume in USAJOBS, you will need to access this on-line system to complete the application process.

Click here for the job posting.

Senior Associate, Research, Public Safety Performance Project

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.

 

We are an independent nonprofit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.

 

Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments – at the local, state, national and international levels – serving the best interests of the people. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.

 

With offices in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Brussels and London and staff in other regions of the United States as well as Australia, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.

 

Government Performance:

Government Performance (GP), an internal operating division of The Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT), identifies and advances effective policy approaches to critical issues. It researches emerging topics, develops data-driven reports, and highlights innovative approaches to complex problems. When the facts are clear, GP advocates for nonpartisan, pragmatic solutions.

 

GP operates major state and local level initiatives in public pensions, children’s dental health, intensive home visiting/parent mentoring for at-risk families, sentencing and corrections, cost-benefit analysis, state budgeting and tax expenditures, and election reform, among others. GP makes use of the basic tools required to help states and localities explore and advance effective policies, regardless of the issue: credible, timely, and user-friendly research; assessments of public support for change; strategic outreach and dissemination to ensure that good information is widely communicated to decision-makers, media, influential stakeholders, and the public; the capacity to bring together diverse perspectives and find common ground; and the ability to identify and apply approaches that have proven successful elsewhere.

 

Project Description:

The Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP) was launched in 2006 as an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The project helps states advance fiscally sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and control costs. In 2012, PSPP expanded its portfolio to include work in the juvenile corrections system. For more information about this project, visit www.pewpublicsafety.org.

 

Position Overview:

Pew is seeking to hire a senior associate for research whose focus will be on will be on performance measures for the criminal and juvenile justice systems.  The ideal candidate will have an educational and employment background in public policy or a related field, knowledge of the criminal justice system, experience working with state corrections data, and work experience undertaking projects involving many partners, complex issues and extensive writing.

 

The senior associate will be based in Washington, DC and report to a PSPP research manager. It is expected that this position is for a term period through March 31, 2016, with the possibility of an extension pending the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.

 

 

Responsibilities:

In consultation with colleagues across PSPP and Pew, the candidate for this position will:

  • Help identify and refine key performance measures for states engaged in adult and juvenile sentencing and corrections policy reforms, including general measures related to correctional populations, costs, and recidivism, and specific measures related to individual reforms.
  • Collaborate with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and other leading organizations to build consensus around key performance measures and coordinate with existing performance measurement systems and data collection efforts.
  • In selected states, work with policy makers, corrections officials, project partners and others to tailor measures to individual state circumstances, and help develop state capacity to routinely collect and report the measures.
  • Support the design and execution of policy and program evaluations in selected states.
  • Work with project staff to identify the most salient issues for the project’s research agenda. Based on that agenda, produce rigorous and timely research in collaboration with internal staff and external partners.
  • Support the design and execution of national studies that analyze criminal and juvenile justice trends across the states.
  • Support the development of briefs, factsheets, infographics, and other documents that are highly relevant to policy deliberations and easily digested by policy makers, media and the public.
  • Follow quality control processes that ensure all of project research products meet the highest standards of rigor and accuracy.
  • Work closely with communications staff to implement effective dissemination techniques, including written products, online communications strategies, and convenings.
  • Maintain knowledge of criminal justice policy research and practice, including participating in conferences, seminars and professional development activities.
Requirements:

 

  • A Bachelor’s degree is required and advanced degree preferred. Strong quantitative skills and experience with statistical software packages such as SPSS, SAS and/or STATA also preferred.
  • At least five years’ experience in performance measurement or criminal justice research and policy analysis.
  • Experience with state sentencing and corrections data (courts, probation, prison and parole) and experience working directly with state policy makers, corrections officials, researchers and other criminal justice stakeholders is strongly preferred.
  • Experience convening groups of policymakers, researchers, and other professionals, and supporting their efforts to reach consensus and move toward a desired outcome.
  • Ability to express ideas, thoughts and concepts clearly and concisely in a compelling way, both in writing and oral presentation.
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Ability to think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time, remain attentive to details and identify resources for projects. 
  • Acute political awareness and non-partisan perspective and approach.  

 

Travel:

Approximately once or twice per month (on average) to provide assistance to states and attend conferences or meetings.

Discover Corrections Web Site Open

A new web site promoting corrections career choices and providing a resource for both job seekers and corrections agencies recruiting employees is available though funding provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs. 

Click here to link to the Discover Corrections web site.
Click here for the Discover Corrections Overview Video.

News

DC Council of Governments Corrections Wreath Laying and Honor Guard Contests

The Metropolitan Washington, DC Council of Governments Corrections Wreath Laying Ceremony occurred in May 2014.  A contest of honor guards also occurred at the event.

Click here for the wreath laying.
Click here for the honor guard contest.

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.

American Society of Criminology (ASC) - 2014 Practioner Research Award

The Division of Corrections and Sentencing (DCS) is pleased to sponsor an annual award to recognize an outstanding research effort that informs public policy by a researcher or group of researchers who work for a government agency.  Given the focus of the Division, the research must relate to sentencing/ court policy or operations or correctional policy or operations, either institutional or community.  Much of the research conducted in these agencies has significant impact on public policy, but because publication in normal refereed journals is not a priority in most agencies, these works of quality often go unrecognized.  This award is intended to provide a venue to bring some of these excellent efforts to broader recognition.

The author/ chief researcher  of the research would receive up to $500 expense money to attend ASC and be recognized for the work.


Click here for more information about the 2014 Practitioner Research Award.

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.

This year 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.

Champion of Change for Expanding Reentry Employment Opportunities

The White House is seeking nominees for Champions of Change who are working to expand employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals. Honorees will be invited to the White House to celebrate their accomplishments and showcase their actions to support stronger and safer communities.
Nominees may include individuals who are:

  • Providing job opportunities to individuals with a criminal record and/or creating and implementing model screening or hiring policies;
  • Personally demonstrating an exemplary record of employment or entrepreneurial success after incarceration and, in turn, are providing employment opportunities and mentorship to the reentry population;
  • Creating effective education, training, mentoring, and other transitional programs to help individuals with a criminal record improve employment outcomes;
  • Advocating for policy and legislative changes that lead to increased employment opportunities for individuals with a criminal record; and/or
  • Leveraging technology to increase access to employment-related reentry services or education and skills building for individuals with a criminal record.

Nominations are due by noon on Friday, April 4, 2014. Click here to learn more and to nominate an individual.

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.

Culture Shift Revealed in Study of Major Reentry Initiative

The first of a two-part study on the impact of Second Chance Act (SCA) re-entry programs has found that some jurisdictions are moving toward a rehabilitative philosophy when it comes to managing the return of criminal offenders to the community.

Interviewed in a recently released NIJ Journal article, Ron D’Amico, the study’s lead researcher, said the most heartening finding to-date is a “culture shift” from simply enforcing re-entry rules and regulations to a rehabilitative philosophy and an acceptance of evidence-based practices.

One of the goals of the ongoing National Institute of Justice-funded evaluation is to determine whether SCA funding can help achieve fundamental, system-level changes in the face of a sobering U.S. reality where:

  • More than 1.6 million adults were in state and federal prisons in 2010.
  • More than 4.8 million were under community supervision in 2011.
  • 700,000 were released in 2011, four times more than were released 30 years ago.

The first phase of the study looked at 10 state and local agencies (“demonstration sites”) that were among the first in the country to receive funding under the SCA, which was passed with widespread bi-partisan support in 2008 to help criminal offenders successfully return to the community after they are released from prison or jail.

The researchers found three significant system changes in SCA sites: (1) Partnerships are growing; (2) Services are becoming more “holistic;” and (3) There is a cultural shift in thinking about how services are delivered.

The second part of the evaluation will examine specific outcomes of the SCA funding in demonstration sites, particularly the impact of the new reentry programs on recidivism and the programs’ cost-effectiveness. Those findings are due in 2015.

Click here to read the NIJ article.
Click here to watch a video with the lead researcher.
 

NIC Seeks Pilot Site for Core Correctional Interventions Training and Coaching

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) launched the Core Correctional Interventions (CCI) Curriculum project in late 2012. The goal of the project is to produce a curricula series that will provide knowledge and skill development for corrections professionals serving in a variety of capacities. The purpose of the curricula is to equip staff to effectively use strategies demonstrated to be effective in reducing offender risk for re-offense.

The proposed curricula will use blended teaching methods and coaching/feedback. The curricula will be tailored to line corrections staff—both with and without longer-term case management responsibilities—that routinely interact with offenders. In addition, the series includes training for first line supervisors, a train-the-trainers curriculum, as well as a curriculum for in-house staff who will serve as coaches to sustain staff proficiency in the core correctional interventions skills.

NIC seeks to identify a jurisdiction that is interested in pilot testing newly developed training curricula series designed to meet the varying needs of corrections professionals in diverse settings with varying roles and offender management responsibilities.

Eligibility:

Agencies eligible to submit an application for the Core Correctional Interventions Curriculum Pilot Test must, at a minimum, serve a community corrections population. Agencies that serve both an institutional population and a community corrections population are eligible to apply. Eligible agencies can serve adult or a combination of adult and juvenile offenders.

Click here
for Full Announcement and Application Details.

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.

Bureau of Prisons Holds Universal Children's Day

The first weekend in December, the Bureau of Prisons held its first Universal Children's Day. The nationwide event provided an opportunity for inmates to deepen bonds with their visiting children through arts and crafts, worship services, parenting workshops, and other activities. Each institution provided a family toolkit, including parenting tips and materials to help the children understand, express, and cope with feelings about having incarcerated parents. Nearly 8,500 children visited more than 4,000 federal inmates during the event.

Resources:

Learn more
about resources and support for children of incarcerated parents.

Read about federal efforts to support children of incarcerated parents in the September/October issue of OJJDP News @ a Glance.

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.

Corrections Today Article: Performance-Based Management: Improving Outcomes, Enhancing Accountability and Staying Focused on the Goal of Reducing Recidivism

The American Correctional Association's Corrections Today published a feature article from Wyoming Director Robert Lampert discussing the use of Performance Based Measures System as a tool for measuring, verifying and evaluating the goals and objectives established in Performance Based Management. 

Click here to read the Corrections Today Article.

NIJ Publication - Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) Assessment


Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) is a restorative justice-based reentry program for high-risk sex offenders with little or no pro-social support. This report outlines an evaluability assessment of COSA across five sites to clarify program intent, explore program reality, examine program data capacity, analyze program fidelity, and propose potential evaluation designs for future evaluation. The authors conducted site visits to five locations that deliver or intend to deliver COSA programs in the United States: Fresno, CA; Denver, CO; Durham, NC; Lancaster, PA; and Burlington, VT.

During these visits, they interviewed key program personnel and other stakeholders and collected documented material related to COSA policies and procedures. They then analyzed the collected data using a fidelity item measurement tool. The authors identified five potential obstacles to conducting a successful experimental evaluation of COSA: choice of outcomes; significant differences in program implementation; core member selection issues; sample size, site capacity, and low baselines of recidivism; and ownership of data.

Read the Cross-Site Report  of the Evaluability Assessments (pdf, 93 pages).
Also view the individual site reports:
Denver, CO COSA Site Report
(pdf, 27 pages)
Durham, NC COSA Site Report (pdf, 27 pages)
Fresno, CA COSA Site Report (pdf, 30 pages)
Lancaster, PA COSA Site Report (pdf, 26 pages)
Burlington, VT COSA Site Report (pdf, 30 pages)

These reports are the results of NIJ-funded projects but were not published by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ask Members of Congress to Co-sponsor Second Chance Act of 2013

In an extraordinary display of bipartisan cooperation, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), along with Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Danny K. Davis (D-IL) came together to introduce legislation reauthorizing the Second Chance Act, S. 1690/H.R. 3465.

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013, S. 1690/H.R. 3465, extends the prisoner reentry programs for an additional five years, including demonstration grants, mentoring, substance abuse and family-based programming. The bill also expands existing correctional education and employment initiatives, increases the number of grant programs available for nonprofits, and promotes increased accountability from and outcomes for grantees.

Contact your Senators and Congressman TODAY and ask that they cosponsor S. 1690/H.R. 3465, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013.

Please click to read the press releases from Senator Portman's office; from Senator Leahy’s office; and from Congressman Sensenbrenner’s office.
 

ASCA 2013 Current Issues in Corrections Survey

The Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) conducts an annual survey of its membership to identify the current issues faced by correctional agencies and their relative priority.  In June and July 2013, ASCA conducted a survey of members to identify and rate the level of importance of the top four issues facing their agencies and to rate issues identified in previous surveys to determine the continuing relevance of these issues for their agencies.  Thirty agencies responded to the survey.

In 2013 the most identified top four issues that agencies are dealing with included:

  1. Population management; increasing inmate population;
  2. Recruiting and retaining correctional staff;
  3. Budget;
  4. Managing mental health population; and
  5. Cost of inmate medical care.

