Past OCJP Award Winners

The NCJA helps justice agencies identify barriers and develop strategies to increase agency and program effectiveness.

Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Awards: Past Winners

Each year the National Criminal Justice Association recognizes outstanding criminal justice programs that showcase successful promising practices in criminal justice. The programs selected all address important criminal justice issues; demonstrate effectiveness based upon the programs stated goals; are a good example of the use of federal funds to initiate a program that is subsequently supported through state and local appropriations or are self-sustaining; and can be easily replicated in other jurisdictions.

2017 Recipients

The Free Minds Book Club in Washington, DC encourages incarcerated youth and adults to see their own potential and become part of a supportive community through creative expression, literacy education, job readiness and violence prevention outreach. The program lowers recidivism while increasing employment, positive social interactions, literacy, and self-confidence.

Begun 15 years ago the Free Minds Book Club’s initial aim was to provide support to youth incarcerated in adult prisons, a population which sometimes lacked basic educational programming. Such youth are at a critical period of development, when they can choose to either self-identify as a criminal or to change their lives. Weekly book clubs allow them to see themselves as valuable members of a community, with the potential to change. The program has since expanded to include adults as well.

The program is divided into the three phases: the Jail Book Club (JBC), the Prison Book Club (PBC), and the Reentry Book Club (RBC). The JBC serves 16 and 17-year-old boys incarcerated in the DC Jail, as well as adults studying for their high school equivalency degrees. Members select and read a book and discuss it together. They are then encouraged to write their own stories through poetry. The PBC serves members 18 and older housed in federal prisons by sending them books, letters, postcards and the Free Mind newsletter which features writing by Free Minds members as well as offering members’ feedback on their own writing. The RBC serves members released from jail or prison through book clubs; writing workshops, job readiness and personal skill-building apprenticeships; paid shifts at local businesses; personalized connections to jobs, schools and other programs; and opportunities to give back to the community through a violence prevention outreach program called On the Same Page.

In 2016, only 5 percent of RBC members re-offended within the calendar year and 76 percent obtained employment, enrolled in school, or participated in vocational programs that will lead to employment. In addition, 68 percent participated in On the Same Page to give back to the community. For the JBC, 89 percent of the members engaged with the group and demonstrated positive group interactions and increased communication skills. For the PBC, 91 percent of members opt continue receiving services once they are transferred to federal prisons and Free Minds Staff sent over 2,000 books to members in prisons across the country.

Funding for the Free Minds Book Club comes from a variety of sources. About half of its funding currently comes from private foundations, and a fourth comes from local government. The remainder of the funding comes from individual donors, in-kind donations, earned income, corporations and events.

Georgia’s Juvenile Justice Incentive Grants (JJIG) allocate state and federal resources for effective community-based programs as alternatives to out-of-home placements for juvenile offenders. By reserving out-of-home placements for serious, high-risk offenders and reinvesting savings into community evidence-based programs, Georgia is able to increase public safety, reduce recidivism and promote positive relationships between youth, their families and their community.

Youth eligible for the JJIG must have a delinquent adjudication and score moderate- to high-risk on Georgia’s Pre-Disposition Risk Assessment. Grantee courts selected to implement the JJIG must commit to using evidence-based programs (EBPs) and objective tools to inform key decisions throughout the judicial process. Currently, JJIG sites can select from six EBPs: Aggression Replacement Training, Brief Strategic Family Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Multisystemic Therapy, Seven Challenges and Thinking for a Change.

In 2012, Governor Nathan Deal charged Georgia’s Council on Criminal Justice Reform with studying the juvenile justice system. The ensuing report found approximately 95 percent of youth in Georgia’s secure juvenile facilities were in long-term placements and nearly two-thirds of the budget for the Department of Juvenile Justice (GDJJ) was used to operate out-of-home facilities, at a cost of more than $90,000 per bed per year. Despite these expenditures, over half of the youth in the juvenile justice system were re-adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a criminal offense within three years of release. Per the recommendations of the report, following the 2013 legislative session, Governor Deal signed into law House Bill 242, landmark legislation to improve Georgia’s juvenile justice system. At that time, Governor Deal and the General Assembly appropriated resources to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) for the purpose of creating the JJIG program.

The JJIG program was implemented in late 2013, and provided 29 juvenile courts spanning 49 counties with grants to implement EBPs. Today the JJIG serves counties housing over 60 percent of the at-risk population. All other Georgia counties are eligible for EBPs through the GDJJ.

Since the JJIG was implemented, Georgia has reduced out-of-home placements by over 50 percent in Incentive Grant recipient counties compared to the 2012 baseline. During the first year of the JJIG, 1,122 youth were served through EBPs, and by the third year, the number had increased to 1,723 youth, for a total of 4,511 youth served in those three years. In addition, the overall graduation rate for youth in the JJIG program was 62 percent, with some EBPs seeing rates up to 85 percent.

The JJIG was initially funded in 2013, with a $5 million appropriation from the state and approximately $1 million in federal funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Currently, the JJIG program receives $8.2 million (88 percent) of its funding from the state, with the remaining $1 million (12 percent) of its funding from Title II funding administered by OJJDP.

The High Risk Revocation Reduction (HRRR) Program in the Minnesota Department of Corrections works to reduce recidivism among adult males who are at high risk of release violations through the use of evidence-based practices. The program also targets men who have violated their supervised release conditions but have not yet returned to prison. By reducing re-admissions the program also works to control Minnesota prison populations.

Incarcerated men identified as high risk release violators (RVs) begin receiving services 60 days prior to release and are provided with supplemental case planning for six months to one year after release. Specially designated facility case managers work with the RVs and their community supervision agents to identify resources and other reentry services. These case managers are responsible for developing a case plan that includes Small, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals based upon a risk and needs assessment. In addition, upon release RVs have access to community hubs staffed by full time resource navigators who connect them to both information and resources including social support, housing, employment, cognitive-based life skills programming, mentoring, transportation assistance, and access to chemical dependency assessments and treatment.

Begun in 2011, the HRRR program was designed to specifically help adult male release violators to reduce recidivism. Research has shown that males account for a much larger proportion of the Minnesota state prison population and are more likely to go back to prison for violating their release conditions. Furthermore, typically RVs do not receive many services upon their return to prison. Since they are held on average six months, administrators can be reluctant to provide limited resources and services to men or women who will not be incarcerated very long and who have recently failed under supervision.

A randomized controlled trial showed that participation in HRRR significantly lowered the risk of supervised release revocations and reconvictions by 28 percent and 43 percent, respectively. In addition, the analysis also showed that employment assistance, including subsidized employment was effective at reducing recidivism. Further research has also shown that reentry programs that begin in prison and continues in the community are more effective at reducing recidivism.

