2013 OJCP Award Recipients

Below are the Outstanding Criminal Justice Program award winners for 2013. Click below to view more information about:

Northeast Region

DC Youth Link

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.

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Southern Region

Operation Drawbridge

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.

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Midwestern Region

Chemical Health and Justice Sanctions, La Crosse County Human Services

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.

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Western Region

Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative

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 500 lbs 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.

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Tribal Region

New Mexico Tribal-State Judicial Consortium

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.

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