Click here for the report of the 2013 Current Issues in Corrections Survey.
Click here
for a summary of the 2013 Survey.

Pay for Success: Treasury Department Releases Request for Information

The President's FY 2014 budget (p. 978) included a request for a $300 million one-time mandatory appropriation for a new Incentive Fund to help state and local governments implement Pay for Success (PFS) programs. In order to inform the Administration's development of this legislative initiative, this request for information (RFI) seeks information on options for financing models and the most promising programmatic areas that could be served by the Incentive Fund. The input received will inform the Treasury Department and an interagency working group on PFS about the best use of the authority requested in the President's FY 2014 Budget for the Incentive Fund and on other state, local, and tribal performance-based funding mechanisms. In addition, responses may be used to identify opportunities for flexibility within existing authorities to support PFS and similar outcomes-based efforts.

Some of the current PFS initiatives are focused on: reentry, recidivism reduction, expanding pathways for at-risk youth, improving health outcomes for newborns and mothers, and early childhood education.

To submit a comment:
Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.regulations.gov) or via U.S. mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. If you mail or deliver your comments, address them to Cara Camacho, Attention: Pay for Success Incentive Fund RFI, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Room 1325, Washington, D.C. 20220.

The Treasury Department will not accept comments by fax or by email. Please include the Docket ID and the term “PFS Incentive Fund RFI” at the top of your comments.

For additional information or questions, please contact:
Cara Camacho by email: cara.camacho@treasury.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

For more information about this Request for Information, visit:
www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/10/02/2013-24078/strategies-to-accelerate-the-testing-and-adoption-of-pay-for-success-pfs-financing-models

http://payforsuccess.org/resources/federal-treasury-department-releases-request-information

For more information about Pay for Success, visit:
www.whitehouse.gov/omb/factsheet/paying-for-success

Justice Information Exchange Implementation Project Competitive Award Announcement

SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, has announced the availability of up to five $50,000 awards to improve information sharing with partner agencies and organizations and improve the overall effectiveness of the criminal justice system.  Proposed information sharing solutions must involve at least one partner agency within or allied with the criminal justice system.

The goal of this solicitation is to award funds and provide technical assistance to award recipients to develop and implement operational information exchanges that address key information sharing business problems while following the guidance and standards provided by the GRA. Where applicable and appropriate, project participants will implement other parts of the Global Information Sharing Toolkit (GIST), including the Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM) guidance and the Global Technical Privacy Framework.

Proposal Submissions are required by Friday, November 22, 2013 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
Click here for the full solicitation.

Cross Boundary Corrections Information Exchange Policy Academy Pilot Site Selection Solicitation

In the last decade, state policymakers have enacted corrections reforms aimed at reducing offender recidivism, lowering corrections costs, and improving public safety. However, those reforms are unlikely to have their intended effect if states do not have effective systems in place to exchange accurate and timely criminal justice information. States that will be the most successful at achieving public safety goals are those that adopt an integrated cross-boundary approach to sharing information. Further, those states will incorporate data and real time information about offenders into their decision-making process.

To help states adopt systems that effectively share correctional information, the NGA Center will select three states to participate in a year-long policy academy. Through the policy academy, states will develop a strategic action plan for improving their capabilities to share correctional information based on Global Standards Package. In support of those efforts, state teams will:

  • Participate in two policy academy meetings (in early 2014 and Summer /Fall 2014);
  • Participate in an in-state workshop with support from the NGA Center project team; and
  • Receive technical assistance from the NGA Center, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the IJIS Institute, and Partner organizations throughout the project period.

To assist states in implementing strong governance structures and the information systems and technical component necessary to improve their capabilities to share corrections information, states selected for the policy academy will also receive up to $140,000 in grant funding as well as technical assistance from BJA, the IJIS Institute, and partner organizations.

A Bidder's Conference Call will be held October 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time  - call-in number: 1-800-749-9945 Passcode: 7710451

Letter of Interest are due October 23, 2013 by 5:30 PM Eastern Time.

Click here for the solicitation

The Prison Rapre 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

State Spending for Corrections: Long-Term Trends and Recent Criminal Justice Reforms

A new report from the National Association of State Budget Officers shows that despite an improvement in some criminal-justice policies, state spending for corrections "has yet to exhibit any meaningful slowdown and incarceration costs continue to rise."  The group says that state spending for corrections reached $52.4 billion in fiscal 2012 and has exceeded 7.0 percent of overall general fund expenditures every year since fiscal 2008.

The association says the trend "suggests that criminal justice reforms have yet to reverse the persistent growth in public safety spending, and that many states still have a potential for greater savings from policy reforms." The association reviews many advances in corrections instituted across the U.S. in recent years and says that elements of incarceration that are most related to inflationary pressures, like inmate health care and employee wages and benefits, are likely to produce the greatest savings from a smaller inmate population. Whether the savings from justice policy reforms will free up state revenue for other areas of the budget is yet to be determined, the group says.

Click here for the full report from the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Health and Incarceration - A Workshop Summary

The health disparities that exist in our communities are concentrated in the population that cycles in and out of our jails and prisons. Justice-involved populations have very high rates of physical illness, mental illness, and substance use disorders. And their health problems have significant impacts on the communities from which they come and to which, in nearly all cases, they will return.

Health and Incarceration
is the summary of a workshop jointly sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee on Law and Justice and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Board on Health and Select Populations in December 2012. Academics, practitioners, state officials, and other experts from the fields of health care, prisoner advocacy, and corrections reviewed what is known about these health and health care issues and what solutions may exist to improve the health of justice-involved populations.  

The report summarizes what is known about the health of people in prison and jail, the health care they receive, and the effects of incarceration on public health and where and how improvements can be made.

Click here for a PDF of the Workshop Highlights.

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

August 2013 NIC Newsletter

The August 2013 NIC Newsletter includes features on NIC's Report to the Nation where NIC highlights their work during the past fiscal year; a report on the work NIC has been doing to foster the relationships between corrections and parole through their work with ASCA and APAI; and information about NIC's new e-newsletter - Gender-Responsive News for Women and Girls.  Click here for the August 2013 NIC Newsletter.

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: http://www.prearesourcecenter.org/audit
 
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: http://www.prearesourcecenter.org/audit/auditor-qualifications-and-application

CSG Justice Center Launches New Website

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has launched its new website at csgjusticecenter.org. 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 csgjusticecenter.org 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 csgjusticecenter.org.

 

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.

Highlights:

  • 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.

July 2013 BJA's Justice Today

The July 2013 BJA Justice Today Newsletter features information and program spdates on the corrections focused programs and Training and Technical Assistance the BJA administers including: Second Chance Act; Prison Rape Elimination Act PREA Resource Center; National Reentry Resource Center; and Discover Corrections

Click here for the BJA Justice Today newsletter.

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 www.jhconnect.org. 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.

FY 2013 Comprehensive Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Planning Program

In October 2012, seven state corrections departments were awarded FY2012 Second Chance Act (SCA) “Statewide Recidivism Reduction” (SRR) grants that provided funding of up to $1 million to reduce rates of reoffending and technical violations of conditions of supervision for individuals reentering the community from state prisons. The SRR grant program was uniquely designed by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to help state corrections departments adopt system-wide reforms related to risk- and needs-driven case planning and programming, as well as community supervision policies that research has shown can lead to reductions in recidivism.

“Unlike grants that support programming for a small subset of the population, the SRR program can empower corrections administrators to impact recidivism statewide through sustainable policy and procedural changes. Through this grant, we are reviewing and enhancing how we use risk- and needs- assessments to inform case management practices and community supervision guidelines.” – A.T. Wall, Director, Rhode Island Department of Corrections

As a follow-up to this first round of seven grant awards, BJA has released the FY2013 Comprehensive Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Planning Program, a two-phase SRR grant for planning and implementation. Grantees will receive up to $100,000 to undertake a 12-month planning process, after which they will be eligible to apply for up to $3 million in implementation funding in FY2014. Applications for the planning grant program are due on June 28, 2013.

The planning phase will provide state leaders with the opportunity to comprehensively assess their systems using the Recidivism Reduction Checklists, and focus resources on the policy areas that will have the greatest impact on recidivism rates with support from the National Reentry Resource Center. In addition, the FY2013 grant program is intended to identify four grantees whose programs can become learning sites that will serve as national models of excellence for reducing statewide recidivism and increasing public safety.

The SRR grant track was developed by BJA in direct response to the challenges leaders from all 50 states identified during the State Leaders National Forum on Reentry and Recidivism hosted in Washington D.C. in December 2011, including the importance of defining and measuring recidivism, and setting recidivism reduction targets.

The seven states awarded FY2012 grants—Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island—are implementing a diverse range of programs and policies, from establishing specialized community supervision practices for high-risk populations, to enhancing corrections and mental health collaborations, to tackling the challenges of rural reentry through enhanced coordination between community supervision officers and service providers (see below for a description of each of the grantees). Technical assistance in support of these projects is provided by the National Reentry Resource Center.

“Through the SRR grant, we were able to implement community supervision best practices that will be expanded to the rest of the state's 22 Probation and Parole Districts and some 70,000 offenders. We are grateful for the resources that have provided this opportunity that would otherwise not have been possible for us.”Rhett Covington, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Reentry, Louisiana DPSC

Eligibility for the SCA SRR grant is limited to state correctional agencies (including state departments of corrections or departments of community corrections), or State Administering Agencies (SAA). Grantees who have current Second Chance Act Recidivism Reduction grants
apply. If you have any questions about the SCA SRR grant program, please contact Phoebe Potter with the Council of State Governments Justice Center at ppotter@csg.org or 240-482-8587.

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.

Bureau of Justice Statistics Releases Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates 2011-2012

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has released Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011-12 (NCJ 241399).

Presents data from BJS’s third National Inmate Survey (NIS-3), conducted between February 2011 and May 2012 in 233 state and federal prisons, 358 local jails, and 15 special correctional facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Military, and correctional authorities in Indian country, with a sample of 92,449 inmates age 18 or older and 1,738 inmates ages 16 to 17.  Click here for a PDF of the report.

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.

BJA Justice Today May 2013

The May 2013 issue of BJA's Justice Today highligbts the Public Safety Officers' Benefit Program that provides a federal benefit to families of law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders killed in the line of duty.   Click here for the may 2013 issue of BJAs' Justice Today newsletter.

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.

The National Reentry Resource Center April 25, 2013 Newsletter

The National Reentry Resource Center April 25, 2013 Newsletter features a recap of the Five Year Anniversary of the Second Chance Act.  Other articles include the release of three publications: Lessons from the States: Reducing Recidivism and Curbing Corrections Costs Through Justice Reinvestment; Lessons Learned: Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy; and The Implications of the Affordable Care Act on People Involved with the Criminal Justice SystemClick here for the April Issue of the NRRC Newsletter.

Attorney General Eric Holder Holds Fourth Reentry Council Meeting

Attorney General Holder is joined by members of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council.

On April 25, 2013 Attorney General Eric Holder presided over the fourth meeting of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, a government-wide body that has worked – since its first convened meeting in 2011 – to make communities both safer and stronger by reducing recidivism and addressing related issues.  Through this initiative, representatives of 20 federal agencies are helping people returning from prison rejoin their communities and become productive, law-abiding citizens.  The Council is working to save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and indirect costs of incarceration.  The work is already yielding promising results.


Click here for Attorney General Holder's comments.

2013 JMHCP Conference Held in Washington, D.C.

From February 27 to March 1, the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center), hosted the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration (JMHCP) Program National Training and Technical Assistance Conference in Washington, D.C., with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The conference gathered more than 300 practitioners, researchers, and public officials to address the overrepresentation of people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system and discuss best practices for improving public safety and public health outcomes.
The conference brought together past and present recipients of federal funding through the JMHCP, and connected front-line professionals with experts, peers, and mental health consumers. The first day of the conference was restricted to FY2012 JMHCP grantees, who used the time to determine how best to achieve the objectives of their collaborative criminal justice/mental health programs.

Click here to learn more about the event. The conference website will be updated with presentations, videos, and other materials as they become available.

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 justlink@justnet.org. 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 justlink@justnet.org and an NLECTC staff member will contact you. Sign up for a JUST-Link account today. Your peers are waiting to talk to you.

BJA's Justice Today March 2013 Newsletter

BJA's Justice Today newsletter for March 2013 features an article and related documents from the Council of State Governments Justice Center Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program National Training and Technical Assistance Event entitled "Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery." 

Click here for the March 2013 BJA's Justice Today newsletter

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.

NIJ Released Latest Edition of NIJ Journal

The National Institute of Justice has released its latest edition of the NIJ Journal.
This issue features an article on how Philadelphia’s Adult Probation and Parole Department is using a computerized system that predicts the risk of recidivism.  This issue also features an article outlining issues regarding the testing and inspection of ballistic body armor, and takes a look at sex offenders monitored by GPS are found to commit fewer crimes.