HRRR was initially funded by the Second Chance Act Adult Demonstration Grant in 2010. After the grant funding was exhausted in 2015, the Department of Corrections and community partners successfully lobbied for new funds to continue the program. In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated funding to replicate and increase the program’s capacity. This funding provides 100 percent of the direct costs of contracted services and full-time staff. The MNDOC also provides staff supervision, contracting and financial management, and service coordination of the program to replicate and expand the HRRR program, now also known as Opportunity 4 Change (O4C).

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office’s Community Police Unification Program (CPU Program) works to foster positive relationships between the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the communities it serves. The Program provides an opportunity for community members to resolve complaints of discourtesy and biased-policing through face-to-face conversations, facilitated by impartial volunteer mediators from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Dispute Resolution Program (LACA DRP).

As part of the program, select biased policing and discourtesy complaints go through mediation instead of the traditional investigation procedure. The LAPD Internal Affairs Division identifies complaints that are suitable for mediation. Complaints are not considered eligible if they involve additional allegations of serious or criminal misconduct, an arrest, or allegations of an ethnic remark. For eligible complaints, the LAPD Program Coordinator will reach out to the accused officer(s) and the complainant(s) to offer mediation as a possible solution. Since mediation is voluntary, either party can opt out of the mediation and choose to go through a standard investigation instead. Details of the complaint and areas of concern are laid out as part of a Responsivity Tool and are used to guide the mediation, which is conducted by community volunteers. Volunteer mediators receive 40 hours of training in mediation and facilitation skills. After the mediation is complete, participants complete a survey to evaluate the Program’s effectiveness. Officers who participate in the mediation process can have the complaint re-categorized within their personnel files. For community members, a constructive conversation with the officer with whom they had a negative encounter can in many instances address their concern.

Launched as a three year pilot program in 2014, as a collaboration between the City Attorney’s Office and the LAPD, it was originally called the Biased Policing Complaint Mediation Program. Based on the success of the pilot, the Board of Police Commissioners permanently adopted the program as part of the LAPD’s discipline system and its name was changed to “Community Police Unification Program” to better reflect the program’s goals and mission.

The CPU Program was initially funded with a $100,000 micro-grant from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing (COPS) program and the city general fund provided staff resources. Currently, 77 percent of the program’s funding comes from the city’s General Fund and 23 percent comes from a COPS Grant. Other city agencies are also interested in the program, which could lead to an increase in General Fund support.

An evaluation of the pilot program found that both officers and complainants were highly satisfied and confident with the process. From January 2014-December 2016, 708 complaints were referred to the program and 363 were determined eligible. Satisfaction surveys from those who followed through with mediation found that 83 percent were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the process and 91 percent thought the outcome was “completely fair” or “somewhat fair.” In addition, 86 percent indicated they would recommend the mediation process to others.

2016 Recipients

The REACH program provides transitional housing and case management services to help individuals coming out of the correctional system transition into the community. They help these individuals with budgeting, employment, and housing, and also with lowering their criminogenic risk scores. Clients must be referred into REACH, and the Intake Specialist also assesses referrals’ eligibility. The target is a high-risk population. The client works with a Case Manager to craft a treatment plan, and is placed in a furnished apartment upon acceptance. They are also given other amenities, such as bus passes and vouchers to food pantries. Staff members work with relevant parole and probation officers to conduct random spot and curfew checks. Clients are discharged after 4-6 months. The REACH program has also launched REACH-M, a pilot program that engage a random sample of clients with peer support services. REACH-M is a collaboration with Yale University.

The program was started in 2005 to provide those exiting the correctional system with the ability to tackle the challenges they will inevitably encounter when going back to the community. This would, in turn, also reduce criminogenic risk and recidivism rates. A grant from Connecticut’s Department of Correction, Parole and Community Services originally funded the program, and it is now also funded with a federal grant from the Department of Justice, BJA. State appropriations are another part of the program’s funding.

The program has seen about 60% of its clients successfully complete it, and 95% of them enter into stable housing afterwards. The clients’ criminogenic risk scores have also lowered by 13% on average. Moreover, clients are less likely to recidivate, especially those who received high risk scores.

Kentucky’s Department of Pretrial Services aims to effectively weigh defendants’ legal rights against potential court attendance and the risk to public they may pose. To do so, it uses evidence-based practices and innovative strategies. Jailed defendants are interviewed, their criminal histories are analyzed, release recommendations are made to the court, and defendants considered higher risk are supervised. The department’s Pretrial Officers are able to maintain “jail coverage” at all times despite the rural nature of much of the state. It has also covered about 179,000 defendant interviews each year for the past six years, and manages to achieve operational efficiency on a large-scale. Moreover, the department continues to be an innovator in the field, being one of the first to use evidence-based practices and the creator of PRIM (Pretrial Release Information Management) – a pretrial-data management system that other jurisdictions have recreated. Other innovations include the PSA tool and the Administrative Release Pilot Program, which gives Pretrial Services designated release authority.

The department is funded through dedicated, state appropriations. Sometimes the department initiates focused research or a specialized project, and these projects will occasionally draw upon government and/or private grants. Established in 1976 as part of the Administrative Office of the Courts, it hopes to make a defendant’s initial contact with the criminal justice system fair and just, and to ensure that defendants in jail have opportunities for release.

State officials and national experts have both praised Kentucky’s pretrial services measures. It’s PSA tool has been able to reduce crimes committed by defendants during pretrial release by 15% as it continues to release a higher percentage of pretrial defendants. It has also seen higher release, appearance, and safety rates.

Iowa’s program, Achieving Change through Value-Based Behavior seeks to reduce offender recidivism and domestic violence re-offenses. Specifically, ACTV’s goals are to reduce or end men’s use of psychological, emotional and physically abusive or controlling behaviors. Also, their goal is to increase men’s use of respectful, adaptive and healthy behaviors in their relationships. ACTV is a 24 week program for men who have been court mandated to compete a Batterers Education Program following a domestic violence conviction. 

This program is adapted from an evidence-based behavior therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The program guides members to make different choices than they have in the past, by first defining their values and second, focusing on factors that influence their behavior. Once these two aspects are realized, the participant can practice new adaptive behaviors. The facilitators work with the members in a collaborative and compassionate manner instead of arguing or lecturing. This provides long term benefits instead of only providing short- term relief. The facilitators help group members come to realizations on their own and help them develop intrinsic motivations to change. 

The first year of this program was funded by a Violence against Women Act grant through the Iowa Judicial Branch. Years following were funded through the work of professors at The University of Iowa and Iowa State University. Now, ACTV is funded through state appropriations and other grant sources are being sought through Iowa State Professor and co-author, Dr. Amie Zarling for quality improvement and further evaluation. 

Before ACTV was implemented, Iowa used the Duluth Model and cognitive behavior therapy. Between 2011-2013, Dr. Amie Zarling examined a sample of 3,696 men arrested for domestic assault and/or men court-mandated to treatment. The results demonstrated that participants in ACTV had half the rates of domestic assault recidivism than when they using the Duluth Model. 

The Crossroads Girls Mental Health Court (Crossroads) works with adolescent females in the juvenile justice system to lower recidivism, and divert those with mental health issues. Girls voluntarily join this program with an adult who has agreed to support them and to actively participate alongside the girls. The parameters applied to each girl is determined by the Judge, who also works with the other agencies involved with the case. Drug testing is a mandatory part of the parameters, and other methods used include home-based treatment, and regular court appearances. Crossroads also provides the girls with services like anger management counseling, pregnancy prevention, and life skill classes. These services are both short-term and long-term. A Case Manager supports these girls through defining the services the girls need and progress made, and through explaining the impact and importance of attending each meeting. As the girls move through the program, they move from the most intensive level of supervision to less restrictive levels, and are awarded along the way through verbal commendations, public recognition, and prizes from area attractions and retail outlets. Girls also have a “Graduation Ceremony” upon completing the program.

Crossroads first began in 2008 to help girls with mental health issues or negative experiences who may be acting out or in the system because of these issues. As a specialty court, it hopes to address the needs of these girls to prevent the commission of future crimes. To achieve these goals, it was initially funded through a Justice and Mental Health Collaboration grant, and is now funded through local appropriations, reflecting Bexar County’s dedication to helping system-involved youth. It has been self-sustaining since 2011.

Between 2009 and 2015, the program served 108 youth between 11 and 17 years old, and 63% of the youth successfully completed the program. Of those who successfully completed the program, 82% have not recidivated, and 97% have not been placed in a secure facilitated. Moreover, the program connects all participants and their families with needed mental health care, and supportive services.

Chehalis Mental Health Program was established to bring on an Offender Reentry Provider Manager who is a mental health professional with Chemical Dependency certification. This mental health professional along with their certification must meet all requirements for working within the Chehalis Tribe’s adult detention facility. The person in this position conducts both chemical dependency assessments and outpatient treatment classes weekly on inmates. This position coordinates and facilitates group classes to help inmates better themselves through resources present with the Tribe as well as outside. This program provides vital self-improvement classes that promote better life choices and help reduce recidivism. 

The Offender Reentry Program Manager within this program coordinates life skill classes necessary for successful reentry. Dependency classes are also organized using Hazelden’s A New Direction, which is a treatment program specifically for criminal justice professionals.  The program includes arts and crafts instruction, which provides inmates with recreational and creative outlets that strengthen community ties and create possible feelings of accountability to the members of the tribal community. Career counseling services, career assessments and job reentry assistance are all offered from tribal and state resource providers. The program coordinates with the Chehalis Tribal Loan Department to set up financial literacy classes, which helps inmate learn money management to reduce binge substance abuse and criminal activity. 

Originally, this program was funded through Justice Systems, and an Alcohol and Substance Abuse BJA grant, which is still active. Since 2013, data has been gathered for the Chehalis Tribal members who went to residential treatment and none have returned to jail on their original charges. They have seen a 25 percent recidivism drop overall between 2014 and 2015. 

2015 Recipients

The Bronx Freedom Fund seeks to help needy individuals charged with low-level offenses avoid the collateral consequences of pretrial incarceration. The Fund provides direct bail assistance to clients of the Bronx Defenders whose families cannot afford to pay their bail. Since even a short jail stay can have devastating consequences on families, employment, housing, child custody and more, the Bronx Freedom Fund alleviates the pressure many offenders feel to plead guilty in order to be released from jail. To be eligible for the program, clients must be charged with a misdemeanor, their bail must be under $2,000, and they must have a criminal justice agency recommendation for release, steady employment, ties to the community, family involvement, and a history of court appearances. The Freedom Fund pays bail immediately after arraignment which allows clients to fight their cases from a position of stability and support and also saves the city transport, medical examination and intake costs. While each client’s case is pending, the Freedom Fund maintains regular contact with its clients and works with attorneys and social workers to ensure that clients are receiving the services they need. When a client’s case is dismissed and they have attended all of their court dates, the bail money goes back into the bail fund. Ninety-five percent of the money cycles back into the fund making it highly sustainable with minimal losses. The Freedom Fund also collects and analyzes data on bail setting practices within Bronx Criminal Court to advocate for more fair bail setting practices, especially the use of alternative forms of bail.

Since October 2013, the Bronx Freedom Fund has helped almost 250 people, and 97 percent have returned for every scheduled court appearance. On average, the Freedom Fund posts $768 in bail per client and each case lasts about four and a half months. Moreover, 56 percent of all Bronx Freedom Fund cases resolved with a dismissal of all charges, 20 percent ended with a non-criminal disposition and in the 10 percent of cases in which clients plead guilty to a misdemeanor, no clients were sentenced to jail time.

The Freedom Fund received its original funding from the Flom Family Foundation. Due to the revolving nature of the funds, much of the funding still comes from this initial grant. Additionally, funding also comes through private foundations and individual donor.

NOLA FOR LIFE was created in 2012 in response to New Orleans’ historically high murder rate. The program takes a holistic approach to solving violence and is composed of five main initiatives categories: Stop the Shootings, Invest in Prevention, Promote Jobs and Opportunity, Get Involved and Rebuild Neighborhoods, and Strengthen the New Orleans Police Department. NOLA FOR LIFE’s strategy has been implemented cross-departmentally and in collaboration with state and local law enforcement, schools, and faith-based and community organizations. The program uses a data-driven strategy that takes a public health approach to violence reduction.

NOLA FOR LIFE works with 13 law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, over 10 city departments, and over 100 community-based organizations. New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) data show that 2014 saw the fewest number of murders in 43 years, continuing a three-year downward trend since the launch of NOLA FOR LIFE.

NOLA FOR LIFE has worked with the NOPD to enhance relationships between youth and law enforcement, including training on juvenile justice and childhood exposure to violence. These trainings have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as a means for promoting best policing practices and improving outcomes for children. The program was also awarded the City Livability Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2014 and recognized in 2015 as a Bright Idea winner by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

The strategy was developed by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, initially funded through a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, in collaboration with the New Orleans Police Department, Health Department and other City departments and agencies. In partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Mayor’s office established the NOLA FOR LIFE Fund as a way for private and individual donors to support the program. The Fund awards grants to local organizations to help them serve high risk individuals in their communities.

Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) works with local communities to reduce the number of non-violent offenders sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and provides financial incentives for the establishment of local evidence-based services. With state funding and technical assistance, ARI builds local capacity in community-based supervision and services that are not only less expensive but also more effective in dealing with non-violent offenders. In exchange for grant funding, jurisdictions (counties, groups of counties, judicial circuits) agree to reduce by 25 percent the number of non-violent offenders sent to IDOC from a defined target population.