Click here for the latest edition of NIJ Journal

BJA's Justice Today February 2013 Newsletter

The BJA  February 2013 Justice Today newsletter features articles on a law enforcement forum entitled "Active Shooters: The Unique Problems They Pose to Law Enforcement".   The newsletter also highlights funding opportunities and BJA released Program Performance Reports.  Click here for the February 2013 BJA Justice Today.

The National Reentry Resource Center March 4, 2013 Newsletter

The National Reentry Resource Center March 4, 2013 newsletter features an article on the recently released Recidivism Reduction Checklists for Corrections Administrators, Reentry Coordinators and Executive and Legislative policymakers.  These checklists can help familiarize state leaders with key issues related to recidivism reduction, and help them honestly evaluate strengths and weaknesses in their reentry efforts through enhanced communication and coordination.

Other information in the newsletter includes Second Chance Act and SAMHSA reentry related funding opportunities; information about a Center for Justice Reform certificate program for workers that serve youth who are involved in the welfare and juvenile justice systems.  Other reentry related publications and news articles are included in the newsletter.   Click here for the March 4, 2013 National Reentry Resource Center newsletter.

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.

BJA Funding Opportiunities to Enhance Community Corrections Agencies

The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is committed to supporting the efforts of probation and parole agencies across the nation to leverage contemporary research to implement promising supervision policies and practices that are evidence-based, data-driven, and smart on crime.  Although it currently funds several technical assistance (TA) initiatives for community corrections, BJA recognizes that there is a need for additional resources that can be tailored to address the specific challenges faced by community corrections at the state, local, and tribal levels.  BJA’s National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) has, therefore, committed a modest amount of resources to support TA engagements that focus on enhancing the work of community corrections agencies on the following key issues:

  • Leveraging key lessons learned from BJA’s Smart Probation Initiative to enhance the overall effectiveness and efficiency of offender supervision strategies.
  • Enhancing the use of empirically validated offender assessment tools to guide supervision and decision-making.
  • Evaluating caseload allocations and implementing strategies to use limited supervision resources most efficiently and effectively, (e.g., targeting high and medium risk offenders for smaller caseloads, more intensive supervision and programming).
  • Integrating effective treatment and programming with supervision, and ensuring quality of services delivered.
  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive system of data-driven graduated sanctions designed to respond to violations and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.
  • Enhancing collaboration and expanding strategic partnerships between probation and parole agencies and local law enforcement to enhance offender management efforts.

Community corrections agencies interested in pursuing TA engagements on any of the aforementioned issues are encouraged to complete a brief online application at: http://bjatraining.org/working-with-nttac/requestors/tta-request/form.
 
Questions regarding the assistance available on enhancing the work of community corrections can be directed to BJA NTTAC at 855-252-8822.

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.

UPDATE: Competitive Grants to Establish "Zero Tolerance" Cultures for Sexual Abuse in Local Adult and Juvenile Detention Facilities Grant Solicitation

The PREA Resource Center received 109 applications for a total requested amount of more than $10 million.  Applications are under peer review and the PRC anticipates grant notifications to be released by April 2013.

National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women February Newsletter

The National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW) released its February 2013 newsletter.  The newsletter features a report on the Connecticut Court Support Services Division's pilot program Women Offender Case Management Model (WOCMM).  Developed by Dr. Marilyn Van Dieten, in partnership with NIC, the model includes evidence and gender-responsive techniques and is designed to reduce recidivism, increase the availability of services and enhance outcomes for women.  The newsletter also features resources available from the NRCJIW and the National Institute of Corrections.  Click here for the February 2013 NRCJIW newsletter.

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.

Mississippi Commissioner Christopher Epps Sworn in as President of ACA

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps was sworn in on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, as the 102nd president of the American Correctional Association (ACA).  Epps, who will lead the organization for two years, took the oath at the ACA Winter Conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said, "This is an honor for Commissioner Epps and brings distinction to our state."

In his remarks, after being sworn in, Epps said he will seek to get more agencies ACA accredited and to increase the number of agencies receiving the ACA Golden Eagle award. Currently, Mississippi is one of 18 recipients of the Golden Eagle. The award is presented to those who have accredited every facet of their agency. MDOC is the 14th state correctional system in the nation to achieve this accomplishment. According to Epps, getting fully accredited in Mississippi saved the state millions of dollars and led to the dismissal of one of the lengthiest lawsuits in the country.

Epps also said he wants to continue focusing on health care issues, more rehabilitation and less administrative segregation. He also plans to push for more re-entry programs. He ended by saying, "It's time to let the world know that corrections walks the toughest beat in town."
Epps, in his 11th year as Mississippi's corrections chief, is uniquely qualified to assume the helm of this premier corrections organization. He is the longest serving commissioner in MDOC history.

During his watch, the department has become number one in corrections reform, drawing visitors both from within and outside of the United States to discuss administrative segregation, commonly known as solitary confinement, and Managed Access in dealing with illicit cell phones.
Gov. Bryant said, "I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the commissioner and all of the Department of Corrections staff."

Epps is an ACA auditor. He was elected in 2004 to the ACA Commission on Accreditation, where he served for a 4-year term. In 2006 he was appointed to the ACA Commission on Accreditation Executive Board. In 2008 he was elected by the members as ACA Treasurer. In 2010 he was elected president elect of ACA. Both positions allowed him to serve on the ACA Executive Board. In addition to his leadership with ACA, he is vice president of the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and was ASCA treasurer.

The ACA, founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, is the oldest and largest international correctional association in the world, serving all disciplines within the corrections profession. The organization is composed of more than 20,000 members from 60 countries. Approximately 450 Mississippians are members.
Epps said, “My experience and success in corrections will help me to not only be an effective leader for ACA but also will help my state stay on the forefront of current matters in criminal justice.”

BJA, NCJA, and JRSA Host Executive Session on Evidence-Base Policyd

On January 8–9, the Executive Session on Evidence-Based Policy and Practice brought together executive staff of state agencies designated by Governors to manage federal criminal justice assistance, Directors of the states’ Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs), and federal officials from the Office of Justice Programs and BJA. Hosted by BJA, the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), and the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA), the agenda built upon training and technical assistance provided since:

  • An initial focus group of criminal justice State Administering Agencies (SAAs) on evidence-based programs (EBP) in January 2009
  • A series of regional conferences during 2010
  • The launch of the National Center for Justice Planning web site
  • Technical assistance delivery to more than 20 states
  • Surveys of SAA and SAC directors regarding EBPs

The agenda also highlighted BJA's priority of embedding EBP in all its grant programs and JRSA's focus on using data to support evidence-based programs and data-driven decisionmaking.

For more information, view the agenda and the presentations.

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.

The Sentencing Project Report - On the Chopping Block 2012: State Prison Closings

The Sentencing Project has published a report on prison closings in six states in 2012 due to declines in the prison populations.
Click here for the report from The Sentencing Project.

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 http://www.regulations.gov 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: http://www.regulations.gov. 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
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.

The National Reentry Resource Center November 29, 2012 Newsletter

The National Reentry Resource Center's November 29, 2012 Newsletter features articles including The U.S. Department of Justice new Second Chance Act awards, the MacArthur Foundation briefs about Youth Mental Health, a Reentry success story, and news briefs about reentry from around the country.

Click here for the November 29, 2012 National Reentry Resource Center newsletter.

The Sentencing Project Annual Newsletter

The Sentencing Project’s annual newsletter will tell you, and we hope you enjoy seeing criminal justice reform in action.

Some highlights:

  • Their report on the 5.85 million people with felony convictions who have been disenfranchised highlighted the lack of access to democracy by millions of our fellow citizens, and resulted in strong media coverage.
  • They produced the first-ever national survey of juveniles serving life without parole and joined an amicus brief of national advocates in support of the petitioners whose case led to the landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court barring mandatory sentencing of juveniles to life without parole.
  • Marc Mauer, a graphic novelist? Yes, in 2013, be among the first to read his seminal book on race, class and the criminal justice system, Race to Incarcerate, in graphic form.
  • Potential benefits in Obamacare: a report on how expanded Medicaid coverage could contribute to diverting people from prison and reducing recidivism.
  • Missouri’s bipartisan crack sentencing reform, the continued growing consensus to reduce U.S. incarceration and much more.

Click here for The Sentening Project annual newsletter.

PREA Resource Center Grant Announcement

The PREA Resource Center is pleased to announce a grant opportunity to establish “Zero Tolerance” cultures for sexual abuse in locally and tribally operated adult and juvenile detention facilities; with awards of up to $100,000 for individual agencies; $300,000 for collaborative applications. Agencies that operate small (less than 100 beds) or medium (less than 500 beds) facilities are strongly encouraged to apply. See full announcement for details.

To learn more
PRC staff will provide a webinar on December 4th, 2012 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm EST to review grant eligibility requirements; allowable uses of funds; award amounts, including collaborative applications; and the application process and deadline.
Click here to register
Click here for more information.

To apply for the Competitive Grant to Establish “Zero Tolerance” Cultures for Sexual Abuse in Local Adult and Juvenile Detention Facilities, click the following link or copy and paste the following web address into your browser: http://zoomgrants.com/gprop.asp?donorid=2115&limited=342

Questions about any aspect of the solicitation must be submitted via email to Deirdre O’Connor.

Frequently asked questions regarding the grant opportunity and application will be posted to this page when available, no later than January 4, 2013.

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.

Bureau of Justice Assistance Provides $27 million to Drug Courts and Mental Health Programs

WASHINGTON – The Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) today announced it awarded $27 million under the Drug Court Program and the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) in Fiscal Year 2012. These two BJA programs provide assistance and support for states, tribes and localities offering specialized services for individuals within the justice system who have substance abuse and mental health disorders.

“People with mental illnesses often cycle repeatedly through courtrooms, jails, and prisons that are ill-equipped to address their needs and, in particular, to provide adequate treatment. BJA has been exploring new ways of responding to these individuals to break this costly and damaging cycle,” said BJA Director Denise E. O’Donnell. “BJA has an entire portfolio dedicated to addressing the revolving door of justice for individuals with behavioral health needs.”

Click here for the full BJA announcing FY12 awards for drug courts and Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program.

June 2012 Current Issues in Corrections Document

The Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) conducts a semi-annual survey of its membership to identify the current issues faced by correctional agencies and their relative priority.  In June and July 2012, ASCA conducted a survey of members to identify and rate the level of importance of the top four issues facing their agencies and to rate issues identified in previous surveys to determine the continuing relevance of these issues for their agencies.  Thirty-one agencies responded to the survey.  Click here for the report of the June 2012 Current Issues in Corrections Survey.

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 www.csgjusticecenter.org/mentalhealth/bhcorrframework.

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 (www.ncjrs.gov, NCJ# 239596).
 

Collateral Consequences Website Launch

NIJ has announced the launch of the new "National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction" website. This searchable database lists the federal and state restrictions faced by former offenders. Visitors to the site can choose a jurisdiction by clicking on an interactive map to search for restrictions by either the triggering offense or by the type of consequence (such as employment, education, housing, etc.).

The website was created by the American Bar Association with funding from NIJ after passage of the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007, which was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy.

Currently the site contains data for nine states and the federal government; the remaining states will be added over the coming year.

NIJ anticipates that the site will be useful to policymakers and practitioners who are working to understand the impact of rules and policies that challenge the ability of former offenders to reintegrate with their community and become tax-paying, productive citizens.

Click here for the Collateral Consequences webpage.
 

September 2012 PREA Resource Center Newsletter

The National PREA Resource Center September 2012 Newsletter features information about the new FAQ section of the Resource Center web site; upcoming PREA related Webinars; and a list of conferences and meetings where the PREA Resource Center staff will be making PREA presentations.  Click here for the September 2012 PREA Resource Center newsletter.

Vera Report Looks at Changes in Correctional Populations and Expenditures

The fiscal crisis of the past several years has put the nation’s reliance on prisons under intense scrutiny. To reduce costs and improve public safety, states have begun to enact policies based on the large body of research showing that many offenders can be effectively handled within the community using evidence-based practices.

A new report from Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, in partnership with the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, examines whether, in light of recent state-level policy changes and ongoing budget deficits, the expected shifts in population and spending from prisons to community corrections between 2006 and 2010 have been realized. The findings of Realigning Justice Resources: A Review of Population and Spending Shifts in Prison and Community Corrections are based on survey responses from 36 state prison agencies and 35 community corrections agencies; follow-up interviews with 24 states; a review of recent sentencing and corrections legislation; and an analysis of population counts from the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Although Vera’s study demonstrates that there is not always a discernible relationship between population and spending shifts from one part of the system to another, several states—such as, Michigan, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Virginia—have successfully implemented policies that curb both prison populations and spending. The authors suggest that economic, political, and structural factors both within and outside the control of policymakers may have stymied many states’ ambitions. More time and research may be needed to observe the true impact of policy changes on correctional populations and spending.

Click here for the report fact sheet.
Click here for the full report.