Counties interested in ARI are eligible to receive up to $30,000 in planning grants to bring together community stakeholders, analyze data, and develop a plan to address gaps in the current system. These counties can then submit a proposal to implement the plan and become an ARI site. ARI sites are required to report on a variety of performance measures to ensure that they are meeting the program goals. Sites having trouble meeting these standards are provided with technical assistance. Additionally, state-employed site monitors collect information in the field in order to identify both common problems and best practices.

Adult Redeploy Illinois began in 2010 and has grown from five pilot sites in five counties to 22 sites operating 24 diversion programs across 39 counties. The program operates in both rural and urban areas, demonstrating its success and flexibility in allowing local jurisdictions to implement ARI to meet local needs. The program was initially funded with a Byrne Justice Assistance Grant. Beginning in 2013, ARI began receiving state funding through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), which also provides research support to the program.

Each individual diverted through ARI represents significant cost savings. An average annual ARI intervention costs about $4,400 per person per year while the average incarceration cost per person is $21,500 a year. From 2011-2014, ARI sites diverted more than 2,100 offenders from IDOC, resulting in an estimated savings of $46.5 million in correctional costs. The first process evaluation conducted by ICJIA of the ARI program in DuPage County (one of the five pilot sites) found that their program had far exceeded the reduction goal of 25 percent and resulted in significant cost savings.

The Williamson County (TX) Sheriff’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) works to protect the rights of the mentally ill, assists individuals in crisis, and diverts mentally ill individuals from hospital emergency rooms and the criminal justice system, whenever possible. The specialized team is composed of nine mental health officers, a sergeant, and a lieutenant who deal exclusively with mental health calls throughout the county. The team is housed in a separate location from other Sheriff’s officers, has unmarked cars, and wears plain clothes in an attempt to eliminate the stigma often associated with mental illness. The CIT works collaboratively with local law enforcement agencies, schools, the justice system, and private medical and behavioral health hospitals.

The CIT members use de-escalation tactics instead of force. Team members have never used a firearm, and have rarely used handcuffs or Tasers. In addition to facilitating the transfer of care, CIT deputies develop a rapport with individuals and families through follow-up visits in times of non-crisis. These visits help to provide information on resources and develop trust between families and this specialized mental health team. A family served wrote, “Until we were made aware of the CIT we had felt helpless, lost and completely alone in handling this mental illness. Thanks to the CIT, our daughter was able to get the treatment she needed and did not become another innocent lost in the system.” This community-based approach to law enforcement is aimed at preventing recidivism, while ensuring public safety for communities. The CIT also works closely with the county jail to ensure that those who cannot be diverted from the criminal justice system are safe and their mental health needs are met. In addition to its core program, CIT has a Veterans Outreach program to address the mental health needs of veterans returning from deployment.

Since its inception in 2005, the CIT program has diverted 4,444 people in crisis from the justice system and local emergency rooms, saving tax payers $10,653,000. During this time, the CIT has handled 42,020 mental health calls and were able to divert offenders 10.58 percent of the time. In the last two years, 292 people were diverted from jail or local ERs, saving tax payers over $700,000. The program also assists mentally ill individuals with transportation to services. In the last two years CIT provided transportation to 376 people to help them access mental health treatment needed for their recovery.

The Williamson County CIT program has been funded by the Williamson County Commissioners Court as a part of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office for the last 10 years.

The goal of the Turtle Mountain Sex Offender Registry Program (TMSOR) is the registration of sex offenders that are identified by court action. Sex offenders are required to register in a digital database that is connected to the national registry. The registry contains personal information on each offender such as their home address, driver’s license, and car license plates. The national registry can be accessed by U.S. Marshalls and local police jurisdictions in order to assist them in sex offender management. Information collected by TMSOR is shared with the tribal community as well as local school and legal authorities. A TMSOR employee verifies all offender information through periodic home visits. TMSOR also participates in training and collaboration with the North Dakota Tribal SOR group, a group currently composed of five other tribes. The group came together for the purposes of networking and information sharing to ensure that all the tribes within North Dakota are up to date on the registration process and to share information on sex offenders entering or exiting tribal lands.

In 2013, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians awarded TMSOR a plaque for being the primary organization of the year. This award is given during the Tribe’s Family Week activities in acknowledgement of strong people and programs that positively impact the community and demonstrate the Tribe’s values of unity and strength.

In 2007, Chairman David Brien signed a resolution to opt into the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. As a result of this federal- tribal relationship, a program director (Sandra L. Belgarde) was hired in 2009 and the program began operating in 2010. TMSOR was initially funded through the Adam Walsh and Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and has since been fully funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

2014 Recipients

The Pennsylvania Resource Center aims to prevent youth violence, delinquency, and substance abuse through dissemination and implementation of evidence-based programs and improvement of local juvenile justice programs. Created by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), the Resource Center was created to implement research into the real world. Through the Center, communities receive free, high-quality technical assistant and training for 11 proven-effective evidence-based programs. The Resource Center provides training and technical assistance for community prevention coalitions, dissemination and implementation of the 11 programs, and research-informed improvement of juvenile justice programs. Their website provides various resources for download, a free technical assistance center that provides a valid and reliable source for standardized data on juvenile justice.

The Resource Center is funded by annual state appropriations in a dedicated Violence Prevention line item in the governor’s budget, as well as by shared funds from the PCCD and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. It was created in July 2008 and two evaluation studies have shown the juvenile justice programs disseminated and implemented by the Resource Center are cost effective and have positive outcomes.

The dissemination of evidence-based delinquency prevention programs has reached 50 counties across Pennsylvania since 2008. The Center has also negotiated agreements with different program developers to keep these programs in-state, from training to dissemination to implementation. This has reduced the public dollars spent on trainer travel to the state or trainee travel outside the state. It has also decreased the time between training and implementation, increased the likelihood of further adoption of successful programs, and contributed to the sustainability of the programs in Pennsylvania. Overall, the Center has shown the impact of PCCD’s delinquency and violence prevention initiative, and has shown a positive impact on youth and family outcomes in local communities across Pennsylvania.

The Johnson City Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project is a program that seeks to prevent crime, rebuild neighborhoods, improve law enforcement, and provide offender intervention for probationers and parolees in the city of Johnson City, Tenn. The program first implements prevention strategies to reduce the number of at-risk youths; reduce juvenile delinquency; reduce rates of juvenile behavior incidents both in and out of school; improve perceptions of safety and neighborhood pride, and improve self-protection behavior and perceptions of improving conditions in neighborhoods. The program does this through Positive Action and Police and Teens Reaching Opportunities for Life (PATROL) programs that offer educational and support systems for juveniles and neighborhood and business watch initiatives that encourage residents to identify and report suspicious activity. Neighborhood revitalization requires redeveloping properties and bringing new residents to declining properties and contributing to neighborhood pride and safety. The program also implements Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety, ride-alongs, crime mapping software, and a TCCRP officer to improve safety and create trust between law enforcement and the community. Finally, the program creates gender-specific Day Reporting Centers that build coping skills, sobriety, education, and job opportunities, as well as reduce recidivism for probationers and parolees.