National PREA Resource Center Frequently Asked Questions

The final Department of Justice PREA Standards became effective on August 20, 2012. The National PREA Resource Center has developed a section on their web site where Frequently Asked Questions about PREA and the PREA standards are addressed.

Click Here to link to the FAQ section of the National PREA Resource Center website.

Provide Your Feedback on a Criminal Justice/Mental Health Learning Sites Needs Assessment

“Learning sites” are programs that use promising approaches and are committed to ongoing quality improvement and sharing their expertise through peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Since 2006, the CSG Justice Center has worked in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to identify and highlight criminal justice/mental health collaborations from across the country who can serve as learning sites for those interested in mental health courts and in collaborations between law enforcement and mental health agencies (http://consensusproject.org/learningsites).

In order to ensure that learning sites meet the needs of the field, the Justice Center is asking criminal justice and mental health practitioners to participate in a brief survey to provide feedback on programs and topics of interest, as well as peer-to-peer learning strategies. Your responses will inform future learning site programs and offerings.

Please take a few minutes to complete the 10 short questions in this survey by clicking on the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BTJG9LF. The survey will close at the end of the day on Friday, September 28th. For more information, please contact Lindsey Fry at lfry@csg.org. We appreciate your participation!

National Reentry Resource Center August 28, 2012 Newsletter

The National Reentry Resource Center August 28, 2012 Newsletter features a report on the National Summit on Reentry and Employment held by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on July 31, 2012.  Other articles include: States Take Steps to Reduce the Prosecution of Youth in the Adult Criminal Justice System; Frequently Asked Questions about Communities and Families Involved with the Criminal Justice System; and National Reentry Resource Center Adds Local-Level Contact Information to Reentry Service Directories.

Click here for the August 28, 2012 National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter.

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.

2012 - 2014 ASCA Officers Elected

The ASCA Membership has unanimously voted to reelect the following ASCA Officers for the 2012 - 2014 term of office:

A.T. Wall (RI)
President

Chris Epps (MS)
Vice President

Leann Bertsch (ND)
Treasurer

The officers will serve two-year terms beginning on July 23rd at the conclusion of the Summer Business Meeting in Denver, CO.

August 2012 PREA Resource Center Newsletter

The August 2012 issue of the National PREA Resource Center newsletter features articles announcing the publishing of the PREA Standards on June 20, 2012.  Other resources announced in the newsletter include a Jail and Juvenile Facilities Toolkit that is now available on the PRC Website and links to recordings of the PREA 101 webinars on Community Corrections, Juvenile Facilities, Adult Prisons and Jails and Lock-ups.  The newsletter has details about an upcoming PREA in Action webinar to be held September 13, 2012.  Click here for the PRC August 2012 newsletter.

Summer 2012 ASCA Corrections Directions Newsletter

Summer 2012 Corrections Directions Newsletter - The Summer 2012 Corrections Directions features an article highlighting ongoing efforts by ASCA member agencies to fight the proliferation of illegal cell phones in prisons.  President Wall's message from the President focuses on ASCA's response to the Prison Rape Elimination Act since it was first considered in the 2002 Legislative Session.

US Department of Veteran Affairs to Provide DVD's Addressing Veterans' Reentry

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has produced two DVDs to generate awareness among corrections staff and veterans of the efforts of the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide outreach and reentry efforts to incarcerated Veterans.  “Suits: VA Services for Incarcerated Veterans” is a 4-minute informational video that is designed to be played in all areas of the facility for viewing by inmates.  “Helping Veterans Help Themselves” is a 9-minute training video (that includes the viewing of “Suits”) designed for the training of all facility staff, emphasizing VA’s efforts on behalf of Veterans and alerting corrections staff that “Suits” will be playing in the facility.   The DVDs are expected to be mailed by the end of November to all federal facilities; to all prison facilities in forty-one states; and to just over 400 county correctional facilities.

Program Descriptions:

Suits: VA Support for Incarcerated Veterans
In this four minute video produced by and directed by a Veteran who served in Iraq, Veteran inmate tells his story.  Revolving around the various 'suits' that he has worn in his life, the Veteran recounts his life from boyhood, through his time in the military, his getting himself into trouble resulting in incarceration, and his successful reintegration into the community upon release from incarceration.  He notes that it was his military uniform ('suit') that allowed him to be assigned by the Department of Veteran Affairs both while incarcerated and upon his release, highlighting the efforts on the part of VA to assist all incarcerated Veterans.  This video is designed to be shown in all areas of the correctional facility to maximize the likelihood of Veterans knowing about VA's outreach and reentry efforts. 

Helping Veterans Help Themselves
This ten minute instructional video has been produced as a partner video to VA's outreach and instructional video, "Suits: VA Support for Incarcerated Veterans."  The instructional video is targeted to all staff of corrections facilities around the country, providing both an overview of VA's outreach and reentry efforts as well as an explanation of how corrections staff can assist Veterans in connecting with VA staff.  The video concludes with an opportunity for corrections staff to view "Suits" in order to be fully familiar with the video that Veterans are seeing in their facilities.
 

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.

National Reentry Resource Center July 3, 2012 Newsletter

The National Reentry Resource Center July 3,2012 Newsletter features an article about the new Clearinghouse Resource What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse that provides a user-friendly, web-based, one-stop shop for practitioners and service providers seeking guidance on evidence-based reentry interventions, as well as an invaluable resource for researchers and others interested in reentry.  Other articles include the Federal Interagency Reentry Council Considers Employment Issues for Recently Released Individuals; Second Chance Act and Safer Communities Conference website coming soon, and Reentry Success Stories. Click here for the NRRC July 3, 2012 Newsletter.

National PREA Resource Center June 2012 Newsletter

The June 2012 National PREA Resouce Center Newsletter features information about the new PREA Standards released on May 17, 2012, and resources available from the PRC to help agencies address the new standards including library, training opportunities, webinars, and others.  Click here for the June 2012 PREA Resource Center newsletter.

FBI N-DEx Criminal Justice Participation Begins June 16, 2012

Beginning June 16, 2012, criminal justice agencies are able to participate in FBI N-DEx Information Sharing Program.  Attached are an information announcement and the updated N-DEx Policy and Operating Manual 2.0 that reflects this change.  Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the N-DEx Program Office via email at ndex@leo.gov.  Thanks to everyone for your continued efforts and support of the information sharing effort.

Click here for the Announcement. Click here for the N-DEx Policy and Operating Manual.

New Website Features "What Works" in Prisoner Re-entry

The Crime Report
by Ted Guest

Expanding the concept of evidence-based criminal justice, a new website lists and evaluates prisoner re-entry programs nationwide. Launched yesterday by the Urban Institute, the Council of State Governments, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Prisoner Reentry Institute, the "What Works Clearinghouse" can be seen at http://nationalreentryresourcecenter.org/what_works. Click here to view the complete article.

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.

PREA Standards Comparison Documents

The Project on Addressing Prison Rape at the Washington College of Law has compiled documents to compare PREA Standards from June 2009 through the final standrads in May 2012.
Click here for the comparison for standards for Adult Prisons and Jails.
Click here for the comparison for standards for Community Corrections.
Click here for the comparison for standards for Juvenile Justice Facilities.

Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the National Second Chance Act Conference

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to open the National Second Chance Act Conference on May 22, 2012.  Attorney General Holder said during his remarks:

This week, we have a unique, and critically important, opportunity to take this work to the next level – and to identify and advance some of the nation’s most effective public safety and prisoner reentry strategies.   As Chair of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, I share your commitment to making the progress that we need – and that the American people deserve.   I am dedicated to building on the momentum that many of you have helped to create, and that the Council is driving forward.   And I recognize that these efforts, quite simply, could not be more urgent.

Click here for the full OSDOJ press release.

Justice Department Releases Final Rule to Prevent, Detect and Respond to Prison Rape

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department released a final rule to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse in confinement facilities, in accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) on May 17, 2012.  This landmark rule sets national standards for four categories of facilities: adult prisons and jails, lockups, community confinement facilities and juvenile facilities.  Today’s rule is the first-ever federal effort to set standards aimed at protecting inmates in all such facilities at the federal, state and local levels.  Click here for the full U.S. Department of Justice Press Release.

Click here to read the rule in its entirety.
Click here for an Executive Summary.
Click here for the Regulatory Impact Assessment, which summarizes the costs and benefits.

New National PREA Resource Center Website Launched

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) announces the launch of the website for the National PREA Resource Center (PRC) at www.prearesourcecenter.org.
 
Established through a cooperative agreement between the Bureau of Justice Assistance and NCCD, the PRC serves as a national resource for online and direct support, training, technical assistance, and research to assist adult and juvenile corrections, detention, tribal detention, and law enforcement professionals in their ongoing work to eliminate sexual assault in confinement.
 
“NCCD and the PRC are excited to offer the valuable resources available on the PRC website to corrections, detention, and law enforcement professionals, and to all who play a role in preventing and responding to sexual abuse in confinement,” said Alex Busansky, President of NCCD. “We look forward to working with the field to ensure that this site provides the most up-to-date research and user-friendly resources to help combat sexual abuse in confinement.”
 
The PRC website offers an extensive library of information about the Department of Justice’s national PREA standards and the law, research on sexual abuse in confinement and evaluation of practices and procedures, and guides and handbooks to aid in policy development and implementation. The Training and Technical Assistance section of the website provides detailed information about PRC’s four strategies for assisting the field with PREA implementation. Website visitors can learn about trainings supported by the PRC, read about PREA implementation going on around the country in the “PREA in Action” series, and request assistance directly from the PRC. Upcoming trainings and webinars will be posted in the Training and Technical Assistance section of the website, as well as on the News & Events page.
 
The launch of the PRC’s website is an exciting and important next step in a long-standing campaign to eliminate rape and sexual assault in confinement facilities.
 
The PRC is assisted in its work by its partners, including Abt Associates, AEquitas, the American Correctional Association, the American Probation and Parole Association, American University’s Washington College of Law’s Project on Addressing Prison Rape, the Center for Innovative Public Policies, Inc., the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Just Detention International, the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare, the Moss Group, and the Vera Institute of Justice. As the PRC’s work expands, these organizations will be joined by other experts and leaders around the country.

Attorney General Eric Holder Convenes 3rd Federal Reentry Council Meeting


Attorney General Eric Holder convened the third meeting of the federal interagency Reentry Council at the Department of Justice on May 10, 2012.   The council represents 20 federal agencies working to make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; assist those who return from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. The Attorney General chairs the council which he established in January 2011 . 
 
“When reentry fails, the costs—both societal and economic—are high,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “Our joint commitment is to eliminate barriers to successful reentry by improving employment, housing, treatment and education opportunities for individuals who have been incarcerated so they can support themselves and their families and contribute to their communities.”

Click here to read the full DOJ press release.

April 2012 PREA Update

The US Office of Justice Programs Review Panel on Prison Rape recently released “Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails” (April 2012) available at:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/reviewpanel/pdfs/prea_finalreport_2012.pdf

A previous report concerning juveniles, “Report on Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Correctional Facilities” (2010) is available at:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/reviewpanel/pdfs/panel_report_101014.pdf

About the Review Panel on Prison Rape:
In accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, Public Law 108-79, 117 Stat. 972 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. §§ 15601-15609 (2006)), the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, appointed the members of the Review Panel on Prison Rape (Panel) on January 1, 2010. Members of the Panel are:

  • Anne Seymour, national crime victim advocate for 27 years, specializing in corrections-based victim services.
  • Dr. Gary Christensen, President, Corrections Partners, Inc., retired Jail Administrator.
  • Dr. Reginald Wilkinson, President & CEO of the Ohio College Access Network.

The Panel is responsible for conducting annual hearings to collect evidence to assist the Bureau of Justice Statistics in identifying common characteristics, not only of victims and perpetrators of prison rape, but also of prisons and prison systems with a high incidence of prison rape and those that have been successful in deterring prison rape.

Concerning the status of the PREA Standards:

On June 23, 2009, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission released its final Report and proposed Standards to prevent, detect, respond to and monitor sexual abuse of incarcerated or detained individuals throughout the United States.

The PREA standards are in draft form.

2013 House Funding Bill Includes $70 Million for Second Chance Act

Second Chance Act Funding Under Consideration in the House and Senate

On April 17, 2012 the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, and Science released their fiscal year 2013 justice funding bills. In the House, appropriators proposed $70 million for the Second Chance Act, an increase of $7 million from the FY12 funding level. Senate appropriators included $25 million in their bill, while also proposing $6 million for the Justice Reinvestment initiative. The robust funding provided for the Second Chance Act and Justice Reinvestment Initiative reflects continued congressional support for prisoner reentry and recidivism reduction efforts.

Recently, 82 Members of Congress signaled their support for the Second Chance Act in two letters sent to leading appropriators responsible for determining funding for justice programs. In the House, 59 Members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter circulated by Representatives Howard Coble (R-NC-6) and Danny Davis (D-IL-7). A similar letter in the Senate, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), collected 23 signatures.

At a time when Congress is increasingly focused on reducing spending, these letters, and the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittees’ decision to provide strong funding for the Second Chance Act, demonstrated that this important program remains a priority for many lawmakers. The Second Chance Act was passed by Congress in 2008 and supports evidence-based strategies proven to reduce recidivism.

2012 OJP Program Plan

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has launched a new, searchable online document of current funding opportunities and new initiatives, the OJP Program Plan. It features the latest and most complete information regarding both competitive and noncompetitive grants, training and technical assistance, research, and other resources available to the justice community.

The Program Plan is divided into 9 thematically organized sections:
Also available, instructions on how to apply for Continuation and Formula Grants and assistance, a Glossary of acronyms and definitions, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and an alphabetical Index of the programs found in the Plan.

National Corrections Mental Health Network Announced

In the latest edition of Corrections & Mental Health, NIC’s mental health newsletter, Steve Allen, Director of Behavior Health Services with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, formally announced the creation of the Association of Corrections Mental Health Administrators (ACMHA). This network was developed with support from NIC and is intended to bring together corrections mental health executives from across the country for the purpose of sharing information and best practices. The members have formed workgroups focused on the following areas:

  • Suicide prevention
  • Managing self-harm
  • Ethical and legal issues
  • Mentally ill offenders in segregation
  • Diagnostics
  • Research
  • Treatment programs

According to Allen, ACHMA’s next scheduled meeting will include discussion about the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on local healthcare systems, effective release and reintegration planning with mentally ill offenders, and ACHMA workgroup presentations.
For more information about ACMHA, please visit their network in the Corrections Community. There you can subscribe for automatic updates via RSS and e-mail.

 

BJA Releases FY 12 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program: State Solicitation

BJA has released the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program (42 U.S.C. 3751(a)),  the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The JAG Program provides states and units of local governments with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs.

Click here to link to the ASCA Grants Network Grant Posting for this grant.

BJA Launches New Web Site

In March 2012, BJA launched its new web site, www.bja.gov. The site is full of new features and self-service options to enhance your visit. Among the new features:

  • My BJA—by registering for My BJA, you can receive information customized to your area of interest, such as effective/promising programs from CrimeSolutions.gov, upcoming events, and publications.
  • Events Near Me—search for events by city/state or zip code. The results will be rendered on a map on which you can click to get further details about a particular event. An enhanced search allows you to search specific dates and topic areas.
  • My Favorites—you can save content, which will appear when you log into your My BJA account.
  • Trending—quick access to hot topics.
  • I Want To—links to frequently accessed pages.


 

BJS Releases Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG), 2011

Th Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has released a report on Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program 2011

The report describes the steps used in the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) formula calculation process and presents summary results of the FY 2011 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 FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. In total, approximately $368.3 million was allocated for the FY 2011 JAG awards. Approximately $237.1 million was distributed to the states, $8.9 million to the territories and the District of Columbia, and $122.3 million to local governments.

Wisconsin DOC Signs Statement of Support for the National Guard and Reserve

Madison WI – Dick Vallin, Chair of the Wisconsin Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense, announced that Gary Hamblin, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections recently signed a Statement of Support for the National Guard and Reserve.  

The Statement of Support confirms that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections joins other employers in pledging that:

  • We fully recognize, honor and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • Our managers and supervisors will have the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
  • We will continually recognize and support our country’s service members and their families in peace, in crises and in war.
  • We appreciate the values, leadership and unique skills service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen, Reservists, and Veterans.

Click here for the full press release.

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:
www.cjinvolvedwomen.org

Help Protect Funding for the Second Chance Act

This week Congressman Howard Coble (R-NC-6), Danny Davis (D-IL-7) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are circulating letters in support of funding for Second Chance programs.  It is crucial that their letters reflect widespread national support for Second Chance. Please contact your Congressional delegation to urge that they sign onto the Davis-Coble letter in the House and the Leahy letter in the Senate in support of funding for the Second Chance Act in FY13.
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO

1.      Contact your Congressional Delegation TODAY to ask them to sign on to the Davis-Coble and Leahy letters in support of FY13 funding for Second Chance.
 
2.      Share this information with others in your state and community and enlist them to do the same.
 
TIMING


Congress is in the process of submitting their appropriations priorities for FY 2013. Please contact your members of Congress IMMEDIATELY and send a letter of support by visiting http://www.capwiz.com/csgjusticectr/home/ to ask them to make funding the Second Chance Act one of their top FY 2013 appropriations priorities and to sign on to the “Dear Colleague” letters.

BACKGROUND

The Second Chance Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law in April 2008. It is a common sense, evidence-based approach to improving outcomes for people returning to communities from prisons and jails. This first-of-its-kind legislation authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victims support, and other services that can help reduce recidivism. Recently, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2013 budget, allocating $80 million for the Second Chance Act.

National Reentry Resource Center March 12, 2012 Newsletter

The National Reentry Resource Center March 12, 2012 newsletter features and article from Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr describing how the agency has helped drive down Ohio's recidivism rate by realigning its policies to focus on reentry and advance the goals of Ohio's HB 86.  Other articles include information about New York City's "Work for Success" initiative to find jobs for formerly incarcerated individuals; reentry funding opportunities and reentry events and announcements.  Click here for the NRRC March newsletter.

BJA Launches Corrections Recruiting Website

A free resource tool for recruiting qualified personnel, DiscoverCorrections.com, is a website managed by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) in partnership with the American Correctional Association (ACA), American Jail Association (AJA), and Center for Innovative Public Policies (CIPP) through funding from BJA.

DiscoverCorrections.com enables you to:

  • Reach a local and national audience of informed, interested and qualified candidates
  • Present them with detailed information about your agency
  • Post your jobs to our jobs board
  • Search resumes of registered job seekers
  • And do it all for FREE


A promotional video providing an overview of the website can be found on Discover Corrections’ You Tube channel at http://youtu.be/CPSeuDBNqfk

Whether they are students or experienced professionals, and whether they’re interested in a traditional corrections career, or a non-traditional role such as Information Technology, Accounting or Human Resources, job seekers are finding DiscoverCorrections.com to be a valuable career tool, because it:

  • Identifies key advantages to a career in corrections
  • Presents an accurate and up-to-date description about the role and functions of various aspects of corrections (community corrections, jails and detention, prisons and institutions, and more)
  • Describes the wide range of jobs and career choices for potential employees
  • Summarizes the general requirements needed by applicants to join the profession
  • Highlights professionals who work in the field
  • Enables job seekers to search open jobs on our full-featured, corrections-specific job board

DiscoverCorrections.com is a powerful, FREE resource that exists to help you meet your recruitment challenges.



Logon to DiscoverCorrections.com today! www.DiscoverCorrections.com
Register your agency’s profile.
Post any relevant job openings within your agency.
We encourage you to forward this message to the appropriate individual(s) in your agency. 

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Tracy Mullins, Deputy Director, American Probation and Parole Association, email: tmullins@csg.org; phone: 859-244-8215.

Discover Corrections is managed by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) in partnership with the American Correctional Association (ACA), American Jail Association (AJA), and Center for Innovative Public Policies (CIPP).  This project was supported by Grant Nos. 2009-D2-BX-K004 and 2010-DJ-BX-K054 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.

Department of Justice, MacArthur Foundation Provide $2 Million to Support Juvenile Justice Reform

In a new private-public partnership, the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are jointly providing $2 million to support innovative and effective reforms in treatment and services for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.  Click here for the full story.

Opportunity to Improve Access to Treatment for Corrections Populations: Apply to be a Pilot Site for a New Justice Center/Department of Justice Initiative

Are you committed to increasing access to substance abuse treatment services for people tied up in the criminal justice system? Are you excited by the opportunity to lead the field in implementing new and innovative treatment strategies? Then join us for this webinar and learn how your agency can apply to be a pilot site for a new Council of State Governments Justice Center project to improve treatment access for corrections populations.

People in jails and prisons have high rates of drug dependence and abuse, and few receive treatment while incarcerated or in the community. Eliminating the barriers to effective community-based substance abuse treatment is an important factor in addressing addiction and reducing criminal justice involvement.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance has funded the Council of State Governments Justice Center, in partnership with NIATx at the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies, to implement the Bringing NIATx to Corrections project to help jurisdictions design new and innovative ways to provide access to treatment for corrections populations.

The Bringing NIATx to Corrections project applies the nationally recognized NIATx process improvement model to corrections, community supervision, and treatment agencies. This is the first time this research-based model has been applied in this way. It is our hope that it will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these agencies’ partnerships—and, as a result, increase the number of people who are referred to and participate in treatment.

Join us on Wednesday, January 18th from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ET for a webinar to learn more about how your jurisdiction can apply to be a part of this exciting new project. The webinar will review the NIATx model and what jurisdictions can expect as a pilot site. We will also review application criteria. To access the application materials, please click here.

Speakers include:

  • Alexa Eggleston, J.D., Program Director, Substance Abuse, Council of State Governments Justice Center
  • Kim Johnson. Co-Deputy Director, NIATx National Program Office, Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS) at the University of Wisconsin- Madison

Click here to register for the webinar.

NIC Request for Gender Responsive Policy Survey

NIC is Requesting Your Help! Gender Responsive Policy Survey

The National Institute of Corrections needs your assistance.  Please complete the survey in the link below to assist NIC in gathering information to support jurisdictions working with justice involved women (defined as women in a pre-trial status, in jail, prison or supervised in the community).  The goal of the survey is to identify and inform development of gender responsive policies for women involved with the criminal justice system. One of the most common requests for technical assistance at NIC relates to gender responsive policy development.  Findings from this survey will be used to inform the development of a policy bulletin on gender responsive policies.  If you are not working with women directly but know of a colleague who is, please share this message with them.

Contingent upon responses and with your permission, NIC may select sample polices from various jurisdictions to present to other stakeholders as exemplars. Please be assured that providing your contact information is optional and is for follow up purposes only.  It will not be shared with anyone outside of the research team.

If you have any questions about this project, please direct them to Erica King at ericahking@gmail.com. Thank you.

Take survey here

 

BJA NTTAC December 2011 Newslatter - Pretrial Release

The pretrial release decision is meant to provide due process to those accused of crime, as well as secure defendants for trial and protect victims, witnesses, and the community from threat, danger, or interference. Unfortunately, pretrial practices throughout the country can sometimes result in the unnecessary and expensive detention of low-risk individuals before trial. Informed, reasonable, and constitutional pretrial release decision making among all relevant criminal justice stakeholders is imperative to a just and effective criminal justice system.
 
This month, the Bureau of Justice Assistance's National Training and Technical Assistance Center (BJA's NTTAC) newsletter will provide information on federal, state, and local initiatives, as well as training and technical assistance resources available through BJA's NTTAC, in support of fair and effective pretrial release policies and practices.

Click here for the December 2011 BJA NTTAC Newsletter.

Corrections Evaluates Both Private And Public Prisons

© 2011 AzJournal.com, Holbrook, Ariz.

By Teri Walker–

By and large, Arizona’s privately run prisons are offering comparable services at comparable costs to prisons run by the state, according to a Department of Corrections (DOC) report issued last week.

In the first review of its kind, the DOC found that four of the state’s six private prisons evaluated offer a comparable quality of service to that provided by a state-run prison unit, and only one of the state’s private prisons offered less services than a state-run facility for roughly the same cost.

In spite of a law being on the books for more than a decade requiring the DOC to issue a biennial comparison of private vs. public prison operations, the 2011 report is the first of its kind issued by the department.

Click here to view the complete article.

Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson Announces Departure from Office of Justice Programs

WASHINGTON - The Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Laurie Robinson, announced today that she would be leaving her position at the end of February. Assistant Attorney General Robinson was confirmed by the Senate in November, 2009. She previously served for nearly seven years as assistant attorney general for OJP during the 1990s, making her the longest-serving head in the agency's 44-year history.

Click here for the full press release.

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.

The December National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter

The December issue of the National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter features an article about the December 8 Forum on Recidivism, Reentry Center Highlights,Funding Opportunities and Events and Announcements.  Click here for the NRRC December Newsletter.

National Center for Youth in Custody Seeks Program Director

The National Center for Youth in Custody (NC4YC) is seeking a program director. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention created NC4YC in 2010 to improve and reform youth detention and correction facilities and adult facilities housing youthful offenders.

The program director will manage the activities of the center, including collaborations and communications with partner organizations, reviewing and responding to requests for technical assistance, representing NC4YC at conferences across the nation, maintaining the center’s Web site, and more.

Send letters of interest and resumes to: Darlene Conroy, Administrative Assistant, Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, 170 Forbes Road, Braintree, MA 02184, or emailed to Darlene.Conroy@cjca.net.

Resources:

To learn more about NC4YC, visit www.nc4yc.org.

Read the job announcement online at http://nc4yc.org/about-us/career-opportunities.html.

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.