The Johnson City TCCRP was initially funded in April 2013 by a State Formula Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), and is currently funded by the same State JAG, as well as a TCCRP Grant by the Office of Criminal Justice Programs. The Program also receives help from donations given by partners and community sponsors.

Since beginning, the TCCRP has implemented 19 initiatives that have helped to achieve the goals of the program. Juvenile absences from school have dropped 15.8 percent, and juvenile disciplinary actions have been reduced from 2.0 incidents per child 1.6 incidents per child. In areas of high crime, it was noted that lighting was poor, and actions are underway to repair or replace broken street lights to decrease crime. In those areas, a greater police presence has resulted in a 26 percent decrease in the number of neighborhood incidents and a 19 percent decrease in arrests. Across the board, the number of incidents and arrests in Johnson City after the start of the TCCRP has decreased, and business owners and residents have reported that they feel safer and quality of life has improved.

The Secure Cities Program (SCP) was a response to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) March 2012 Special Message to the Michigan State Legislature on public safety. The governor called for an attack on crime through “smart justice” that uses real-time crime data and evidence-based policing tactics to identify and target criminal hot spots. The SCP seeks to reduce crime and increase the quality of life in Michigan cities that have been heavily impacted by violent crime. Partnered with the Michigan State Police (MSP), the SCP provides enhanced law enforcement to the cities of Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw. The SCP covers these four separate jurisdictions, which allows for flexibility to meet the needs of each jurisdiction, which then allows other jurisdictions to replicate successful measures. Additional troopers are added to areas for six-week assignments, and a MSP Community Service Trooper (CST) is assigned to each area to engage the community and partner with local law enforcement officials through outreach and targeted crime prevention strategies.

The program was initially funded in March 2012 by general funds from the state of Michigan, and continues to be funded by state general funds. These funds are supplemented by several grants: the Competitive Grant Assistance Program at the state level, and the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant Program at the federal level.

Along with the MSP, SCP works with local community service projects and programs in each jurisdiction, including Saginaw’s “Light Up the City” Program that seeks to build trust between residents and law enforcement; Flint and Pontiac’s Teaching, Educating, And Mentoring (T.E.A.M.) program, winner of the 2010 NCJA Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award, and the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program, as well as Detroit’s Cease Fire program, in addition to Detroit T.E.A.M. and GREAT.

From 2012 to 2013, Flint saw a 31.9 percent decrease in crime, Saginaw saw an 18.9 percent decrease, Pontiac saw a 6.3 percent decrease, and Detroit saw a 2.6 percent decrease after the implementation of the SCP.

Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) aims to reduce the number of probation violations and reduce recidivism of high-risk probationers. The intensive supervision program begins with a Warning Hearing after an offender has been recommended by his or her probation officer and is accepted by a judge. The Warning Hearing notifies offenders at the onset that probationers will have random and frequent drug tests, and probation violations will have swift but appropriate consequences. If an offender fails a drug test, he or she is arrested on the spot. If he or she misses a drug test or probation appointment, a judge issues an immediate bench warrant. Every weekday, each probationer must call in to a Drug Testing Hotline, which reads out randomly selected colors. Each probationer is assigned a color, and if his or her color is called, he or she must report downtown to the Honolulu Courthouse for drug testing that day. As the probationer progresses through the program, testing becomes less frequent.

HOPE began in 2004 with zero funding earmarked for the program. In 2006 it was awarded a grant from the Hawaii State Legislature. The grant has run out; the program is now completely funded by state taxpayer dollars appropriated by the state legislature. With the support of the Honolulu Police Department, the Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, the Hawaii State Legislature, and various substance abuse treatment programs, the HOPE program has been deemed a success.

A 2008 study by Pepperdine Associate Professor Angela Hawken found that after one year, probationers were 55 percent less likely to be arrested for a new crime, 72 percent less likely to use drugs, 61 percent less likely to skip appointments with their supervisory officer, and 53 percent less likely to have their probation revoked. It was also found that probationers in the program served or were sentenced to, on average, 48 percent fewer days of incarceration compared to the control group that were on regular probation. Due to the success of the Hawaii program, models have been replicated in 160 locations in 18 states, which all show good results.

The Muscogee Creek Nation Reintegration Program assists Muscogee citizens in the transition from prison back into society. The program uses current, proven-effective initiatives while embracing traditional Native American values, making it a unique program for re-entry into society. The program helps offenders to meet obligations upon release, provides a structured environment that addresses many of the needs of one re-entering society, and provides solutions for typical barriers that hinder or block successful transitions into society. The program seeks to reduce or eliminate recidivism rates through such measures as providing attorney services, housing, educational and vocational training, employment opportunities, transportation, medical services, and family and youth services. By giving those returning to society these opportunities, the Muscogee Creek Nation Reintegration Program seeks to create a safer community and an alternative to incarceration.

The Reintegration Program began in August 2004, and was initially funded by Tribal Resolution NCA-04-155, using funds from the Bingo Revenue Fund Account. Currently, the program is funded by revenues from the Muscogee Creek Nation Gaming Enterprises, and limited federal grants. Services provided to the clients are free if provided by Tribal service providers, and often given at a discounted rate by other area service providers.

Upon implementing the program, it began to have an impact on the Muscogee citizens. The Reintegration Program has offered services to over 500 clients, and has successfully re-integrated approximately 90 percent of the offenders who have gone through the program. Because of this, the Reintegration Program has been recognized by tribal, state, and federal leaders as a model for reintegration.

2013 Recipients

DC YouthLink is a coalition of community-based organizations that works with the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) to provide a diverse array of support services to youth committed to DYRS as they reintegrate into their communities. The program offers services to help rehabilitate court involved youth in a community setting. DC YouthLink has three main objectives: 1) to advance the rehabilitation of DYRS youth by connecting them to services, support, and resources in order to help them succeed in a community setting 2) to enhance public safety by promoting DYRS youths’ rehabilitation through structured activities and enhanced supervision and 3) to invest in and build upon the strengths of community-based organizations to create safe, strong environments that support youth who live there. In order to foster a community-based system, DYRS partners with two organizations, East of the River Clergy-Policy Community Partnership and the Progressive Life Center. These organizations partner with service providers in their respective communities. In 2012, DC YouthLink established a request for proposals system (RFP) to create a formalized process for adding partner organizations, allowing for outside reviewers to choose the best providers.

DC YouthLink has led to dramatic improvements in both public safety and individual youth outcomes. DYRS youth are now less likely to be re-arrested, less likely to abscond, and more likely to be engaged in structured, positive activities. The re-arrest rate of youth connected to DC YouthLink fell 7 percent between FY11 and FY12, from 27 percent to 20 percent. Reconviction rates also fell from 16 percent in the second two quarters of 2011 to 10 percent in 2012. At the same time that young people are experiencing these public safety outcomes, they are also connected to more positive services and achieving more important milestones. Between 2009 and 2012, four-hundred and nineteen youth are enrolled in job readiness programs, 387 received educational services, and 310 enrolled in behavioral services. On average, each youth involved in the program was engaged in 4.3 hours of services each week. Since the inception of DC YouthLink, fifty-four community organizations in DC have helped young people succeed through their participation in DC YouthLink.

Operation Drawbridge uses events driven surveillance to dramatically increase the effective use of detection technology and provide real time monitoring of border areas not regularly monitored by law enforcement. Managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety Border Security Operations Center, Operation Drawbridge provides safety and security to rural landowners who live along the Texas-Mexico border, while also apprehending drug smugglers and human traffickers to enhance overall public safety. Operation Drawbridge places small remote cameras along the 1,200 mile long border shared between Texas and Mexico, which are monitored around the clock by several agencies including the U.S. Border Patrol, Texas Parks and Wildlife Division and the Texas Border Security Operations Center via a secure website. The U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and local Sheriff’s Offices also place the cameras on detected trails in order to maximize the utility of the surveillance. At a cost of $350, each camera has been modified to obtain true infrared flashes outside of human range and monitors criminal activity using motion detection, zero noise emission, extended battery life and low light capability to provide real-time monitoring of areas that may not otherwise be accessible to law enforcement. Images containing suspicious activity are “flagged” alerting the appropriate law enforcement entity and GPS coordinates and a photo of the activity are transmitted.

Operation Drawbridge began in January 2012; the project was initially funded by a Byrne Justice Assistance Grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office. The majority of current grant funding comes from the Texas Governor’s Office; additional grant funding is also given through the Texas Department of Agriculture. The Department of Public Safety developed the monitoring software and funds the cameras, cell service and batteries and handles the majority of the monitoring responsibilities. The Border Patrol and Sheriff’s Offices are responsible for deploying the cameras, organizing responses to flagged images, and reporting the disposition of their alerts.

As of June 30, 2013, approximately 750 cameras have been successfully deployed resulting in the apprehension of over 14,000 individuals and the seizure of over 33 tons of narcotics, as well as 12 southbound assault rifles.

Chemical Health and Justice Sanctions (CHJS) encompasses screening, assessment, evidence-based services, and supervision for pretrial clients, Drug Treatment Court, OWI (Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated) Treatment Court and sentenced clients. The goal of the program is find smarter cost-effective ways to reduce the jail population without decreasing public safety and to implement evidence-based alternatives and programs that reduce recidivism. Services include cognitive-behavioral treatment, random drug and alcohol testing, electronic monitoring, employment services, and gender-specific programming.

The Chemical Health and Justice Sanctions program is funded by La Crosse County with additional grants used for start-up programs. Upon completion of the grants, all of the projects have continued using local funds. Currently, an evaluation of the OWI Treatment Court is being conducted with funding from the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance.

Since implementing the Chemical Health and Justice Sanctions program, La Crosse County has reduced its jail population from an average daily population of 297 inmates in 2001 to 194 in 2012, while the average daily population for people involved in the CHJS program in 2012 was 272 people. In addition, CHJS participants accounted for 80,469 total bed days in 2011 compared with 63,084 bed days in the La Crosse County jail. The cost per day for someone in the CHJS program is less than $23 per day, while it cost approximately $100 per day to incarcerate someone in the La Crosse County Jail. In 2011, the budget for the CHJS program was just $1.8 million compared to over $6.3 million for the county jail.

However, the most significant achievement of the CHJS program is its ability to maintain the success of its program, allowing for continual support from the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors and the Circuit Court Judges during difficult economic times. CHJS shows that using evidence-based cost-effective measures can reduce jail populations and recidivism.

The Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative employs a multi-systemic approach to reduce misuse of prescription medication and the associated health and crime-related consequences. The program is currently underway in three pilot counties (i.e., Yavapai, Pinal, Graham/Greenlee) and includes five main strategies: 1) reduce illicit acquisition and diversion of prescription medications; 2) educate prescribers and pharmacists about best practices for controlled substances; 3) enhance prescription drug practice and policies in law enforcement; 4) increase public awareness about the risks of prescription drug misuse; and 5) build resilience in children and adults. Once feasibility and efficacy are established, the plan is to replicate the program statewide.

The Initiative was designed to leverage state and local infrastructure and receives no appropriated funding. A major component of the Initiative is the partnership between local community coalitions, the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC), the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth, and Families, the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and DrugFreeAZ. The agencies provide in-kind support, and the community coalitions obtain buy-in, time and services from local members, stakeholders and businesses. The initial costs of program oversight and evaluation were absorbed by ACJC, with a small grant from the Governor’s Office supporting a staff position and assisting the pilot counties with printed materials, media, and training costs.

Thus far, enrollment in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) has collectively increased across the three counties for prescribers (44%), pharmacists (130%) and law enforcement (103%). Placement of 29 permanent drop boxes throughout the three counties has resulted in approximately 500lbs of unused medication collected each month. Numerous trainings have been held in each pilot site for law enforcement, prescribers and pharmacists. Thus far, 808 adults and 7,751 youth have received a research-based curriculum (Rx360) that raises awareness about the risks of prescription drug misuse and promotes proper storage and disposal of medication. The curriculum efforts have been complimented by numerous community events and media coverage that are estimated to have reached over 300,000 people across the three counties.

The New Mexico Tribal-State Judicial Consortium was founded in 1998 by the New Mexico Supreme Court and the Colorado-New Mexico Indian Court Judges Association “to improve awareness and develop information ... about the different judicial and legal systems in place in the State and in the various Tribes and Pueblos.” In 2006, the Consortium was formally recognized as one of the Supreme Court’s advisory committees. It is one of the longest lasting tribal-state court forums in the country with equal representation split between tribal and state court judges. Its mission focuses on improving efforts against domestic violence, law enforcement, and jurisdictional issues. The Consortium has improved awareness and strengthened relationships between tribal and state judiciaries producing positive outcomes like cooperative agreements and procedures for managing multi-jurisdictional cases. One important goal of the Consortium has been to achieve greater fairness in the treatment of native and non-native defendants and victims in state courts.