Cut Recidivism, Slash Spending - By: Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Rob Portman

December 13, 2011 09:29 PM EST

 The American people are rightly frustrated by Washington’s partisan bickering.

With every passing day, there seem fewer issues where Republicans and Democrats can find common ground. But when it comes to high recidivism rates among released prisoners, elected officials from both parties agree: We can pursue smart policies that drastically reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses. This can make our communities safer and reduce costs for our criminal justice system, saving money for taxpayers.

Nearly 700,000 inmates are released from state and federal prison every year. Yet nearly 50 percent are reincarcerated within three years, according to the Justice Department. The impact on our society from this recidivism is clear, and not new: lost opportunity, more crime and communities in crisis.

But high rates of return to prison also affect the bottom lines of state governments during difficult financial times. From 1988 to 2008, state spending on corrections rose faster than spending on nearly any other budget item — more than quadrupling from $12 billion to $52 billion a year.

The Second Chance Act, which passed Congress in 2008 with significant bipartisan support, created a national framework for federal, state and local governments to take on prisoners’ re-entry into the larger community and ensure fiscally sound corrections policies. These tough economic times demand nothing less.

Click here for the full Statement from Senators Portman and Whitehouse

NIJ Conducting Nationwide Search to Fill Deputy Director Position

NIJ is conducting a nationwide search for candidates for a newly created position - Deputy Director of the National Institute of Justice - to help oversee and lead the activities, programs, and operations of NIJ's three science offices - The Office of Science and Technology; Office of Research and Evaluation; and Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences. NIJ is seeking candidates who are first and foremost a scientist with expert authority in a social science, physical science, forensic science, or technology specialty field. Candidates must have a Ph.D. and extremely strong management skills and a vigorous commitment to diffusing research knowledge.

Open period for applying to this position ends January 16, 2012.

For more information and to apply, view the listing on USAJOBS.gov.

DOJ Press Release on the National Forum on Recidivism Held December 8, 2011

National Forum Examines Strategies for Improving, Reducing Cost of Prisoner Reentry

The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today sponsored a forum of 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.

“In this time of economic challenges, we must continue to use every tool and strategy at our disposal to protect the American people while reducing costs to taxpayers,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Today’s national forum demonstrates the Justice Department’s firm commitment to working with its partners in the states and non-governmental organizations to improve public safety by supporting efforts to assist formerly incarcerated people as they return to their communities to become productive members of our society.”

In partnership with the Council of State Governments, the Association of State Correctional Administrators, the Public Welfare Foundation and the Pew Center on the States, OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is working with all 50 states to identify and pursue cost-effective strategies on their investments in public safety.   Following today’s forum, participants will begin setting measurable goals for reducing recidivism; creating plans to achieve these goals by drawing on the latest research and experiences from the field; and identifying benchmarks state and federal policymakers can use to track progress.

Click here for the full Press Release.

Mississippi Commissioner Chris Epps Named 2011 Francke Awardee

At its annual awards dinner on December 3rd, 2011 in Aurora, CO, the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) honored Christopher B. Epps, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, as the outstanding Director of Corrections for 2011.

The award is presented annually to recognize the outstanding ASCA member, and that member's dedication and achievements.  ASCA established the award in 1992, to celebrate Michael Francke's contribution to the field of Corrections and his support of ASCA.  In 1989, while Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, Michael Francke was murdered as he left his office in Salem.  In 1991, a former Oregon inmate was convicted of his murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Morris Thigpen, Director of the National Institute of Corrections and recipient of the first Francke Award in 1992, announced the award noting that Commissioner Epps has had a distinguished career in corrections spanning close to 30 years.  Mr. Thigpen described him as a visionary who knows how to project his ideas in order to achieve them, adding that his deep commitment to public service has made a positive difference for the state, his many professional affiliations, the corrections community and countless other organizations.

Click here for the full Press Release

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.

Next Generation Justice Information Sharing Policy Academy

National Governors' Association's Center for Best Practices has released their RFP for the Next Generation Justice Information Sharing Policy Academy.  NGA will be hosting a bidder's conference call for interested states Wednesday, November 9 at 11:00 AM EST.  The conference call details and RFP are in this attached document

If you have questions, please contact Anne-Elizabeth Johnson at:

Anne-Elizabeth Johnson, J.D.
Policy Analyst
Homeland Security and Public Safety
NGA Center for Best Practices
Phone: (202) 624-7854
Fax: (202) 624-7825

October 2011 ASCA Corrections Directions Newsletter

The October 2011 ASCA Corrections Directions Newsletter is dedicated to Reentry and Recidivism Reduction.  It also features a recap of the Summer Committee and Business Meetings in Kissimmee, FL and the Louie Wainwright Award winner, former Oklahoma Director Larry Fields.  Click here for the Corrections Directions Newsletter. 

States Seek New Sentencing and Corrections Practices as Costs Rise

WASHINGTON—States are reforming sentencing and corrections practices in an attempt to reduce costs as they continue to face a difficult fiscal climate. State Efforts in Sentencing and Corrections Reform, a new issue brief released today by the National Governors Association (NGA), outlines effective strategies states can use to reduce spending while maintaining or improving public safety.

State Efforts in Sentencing and Corrections Reform
examines how states can significantly curtail corrections spending by reducing the number of nonviolent and low-risk individuals going to prison; moving offenders who can be safely managed outside prison sooner; and keeping ex-offenders out of prison through improved prisoner reentry practices. The brief also highlights evidence-based practices that states can use to create more effective and cost efficient corrections systems.

“The growth of prison populations within the last 25 years has resulted in spending increases that states can no longer ignore as they struggle to balance budgets,” said David Moore, director of the NGA Center for Best Practices. “This issue brief gives states a valuable analysis of strategies that have decreased costs and that will help them improve public safety.”

Using state examples to highlight best practices, State Efforts in Sentencing and Corrections Reform:

  • Provides an overview of the cost drivers behind corrections expenditures;
  • Identifies critical decision-points for states to consider as they take action to reduce costs;
  • Examines challenges to enacting reforms; and
  • Makes recommendations for states wanting to improve public safety with fewer resources.

This publication was supported by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project.

Oct 19, 2011 Second Chance Act Funding Update

Washington, DC - This week, the Senate began considering the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which is now part of H.R. 2112, a bill that combines three appropriations bills into one.  H.R. 2112 includes $9 million for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Program (MIOTCRA), but no funding for the Second Chance Act or Justice Reinvestment.  In contrast, the House’s FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies spending bill includes $9.9 million for MIOTCRA, $70 million for the Second Chance Act, and $6 million for Justice Reinvestment.

It is crucial that the field respond quickly with letters to the Hill to ensure that the Second Chance Act is funded in FY 2012.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please contact your members of Congress and send a letter of support by clicking here.  If you would like to personalize your letter with examples from your state or community, please email Jay Nelson at CSG an MS Word version of the sample letter.
  • Sign the National Second Chance Act Sign-on Letter.  Join the hundreds of state, local, and community organizations that have already signed a letter to key Congressional leaders to protect the funding for this critical prisoner reentry program. To add your organization, email Jay Nelson at CSG.
  • Visit the Justice Center’s Second Chance Act page to access talking points, fact sheets, a list of Second Chance Act grantees, and additional information.
  • Share this information and ask your colleagues and friends to help protect funding for the Second Chance Act.

The Senate and House are working on FY 2012 funding now, so it is imperative that you contact your members of Congress as soon as possible.

The National Institute of Justice Awarded $207 Million in 2011 Grants

In fiscal year 2011, NIJ awarded 387 grants and cooperative agreements for a total of approximately $207 million. Awards were made in response to 32 solicitations. View a list of all 2011 awards.

Letter from Congress Regarding the December 8 Forum on Reentry and Recidivism

Congressman Frank Wolf (R, VA, and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Appropriations for Justice, Science, and Commerce) and Chaka Fatah (D, PA and Ranking Member of the same subcommittee) have sent a letter to ASCA President A.T. Wall that reinforces the importance of the Forum and the value that your participation will bring to future policy and legislation.  Click here to download the letter from Congress.

Arrest Trends Nationwide Detailed

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a report detailing new annual estimates of arrests in the United States covering the 30-year period from 1980 through 2009. Arrest in the United States, 1980-2009 is based on data collected by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, and expands the FBI's set of published arrest estimates to include offense-specific arrest estimates for various demographic subgroups. The detailed breakdown of arrests and arrest trends describes the flow of individuals into the criminal justice system over a long time period. The estimates by type of offense reveal similarities and differences among demographic subgroups that may provide policymakers, researchers, the media and the public a greater understanding of the underlying causes for the observed arrest trends. Also available from BJS is an arrest data analysis tool that permits data users to analyze 30-year national arrest trends.

BJA Announces 2011 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Grantees

The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has named its 2011 grantees under the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), which was authorized by the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004 (MIOTCRA).

The 2011 grantees represent 40 jurisdictions from 35 states and territories. Of these, nine communities received planning grants with a maximum award of $50,000 for 12 months. 27 received planning and implementation grants, with a maximum award of $250,000 for 30 months. Six communities received expansion grants, with a maximum award of $200,000 for 24 months. All grants required a joint application from a mental health agency and the unit of government responsible for criminal and/or juvenile justice activities.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center's Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project will provide technical assistance to the new grantees.

This is the seventh round of grantees funded through MIOTCRA. Through funds appropriated in FY2010, BJA awarded 62 grants in 39 states. Through funds appropriated in FY2009, BJA awarded 43 grants in 30 states under JMHCP. Through funds appropriated in FY 2008, BJA awarded 23 grants in 18 states (and Guam) under the JMHCP. Read more about previous JMHCP grantees on the Consensus Project’s local programs database.

Office of Justice Programs Announces 2011 Second Chance Act Grantees

Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that 118 programs have been selected to receive funding in 2011 under the Second Chance Act (SCA). Grantees include both local and state governments and nonprofit organizations.

The selection process was highly competitive. According to Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, DOJ received more than 1,000 applications for Second Chance funding this year.
These grant awards are posted at the Office of Justice Programs web site

  • Fiscal Year 2011 Grant Awards Office of Justice Programs' program grants funded through the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2010, Public Law 111-117. Click here to view all the awards ordered by state, and here to view all the awards ordered by solicitation title.

To see the list of Second Chance Act grant recipients, click on one of the specific grant tracks listed below.

Mentoring Grants

Funding under this section helps nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes implement mentoring projects to promote the safe and successful reintegration into the community of adults and juveniles who have been incarcerated.

Demonstration Grants

Funding under this section helps state and local agencies implement projects and strategies to reduce recidivism and ensure the safe and successful reentry of adults and juveniles released from prisons, jails, or youth detention facilities back to the community.

Family-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Grants

Funding under this section helps state and local government agencies and federally recognized Indian tribes establish or enhance residential substance abuse treatment projects in correctional facilities that include family supportive services.

Adult Offenders with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

This section’s funding helps state and local government agencies and federally recognized Indian tribes establish or enhance residential substance abuse treatment programs in correctional facilities that include aftercare and recovery supportive services.

Reentry Courts

This section’s funding helps state and local government agencies and federally recognized Indian tribes establish state, local, and tribal reentry courts monitor offenders and provide them with the treatment services necessary to establish a self-sustaining and law-abiding life.

Technology Careers

Funding under this section helps state and local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes to establish programs to train individuals in prisons, jails, or juvenile residential facilities for technology-based jobs and careers during the three-year period before their release.

In addition to these awards, other reentry research and technical assistance Second Chance Act awards were announced.

IJIS Institute Job Positions Available

The IJIS Institute is currently looking for qualified applicants to fill two job openings.
Click here for the job description for a Project Manager for SAVIN Programs.
Click here for the job description for a Project Manager for Training & Technology Assistance Programs.

Attorney General Holder Convenes Federal Reentry Council

Attorney General Eric Holder convened the second meeting of the federal interagency Reentry Council on September 27, 2011 to address ways to ensure those returning from prison become productive, law-abiding citizens.

The federal Reentry Council meeting was attended by Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes. In addition to those agencies, the Federal Reentry Council, which meets semi-annually, also includes representatives from the Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and several other federal agencies. Its mission is to reduce recidivism and victimization; assist those returning from prison, jail or juvenile facilities to become productive citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.

Click here for the full press release about the Reentry Council meeting.

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

Program
FY10
FY11
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.

Performance Based Measures System: What Really Counts in Corrections?

 

Information about the national automated Performance-Based Measures System (PBMS) was provided during a broadcast on September 14, 2011. PBMS is an accurate, consistent system to capture, record, report and share data between correctional agencies created by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA).  The panels described the scope and development of PBMS regarding how specific needs give rise to PBMS solutions; described the key components of PBMS; examined the benefits of using the PBMS during and Evidenced Based Practice decision making process; and identified available resources that support implementation of PBMS.

Click here to download the webcast video.

During the broadcast, participants were encouraged to submit questions to the panel but not all questions were addressed during the broadcast.  Click here to download the responses to those questions.  ASCA has created a forum to continue the dialog about PBMS.  If you are able to sign into the ASCA web pages, sign in and click the link to the forum to post your comments and questions.  If you are not able to sign in, send your comments or questions to pbms-support@asca.net.

September 14, 2011 PBMS Broadcast Forum. 
Click here to view forum responses in the Forum Posts Section.

NIJ InShort: Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism

NIJ has released a new InShort that examines research on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring in reducing recidivism in community supervision.

NIJ InShort: Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism (pdf, 4 pages)
A summary of “A Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Electronic Monitoring” by William Bales, et al.

The study, which examined data gathered from supervisees in Florida between 2001 and 2007, found that electronic monitoring reduces offenders’ risk of failing to meet the terms of their probation and monitoring by 31 percent.

Read the full research report.

Jim Burch Named OJP Deputy Assistant Attorney General

BJA is pleased to announce that Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson has selected Jim Burch as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Operations and Management for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Jim leaves a long and proud legacy behind him at BJA and his strong leadership and passion for our mission have made BJA the extraordinary bureau it is today.

Jim has dedicated his professional career, which includes nearly 17 years at OJP, to bringing state, local, and tribal needs and understanding to the forefront of our efforts and, as a result, serving local justice and public safety in a more responsive and responsible manner. In his roles as Deputy Director for Policy and as Acting Director at BJA, Jim oversaw efforts designed to provide leadership in criminal justice policy, training, and technical assistance and to further the administration of justice. Jim's vision has made BJA an important force for the development and implementation of evidenced-based criminal justice policy and has focused on our core grant-management responsibilities that have resulted in more responsible grants management and improved responsiveness to our grantees.

Jim's most notable accomplishments include leading BJA in its administration of over $2 billion in Recovery Act funding, substantially increasing BJA's communications efforts, and expanding BJA's performance management efforts, including the creation and launch of "GrantStat," a CompStat-like strategy to improve program performance and accountability. The relationships Jim has encouraged and fostered over the years continue to benefit all of us.

"Much of what BJA has accomplished in recent years is due to the vision and leadership of Jim Burch," said Denise O'Donnell, BJA's Director. "Although Jim's loss will leave a huge void at BJA, we are confident that his extraordinary abilities will benefit the entire OJP family."

August 2011 National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter

The August 2011 National Reentry Resource Center newsletter includes information about the September 8 webinar, Recidivism Reduction, Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders: What Does Evidence and Practice Tell Us?, information about a New York Foundation funding opportunity for Prisoner Reentry; and an article on "An Integrated, Evidence-Based Approach to Recidivism Reduction in Kennebec County, Maine."  Click here for the August 2011 National Reentry Center newsletter.

New Hepatitis C Treatment Protocol

The Delaware Department of Corrections Medical Director, Dr. Spencer Epps, made a presentation Hepatitis C Treatment in Corrections: New Medicine, New Challenges at the August 6, 2011 Research and Best Practices Committee meeting about the proposed changes in the Hepatitis C treatment protocol that can have a significant impact on correctional agencies' inmate medical costs.  The new protocol is recommended as more successful treatment for those who do not respond to the current Hepatitis C treatment but at a significantly higher cost.  Click here to view Dr. Epp's presentation.

Dr. Epps contact information is:

Spencer Epps, MD, MBA
Medical Director
Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services
Department of Correction, State of Delaware
Telephone #: (302) 857-5395
Fax #: (302) 857-5496
Email: spencer.epps@state.de.us

Interstate Data Sharing Becomes a Reality for Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

BJA is pleased to announce that the Kentucky and Ohio Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) have officially launched the electronic Prescription Monitoring Information Exchange (PMIX). The goal of PMIX—made possible through funding from BJA's Harold Rogers Prescription Monitoring Program—is to help states implement a cost effective technology solution to facilitate interstate data sharing between PDMPs.

The Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system and the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) have been the leaders in testing and now implementing PMIX in collaboration with BJA, the IJIS Institute, the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs, and other state PDMPs. PMIX, designed and implemented with the input and participation of state PDMP administrators, is an inclusive solution that enables national interoperability while remaining entirely under the control of the state PDMPs.

PMIX has delivered the tools and standards to build the capacity for states to easily and efficiently share data across state boundaries. The specific technology used significantly reduces the cost and effort that would be required to implement a communications link with every single exchange partner state. This single link allows a state PDMP to process a request for information from one of its authorized users to additional states via a single query that is seamless to the user. Throughout the transaction, the PMIX "hub" retains no prescription or confidential data whatsoever, thus protecting each state's ability to control access to its own data, as well as the privacy and confidentiality rights of data that resides within the PDMP systems.

State adoption of PMIX and thereby the ability to request data from another state, especially a border state, will help stop those who have taken advantage of the lack of information sharing across jurisdictional boundaries, and result in an enhanced and more effective tool for health care providers and law enforcement to prevent and detect prescription drug abuse through PDMPs. BJA is committed to fully implementing PMIX and ensuring state PDMPs receive funding, training, and technical assistance to expand interstate data sharing.

To learn more about PMIX and PDMPs and to request technical assistance, visit www.bja.gov/grant/prescripdrugs.html.

New Office To Coordinate Tribal and Federal Alcohol and Substance Abuse Efforts

On July 29, 2011, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Attorney General Eric Holder signed a memorandum of agreement to combat alcohol and substance abuse among American Indian/Alaska Native tribes by establishing a office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The new Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse, created as a result of the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, will coordinate the efforts of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities and federal agencies to address alcohol and substance abuse.

As part of its substance abuse efforts, the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse will emphasize programs geared toward reaching youth and offering alternatives to incarceration.

Facebook Works with California to Close Inmate Accounts

Facebook is partnering with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation after an inmate convicted of child molesting viewed the Facebook page of his victim from prison. The victim, who is 17, was 10 when she was molested. The convict looked at Facebook and MySpace photos to see what she currently looks like. He then mailed drawings of her (including her current hairstyle) to her family. Facebook says it's going to help the state take inmates' illegal pages down. Although most prisoners do not have access to the Internet, many are accessing the social networking site through smuggled cell phones. California prison officials say they've received hundreds of complaints from victims who say they were contacted by prisoners through social media.  Click here to link to the full story.

OJP Financial Guide

The OJP Financial Guide is the primary reference to assist award recipients in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to safeguard grant funds and ensure funds are used for the purposes for which they were awarded.

OJP encourages you to:

On The Chopping Block: State Prison Closings

The Sentencing Project releases a new report, On the Chopping Block: State Prison Closings. The report finds that at least 13 states have closed or are considering closing correctional facilities this year, reversing a 40-year trend of prison expansion.

These closings will reduce prison capacity by over 13,900 beds.  Leading the nation are New York State, which is considering a reduction of 3,800 beds, and Texas, with plans for a decline of 2,139 beds. Other states that are closing prisons are Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.  

The full report, On the Chopping Block: State Prison Closings, includes a comprehensive chart on state closings.

CSG Justice Center Releases Guide for Transforming Probation Departments to Focus on Recidivism Reduction

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center announced today the release of a guide for policymakers committed to reducing the likelihood that probationers will reoffend. A Ten-Step Guide to Transforming Probation Departments to Reduce Recidivism provides probation leaders with a roadmap to overhaul the operations of their agencies so they can increase public safety in their communities and improve rates of compliance among people they are supervising.  Click here to download the report.

The first section describes how officials can engage key stakeholders, evaluate agency policies, and develop a strategic plan for implementing reform; the second section provides recommendations for redesigning departmental policies and practices; and the final section includes steps for making the department transformation permanent. The report provides numerous examples of how these steps were used in one probation department in particular (Travis County, Texas). Since transforming its operations between 2005 and 2008, the Travis County probation department has seen felony probation revocations decline by 20 percent and the one-year re-arrest rate for probationers fall by 17 percent (compared with similar probationers before the departmental overhaul).

Geraldine Nagy, Director of Travis County’s adult probation department and one of the authors of the report, said, “Probation leaders across the country share the conviction that probation administrators play a key role in community safety. In Travis County, we’ve made preventing crime and reducing reoffending the focus of our mission statement. Everyone, at all levels of our agency, along with judicial leaders, sees recidivism reduction as our shared and topmost priority. The Ten-Step Guide captures the key lessons we learned in reforming our agency.”

While probation officials in every state are experiencing cuts to their budgets, the number of people they are supervising is increasing. According to a recent study by the Pew Center on the States, more than five million people are currently on probation or parole in the U.S., representing an increase of 59 percent over the past 20 years. Facing high expectations and intense public scrutiny, probation officials should revisit their agency’s goals, processes, and measures for success. The Ten-Step Guide is designed for these community corrections officials and policymakers responsible for funding and overseeing probation.

North Carolina State Representative David Guice (R-Transylvania County), who is a member of the board of the CSG Justice Center and worked as a probation officer for over 30 years, said, "As a member of my state’s General Assembly, I worked diligently with fellow lawmakers to author legislation to overhaul the probation system across North Carolina. I believe it's important to realize how state governments can position probation staff to go beyond 'trailing and nailing' probationers who don't comply with conditions of release, and actually work to change behaviors among this population so they commit fewer crimes. The Ten-Step Guide is a critical tool for any state lawmaker who wants to help accomplish these same goals in their state."

Work on the guide was supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project, Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Community Justice Assistance Division, and the Travis County (TX) Community Supervision and Corrections Department.

National Institute of Justice Updates and Expands the Reentry Into Society Web Pages

The National Institute of Justice has updated and expanded the Reentry Into Society web pages on NIJ.gov.  Included are:

 Click here to view NIJ Topics A-Z.

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.

Many Inmates Don't Finish Time

Ken Fibbe / Times Record News

After a sentencing, ask someone how long they think that person will actually serve in prison, and most people will generally say "about half."

According to the most recent 2010 Texas Department of Criminal Justice report, that estimate isn't too far off.

Of those released from Texas state prisons during the 2010 fiscal year, the report stated the average sentenced length was 19.2 years for all inmates. But, on average, 58 percent of that sentence, or just over 11 years, was actually served.

Click here to view the complete article.

States: Death-penalty Drug Scramble, Higher Cost

States not only are having an increasingly difficult time getting the injectable drugs to carry out death sentences, they're also paying as much as 10 times more for the chemicals as in years past.

Ohio only has 40 grams of pentobarbital, enough for seven executions scheduled through February, meaning a likely scramble to find enough for the four scheduled beyond that.

Click here to view the complete article.

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.”

National Jail Leadership and Succession Planning Resource Center Now Open

The Center for Innovative Public Policies, Inc., the American Jail Association and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, Sam Houston State University are very proud to announce the opening of the National Jail Leadership and Succession Planning Resource Center.  Here is an overview.

  • www.LeadingJails.com  – Introducing the National Jail Leadership and Succession Planning Resource Center.  This one-stop site for information about jail leadership provides a variety of tools for jail professionals – not only the directors/wardens or sheriffs, but also those seeking to further their own professional development.  The site include:
    • a description of the crisis in jail leadership;
    • all materials for a jail to develop a leadership mentoring program;
    • the core competencies and associated skills, knowledge and abilities for jail leaders; and
    • a resource library with more than 400 documents and a “leadership planner” that allows a jail to plug in their employee demographic data and be directed to various leadership development strategies based on this data.
       
  • Core Competencies of Jail Leaders – these 22 competencies were derived from the research and from the hard work and deliberations of 20 jail professionals who served as an advisory panel.  This work can be seen at: http://cipp.org/jail/Final%2006%2006%202011%20BJA-Jails_mentoring-Core_competencies.pdf and at http://www.scuvelier.info/leadingjails/main.html#app=6efb&d76e-selectedIndex=2
    • The work also identifies the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) associated with each of the core competencies.  The KSAs are a further refinement of the core competencies, making them more useful to jails, as well as serving as the foundation for the mentoring program.
    • Literature Review – the document review provides insight into many elements of leadership in the public and private sector, and helped guide the work.
  • Jail Leadership Mentoring Program – available at www.leadingjails.com  Jail mentoring program materials developed by AJA include:
    • a Mentee Handbook;
    • a Mentor Handbook; and
    • an Administrative Manual. 

The goal was to provide a mentoring opportunity for graduates of the National Jail Leadership Command Academy (NJLCA) as well as produce a toolkit for jails who did not have graduates in the Command Academy.  This has been achieved, and the bases for the mentorship program are the core competencies.  AJA has taken the lead on this project and will continue to refine the program as they match new graduates of the NJLCA with previous graduates – to enhance and sharpen the leadership skills of both participants.

Minnesota Department of Corrections Continues to Operate During Government Shutdown

St. Paul – The suspension of government services will not significantly impact the ability of the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) to safely incarcerate and supervise offenders in the immediate future.

On Wednesday, Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled that incarcerating offenders in state prisons and supervising offenders on parole are critical services that should not be halted during a government shutdown. Judge Gearin authorized the DOC to keep 85 percent of its workforce on the job during the government shutdown.   Click here for the full Minnesota DOC press release.