Currently funded through the New Mexico Legislature general funds, the Consortium was begun with help from the Court Improvement Project basic grant, and supplemented by a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant. The Consortium’s State funding is used to help tribal court judges with travel expenses for regular meetings, and also provides scholarships for conferences.

The most significant benefit of the Consortium is the development of relationships and communication. This benefit is demonstrated through both the state and tribal judges’ endorsement of the program, as well as through the consistent and productive meetings. Judges report that because of the meetings, they form relationships that are useful for discussing difficult cases that arise. On average, 15 out of the 22 Tribal Courts have been attending New Mexico’s annual Judicial Conclave via Tribal Scholarships since 2007. In addition, several Regional Meetings were conducted through BJA funding which increased tribal and state education about each other’s judicial systems. In those events, participants discovered common problems and identified potential solutions regarding particular topics, such as domestic violence protection orders, implementation of SORNA, and the rights of incarcerated parents of Indian children.

2012 Recipients

The Kennebec’s Restorative Community Harvest project provides meaningful agricultural skills to inmates while providing fresh produce for those in need in Kennebec County, Maine and the surrounding area who might not otherwise have access. The project also provides inmates with the hands on training, skills, and the work ethic needed to ensure successful crop production and the opportunity to make a valuable contribution back to their community.

Established 17 years ago, the Inmate Garden was originally designed to cut down on the cost of feeding prisoners at the County jail. Over the years, the focus of the program has shifted from cost savings to training inmates in a marketable trade and teaching them skills such as patience and perseverance that can be transferred to employment opportunities once they are released. Kennebec’s Restorative Community Harvest is a programs driven operation that strives to modify self-destructive behavior. Many of the inmates involved have drug or alcohol Northeast Kennebec’s Restorative Community Harvest (Inmate Garden) dependency issues, and the program offers them alternative methods for dealing with stresses that are inherent in everyday life. Through the program, inmates have the opportunity to experience the fulfillment that comes with seeing a project through to completion. In addition, giving back to the community to whom they have caused harm serves as an important aspect of the restorative justice process for both the perpetrator and the community at large.

The program employs approximately 50 inmates who prepare soil, plant crops, tend the gardens and harvest the produce on 11 acres of land across the county. The produce is then donated to food pantries, soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels kitchens, and elderly housing complexes. In 2011, the program grew and harvested 62,000 pounds of fresh vegetables. This produce was distributed throughout central Maine. The projects goal for 2012 is to increase its’ production to 75,000 pounds of fresh produce.

Project Reentry was established in response to North Carolina’s growing problems of prison overcrowding and offender recidivism. Project Reentry assists ex-offenders with avoiding potential pitfalls associated with life after incarceration. The mission of the program is to improve the reintegration of ex-offenders, reduce criminal justice costs, and increase public safety. These goals are met through a pre- and post- release transitional services system that coordinates with the NC Department of Public Safety, Project Safe Neighborhood networks, law enforcement, employers, vocational/educational providers, health/human service agencies, faith based ministries, and community organizations and volunteers.

Project Reentry’s comprehensive program features three distinct components: a 13-week pre-release curriculum model, a long-term post-release services continuum, and a “PSN Inside Notification” component for targeted inmates. Project Reentry begins working with inmates prior to release through a structured, group-based curriculum. In addition to providing valuable information and education, pre-release sessions allow Project Reentry staff to build trust and familiarity with inmates as they to begin to think beyond the prison walls, overcome emotional barriers, and learn to build healthy human connections. Post release services include career development classes and training; relapse and mental health counseling; transportation, housing and support services; faith-based mentoring and family reunification. The PSN Inside Notification component is based on the High Point Notification model, but it targets the inmate population rather than probationers. The Notification session includes an initial warning similar to that used in the High Point model, then staff explains positive alternatives and encourages participants to attend the next 13 week Project Reentry cycle.

Since 2003, Project Reentry has served 869 participants in pre-to-post release programming with a recidivism rate of 11.2 percent. In addition, of the 2,913 participants in post-release only programming, only 18 percent have returned to prison.

St. Leonard’s Ministries (SLM) provides a holistic setting through which formerly incarcerated men and women can successfully reenter the community and rebuild their lives. Programs offered include short and long term housing, comprehensive case management, employment development programs, educational opportunities and a variety of support services.

St. Leonard’s provides two channels for reentry services: residential and educational. The residential services include: St. Leonard’s House (SLH), a shared living space for 40 men, which provides intensive outpatient addictions treatment, anger management, job training, educational services and family reunification counseling; Grace House, a shared living space for 18 women, with a special emphasis on family reunification and addressing sexual/domestic/ psychological abuse; and St. Andrew’s Court, 42 units of second stage housing for men who successfully complete the SLH program.

In addition, the Michael Barlow Center, serves formerly incarcerated individuals from the broader community with programs and services designed to better situate them in the work force and help with employment. Services include everything from basic literacy tutoring to a high school diploma and the availability of college courses on site. Green building maintenance and culinary skills classes are also available throughout the year. In addition, a Job Developer and a Retention Counselor are on staff to help individuals find employment and stay employed, long term.

The annual recidivism rate for SLH participants is 20 percent compared to over 51 percent for the general population of Illinois. The Grace House recidivism rate is even lower at closer to 5 percent. In addition, SLM’s success has led to an agreement with the Chicago Housing Authority to house stage two Grace House graduates and a Dept. of Justice grant to fund a second Job Developer position at the Barlow Center.

The Yellowstone County Jail-Based Treatment Program is a partnership between the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and the Rimrock Foundation, Montana’s oldest and most comprehensive treatment center. The goal of the YCJBTP is to demonstrate the efficacy of quality intensive treatment and community supervision by collaborating with three adult drug courts to reduce the demand for jail beds, days of incarceration, and reduce the involvement of substance abusers in the criminal justice system. Since its inception in 2006 the program has shown a reduction of substance abuse addiction rates by participants and reduced recidivism rates.

The program was established to address severe the overcrowding in the Yellowstone County jail. It is the only model in the country that links discharging jail-based clients to a drug court for a step down. Offenders are treated for a minimum of three months while incarcerated and upon discharge step down into the intensive outpatient programs of the drug court. The offender agrees in advance of entering the jail-based program to be inducted into one of the three Billings drug courts upon discharge. This permits the client to receive community supervisions and all of the drug court services as they re-integrate into the community.

The program includes extensive case management both in the jail-based program and throughout the drug court portion. This includes life skills training and building skills to obtain or improve employment. The program also offers sober transitional housing to participants upon release for a nominal fee.

In addition to boasting an impressively low 7.3 percent recidivism rate, 2010 statistics also showed that 90 percent of participants were employed one year after release and 100 percent had found stable housing.