NCCD Announces the National Resource Center for the Elimination of Prison Rape

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) today announced the launch of the National Resource Center for the Elimination of Prison Rape (the Center).  Established through a cooperative agreement between the Bureau of Justice Assistance and NCCD, the Center will serve as the national source for online and direct support, training, technical assistance, and research to assist adult and juvenile corrections, detention, and law enforcement professionals in their ongoing work to eliminate sexual assault in confinement.  Click here for the full press release.

HUD Director Encourages Public Housing Authorities to Grant Access to People with Criminal Records

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Director Shaun Donovan sent a letter last week to executive directors of public housing authorities (PHAs) clarifying HUD’s position regarding people with criminal record’s eligibility for public housing. In the letter, which was co-signed by Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra B. Henriquez, Secretary Donovan encourages PHA executive directors “to allow ex-offenders to rejoin their families in the Public Housing or Housing Choice Voucher programs, when appropriate.”

To view this important letter, click here.

“Housing is at the top of the list of what people need to succeed when they return from prison,” said Oklahoma Director of Corrections (and CSG Justice Center board member) Justin Jones. “We are very excited by this news in Oklahoma. It will contribute to public safety by helping people released from prison find a safe, affordable place to live.”

PHA executive directors generally have discretion whether or not to admit people with criminal records to public housing. The only circumstances under which a PHA is required by law to ban a person from federally assisted housing is if he or she was convicted of methamphetamine production on the premises or is subject to a lifetime registration as a sex offender.

The letter from Secretary Donovan and Assistant Secretary Henriquez is one of several efforts by the federal government that demonstrates its commitment to prisoner reentry issues. Under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, various federal agencies have come together as the Federal Interagency Reentry Council. To learn more about the Reentry Council, click here.

"As President Obama recently made clear, this is an Administration that believes in the importance of second chances - that people who have paid their debt to society deserve the opportunity to become productive citizens and caring parents, to set the past aside and embrace the future,” Secretary Donovan and Assistant Secretary Heriquez wrote. “Part of that support means helping ex-offenders gain access to one of the most fundamental building blocks of a stable life - a place to live.”

Death penalty costs California $184 million a year, study says

A senior judge and law professor examine rising costs of the program. Without major reforms, they conclude, capital punishment will continue to exist mostly in theory while exacting an untenable cost.

Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California since it was reinstated in 1978, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then, according to a comprehensive analysis of the death penalty's costs.

The examination of state, federal and local expenditures for capital cases, conducted over three years by a senior federal judge and a law professor, estimated that the additional costs of capital trials, enhanced security on death row and legal representation for the condemned adds $184 million to the budget each year.

Click here to view the complete article.

Radical Islam spreading in US prisons: lawmakers

WASHINGTON — US prisons are becoming a hotbed for indoctrinating inmates and turning them into radical Muslims, US lawmakers were told Wednesday in the second of a series of controversial hearings. "Despite appearances, prison walls are porous. Outside influences access those on the inside, and inmates reach from the inside out," Patrick Dunleavy, a retired New York prison inspector, told US lawmakers. "Individuals and groups that subscribe to radical Islamic ideology have made sustained efforts to target inmates for indoctrination." He was addressing a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Representative Peter King, whose first session in March on Muslim radicalization in the United States drew accusations of a religious witch hunt.

Click here to view the complete article.


The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs Launches New Web Site

 

On June 22, 2011, the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) launched www.crimesolutions.gov. This new web site is a central, credible resource to inform practitioners and policymakers about what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services. The site includes information on more than 145 justice-related programs and assigns "evidence ratings"—effective, promising, or no effects—to indicate whether there is evidence from research that a program achieves its goals.

"We all have tight budgets today. CrimeSolutions.gov helps us take a 'smart on crime' approach that relies on data-driven, evidence-based analysis to identify and replicate justice-related programs that have shown real results in preventing and reducing crime and serving crime victims," explained Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General.

CrimeSolutions.gov is a searchable online database of evidence-based programs covering a range of justice-related topics, including corrections; courts; crime prevention; substance abuse; juveniles; law enforcement; technology and forensics; and victims. The site is a tool to understand, access, and integrate scientific evidence about programs into programmatic and policy decisions.

The new web site is part of the Evidence Integration Initiative (E2I) launched by Assistant Attorney General Robinson in 2009. The Initiative's three goals are improving the quantity and quality of evidence OJP generates; integrating evidence into program, practice, and policy decisions within OJP and the field; and improving the translation of evidence into practice.

Senators Leahy and Portman Introduce Second Chance Act Reauthorization Bill

This week Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2011. First passed in 2007, the Second Chance Act provides resources to states, local governments and nonprofit organization to improve outcomes for people returning to communities from prisons and jails.

The reauthorization bill:

  • Continues targeted funding for reentry programs at the state and local level to reduce recidivism;
  • Helps ensure that reentry projects use methods proven through testing and review to lead to meaningful reductions in recidivism rates;
  • Provides funding for the implementation of best practices in prison and jail education;
  • Enables nonprofit organizations to apply for grants for programs promoting family-based substance abuse treatment and technology career training; and
  • Requires periodic audits of grantees to ensure that federal dollars are responsibly spent.

Click here to view the Second Chance Reauthorization Act.  Click here to view a summary of the bill.
Click here to view materials about the bill and a press release from Senator Leahy's Office.
Click here to view a press release from Senator Portman's Office.
Click here for the National Letter of Support for the bill.

Wyoming Partners with Recovery Health Network to Provide Reentry Resources

The Wyoming Department of Corrections and the Recovery Network, a non-profit organization in California, have partnered to support offenders wh need assistance with reentry resources.

The partnership, developed in February of this year and the first one in the nation, provides offenders who are in the process of being released into the community with a prescription card to financially assist them with aquiring essential medications.

The card can help individuals save a significant amount on their medications.  The Recovery Health Network Medication Card is meant to provide offenders with discounted prescription drug benefits, laboratory tests and imaging services to support the continuity of care for inmates being released.

Click here for more information about the partnership program

Time Article Features Mississippi Commissioner Chris Epps

A June 10, 2011 Time On-line article features Mississippi Commissioner Chris Epps talking about Mississippi's efforts to control prison population growth.  Click here to link to the article.

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.

Supreme Court Backs Cuts in California Prison Population

The Supreme Court narrowly endorsed reducing California's cramped prison population by more than 30,000 inmates to fix sometimes deadly problems in medical care, ruling that federal judges retain enormous power to oversee troubled state prisons.  Click here for the full story.

States Seeking New Registries for Criminals

Lawmakers around the country are pushing for online registries, like those used for sex offenders, to track the whereabouts of people convicted of a wide variety of crimes, from arson and drunken driving to methamphetamine manufacturing and animal abuse.  Click here for the full article.

State Criminal Aliens Assistance Program (SCAAP) Application Opens

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is pleased to announce the opening of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) application period. SCAAP is a U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to provide federal payments to states and localities that incurred correctional officer salary costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens with at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions for violations of state or local law, and incarcerated for at least 4 consecutive days during a reporting period

Click here to view the solicitation guidelines!

How to Apply for SCAAP Funds
The SCAAP application period will be open from May 16–June 27, 2011. Only applications submitted through the electronic Grants Management System will be eligible for consideration.

All states and local units of government that have authority over correctional facilities that incarcerated or detained undocumented criminal aliens for a minimum of 4 consecutive days are eligible to apply for SCAAP funds. States and local units of general government include the 50 state governments, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the more than 3,000 counties and cities with correctional facilities.

For additional questions regarding the SCAAP application process, visit www.bja.gov/grant/scaap.html or contact BJA at scaap@usdoj.gov.

HHS Issues New Viral Hepatitis Action Plan

 

On May 12, 2011, HHS issued   Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis   [PDF, 672KB] which outlines actions, based on scientific evidence and extensive real-world experience that will serve as a roadmap for reaching the Healthy People objectives.

The Viral Hepatitis Action Plan presents robust and dynamic steps for improving the prevention of viral hepatitis and the care and treatment provided to infected persons and for moving the nation towards achieving Healthy People 2020 goals. Some of these life-saving actions already are well underway. Other actions, representing innovations in practice, technology, and therapy, will require new strategic directions and commitment.
Click here to learn more by visiting the HHS web site.

 

Federal Inter-agency Reentry Council Launches Website, Releases "Mythbuster" Series

The Reentry Council has now launched its official website, which is housed within the larger website of the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC). There you can access information created by the Reentry Council, learn about the Council’s goals and composition, and identify agency contacts.

The Reentry Council has also released a set of “Reentry MythBusters,” one pagers designed to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. 

Click here for more details about the new assets

Office of Justice Programs - April 2011 Justice Resource Update

The April 2011 OJP Justice Resource Update feature article is Addressing Youth Violence: Moving Forward Together.  Other articles include Revised Proposal on Race to the Top Funding; NIJ Conference Highlights; and Peer Reviewers WantedClick here to download the April OJP Justice Resource Update.

Congress Passes Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill - DOJ Grant Programs Cut by 17%

On Thursday, April 14, 2011 the House passed the continuing resolution (CR) for the rest of the fiscal year by a 260-167 vote. The Senate followed quickly with a 81-19 vote, avoiding a government shutdown.

All Department of Justice (DOJ) programs were cut by 17 percent. Several programs were exempt from this cut, including the Office of Violence Against Women, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Regional Information Sharing Systems, Justice for All, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s programs.

Council of State Government Justice Center priority programs—the Second Chance Act program, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) program, and the Justice Reinvestment program—fall under state and local law enforcement assistance programs, which were cut by $434 million from the FY10 levels.  Click here to see funding levels for other DOJ Programs.

Gov. Brown signs bill to transfer thousands of nonviolent felons to county jails

Tens of thousands of felons convicted of nonviolent crimes would serve their time in county jails instead of state prisons under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday evening.  Click here to view the complete article.

Many States Rethinking Sentencing Laws

Desperate to save money, many states are pushing to reduce the number of people in prison while also cutting the services meant to keep them from committing new crimes, including probation monitoring, mental health care and drug counseling.  Click here for the full article.

New FAQs; The Implications of Federal Health Legislation on Justice-Involved Populations

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of federal health reform legislation. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act improves access to health care for individuals leaving prison and jail—many of whom have significant health needs—in part by expanding eligibility for Medicaid to nearly all low-income populations. The Council of State Governments Justice Center (which coordinates the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project) recently released a frequently asked questions document, “The Implications of Federal Health Legislation on Justice-Involved Populations.” This FAQ examines how the health reform legislation expands these adults’ eligibility for Medicaid and what services will now be available to them, the requirements and exemptions specified by the legislation, and how Medicaid enrollment will take place. To download this FAQ, click here.

This is the first release in a four-document series by the CSG Justice Center on the intersection of behavioral health and the criminal justice system. Soon-to-be-released publications will include an FAQ on behavioral health disorders and people returning from prison and jail; a guide on how to maximize opportunities for Medicaid enrollment for people returning from prison and jail; and a follow-up health reform report that looks at the way the legislation is implemented at the state and local levels

South Carolina bill targets prisoners on Facebook

Click here for a story detailing South Carolina's efforts to pass a bill that would add 30 days to a prisoner's sentence if caught interacting on social networking sites via cell phone.

Court dismisses historic Mississippi prison cruelty case

Written by The Associated Press

A federal court in Mississippi has permanently dismissed a 1971 lawsuit filed against the state over prison conditions. The case found that a range of corporal punishment practices used against prisoners at Parchman violated the Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

Click here to view the complete article.

Shortage forces Texas to switch execution drug

The Canadian Press

Texas is changing one of the drugs used to conduct executions in the nation's busiest death penalty state due to a shortage of a sedative it's used for nearly three decades, officials said. Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said they plan to substitute pentobarbital for sodium thiopental in the three-drug cocktail used for lethal injections.

Click here to view the complete story.

Feds End Prisoners' Bogus Tax Refunds

(AP) – Feb 2, 2011 ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new agreement aims to stop federal prisoners from filing for and collecting millions of dollars in bogus tax refunds from their cells. Pressure from U.S. senators in New York, Ohio, Minnesota and Florida in January led to an agreement signed Wednesday between the Internal Revenue Service and the federal Bureau of Prisons to break down bureaucratic and regulatory barriers to end the practice. The memorandum of understanding struck between the two agencies overcomes legal obstacles that hindered their own efforts and paves the way for states to make similar agreements that apply to their prisons.

Click here to view the entire story.

How to Permanently Reduce State Medicaid and Prison Costs Instead of Postponing and Papering Over Them

by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA (2/3/11)

There are two fiscal gluttons gobbling taxpayer dollars, threatening to starve other public needs like education, and creating budget crises for at least 46 states: Medicaid and prisons.

And there is one common tapeworm that spawns this ravenous appetite for state funds: substance abuse and addiction.

To view the entire article go to:  http://chairmanscorner.casacolumbia.org/?p=213