The Cass County/Itasca County/Leech Lake Tribal Court Wellness Program is a joint jurisdiction court that addresses the problem of chronic alcohol and drug offenders. The program is based on the National Drug Court model and uses the 10 key components of drug courts. The program offers an alternative to incarceration in an attempt to turn chronic drug and alcohol offenders who are not otherwise criminally oriented into productive and useful citizens. This is done through a treatment program, follow-up on the treatment program, support groups, and court supervision.

Participants are required to attend court on a biweekly basis during the course of their time in the program, complete treatment and aftercare, become employed, and complete a community service project.

At the time of the Wellness Court’s establishment in 2006, Cass County was one of the deadliest counties in the state of Minnesota with an extremely high recidivism rate for chronic alcohol offenders. Because Cass County encompasses a large part of the Leech Lake Reservation, the District Court joined with tribal court leaders to combine resources to address the chronic alcohol and drug offenders within the joint jurisdiction of these courts.

To date the Wellness Court has provided treatment and services to 56 participants. There have been 26 successful graduates and currently there are 23 active participants in the program. The Wellness Court has helped 14 participants obtain a valid license during the program as well as continue their education, find employment, and obtain healthy living environments.

2011 Recipients

The Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee (MHJAC) and the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Justice Center of Excellence (CoE) were created to assist in reducing justice involvement for people with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders by providing technical assistance, guidance, information, and structure.

Since its establishment in November 2009, the CoE serves to promote evidence based strategies that support the sustainability and best practices for the criminal justice and mental health populations. They have also provided vital resources, information, technical assistance, and conducted systems-level mappings to counties seeking to change their policies regarding the diversion of individuals with mental illness and substance abuse from standard criminal prosecution. The CoE has developed and maintained a comprehensive website with vital information to the criminal justice/mental health communities. The CoE is guided by the Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee which provides structure to ensure that Pennsylvania’s criminal justice/mental health activities are coordinated across the state and to ensure counties receive the guidance and support necessary to implement effective responses.

The collaboration between the CoE and the MHJAC has benefited not only mental health clients but has also promoted public safety by identifying appropriate intervention. They have provided technical training and information that have ensured the success of integrating and intercepting justice involved persons with mental health issues in the justice system.

The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy Alternative Sentencing Social Worker Program provides social worker services to indigent criminal defendants who are represented by Kentucky’s public defenders. These social workers develop plans that provide personalized rehabilitative support s that address pivotal aspects of their life such as addiction, physical health, mental health, housing, education, employment, family and other issues to improve the client’s successful function in the community and reduce recidivism.

These social workers are dedicated to developing alternative sentencing plans that assist the client in avoiding re-incarceration and help with a successful, complete, and safe re-integration into their communities upon sentencing by the trail judge. One social worker will carry a caseload involving 20-30 cases at any given time with a desired goal of serving 70 defendants per year. Their caseloads include a mix of juvenile court, family court, misdemeanor court, and felony cases involving mental health and substance abuse issues.

With the assistance of the Kentucky General Assembly and various grants the 12 current social workers have saved the state of Kentucky $100,000 each in incarceration costs and successfully decreased the recidivism rate. The DPA alternative sentencing social worker program is widely supported by prosecutors and judges and has been praised for its accomplishments by notable state court judges such as Judge William E. Lane, 21st Judicial Circuit, Judge Lisa Paynes Jones, Daviess District Court, Division 1, and Judge John P. Chappell, 27th Judicial District, Division 2.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization of the Greater Twin Cities’ Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program provides mentors to children who face the difficult challenges of having a parent or influential family member incarcerated.

Established in 2003, the program primarily concentrates on building child-mentor relationships that help exemplify a positive role model to influence and enhance the child’s future. The program utilizes best practices techniques which are designed to develop life skills that decrease the child’s probability of their own engagement and incarceration with the justice system. Following the standards listed by the BBBS’ proven mentoring model, there are strict procedures for screening mentors and providing match support involving the child-mentor pairs to ensure child safety and growth.

There are approximately 15,000 children in Minnesota who have an incarcerated parent. Through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, private resources, and state support through the Byrne JAG program, The Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program now has 3,250 of these children enrolled in their program. Over a 12 month period, the children of this organization have shown improvements in self-confidence, academic performance, relationships with their peers, and most importantly shown improvements in their ability to avoid delinquency.

This program has successfully transformed the lives of countless children who struggle with having incarcerated parents through positive life experiences.

The El Paso County Reintegration and Recovery Program and Community Detoxification Program are designed to address the issues of criminal recidivism and substance abuse through proactive and reactive comprehensive programs.

Due an increased capacity in jail population and rising percentage of repeat offenders, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) developed the EPSO Reintegration/ Recovery program in 2007 and the El Paso County Community Detoxification Facility in 2009. The Reintegration/Recovery program’s primary goal is to reduce recidivism by providing a multi-systemic program offering education, life skills, and therapy through interactive classes and counseling. The El Paso County Community Detoxification Facility is the only detoxification program in Colorado managed under the jurisdiction of a County Sheriff’s Office. The top priority of the Detoxification Center is to proactively work to keep those with substance abuse issues out of the criminal justice system and local hospitals. The center also focuses on the reduction of substance abuse in El Paso County through rehabilitation programs, effective care, and treatment. Clients are provided with safe housing and care for withdrawal, appropriate medical care, and assessments.

The EPSO Reintegration/Recovery Program has effectively operated for three years and has reduced the recidivism rate to 25 percent among its population of 1,888 participants. Overall the recidivism rate in El Paso County has experienced a significant reduction from 71.33 percent to 67.75 percent in 2008. It has reached the lowest rate yet of 59 percent in 2009 and early indications shows a distinct correlation between the program and the reduction in the recidivism rate. The Detoxification facility has treated 6,166 clients.

Alaska Native villages and Indian Country have the highest rates of domestic violence, criminal victimization and suicide in the nation. Yet adults today in most remote Eskimo villages can remember a time when there was no crime in their village. Most of these communities still do not have state court systems or police. The Alaska Traditional Justice System is a 2-part seminar that reinstates traditional justice systems which do not require the support of western police or courts. An initial training session explains how pre-contact justice systems utilize values instead of written laws as a legitimate system of governance. A follow-up session provides technical assistance to address specific community crimes, threats or problems with traditional solutions from the community’s own elders.

This training is based on two assumptions: (a) the high crime rates and suicide rates in Indian Country are symptoms of cultural destruction; and (b) cultural trauma is exacerbated by the application of western legal system values to Native communities holding traditional values. The trainer bases his work on 20 years of legal and personal experiences in over 50 Alaska Native villages.

Since establishment in the fall of 2010, with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, onsite trainings have occurred in the remote Alaska villages of Kongiganak, Kipnuk, Gambell, Savoonga, Newtok, and Hooper Bay. General training sessions have occurred in Bethel, Alaska, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.