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2019 OJCP Award Recipients


Below are the Outstanding Criminal Justice Program award winners for 2018. Click below to view more information about:

Northeastern Region

The Phoenix Association: Changing the Culture of Prisons Project


The Phoenix Association is a CT based nonprofit with the mission to change the organizational culture of criminal justice and correctional systems. Starting with CT prisons, Phoenix enables culture change through a process of facilitated conversations and dialogues between and among correctional staff and successful formerly incarcerated persons (FIP). The immediate outcome is twofold: (1) correctional staff learn directly from FIPs what factors facilitate or inhibit success; and (2) through the process of shared life experiences, participants’ capacity for empathy, understanding and compassion are quickly enhanced and misconceptions and false attributions and judgments altered. The mid- and long-term outcomes are safer and more humane, restorative and rehabilitative prisons and greater success upon release.

The Phoenix program is a unique process of culture change – no other culture change program incorporates formerly incarcerated persons. The essential catalyst for change is the sharing of lived-experiences of participants in a group format that is accepting, respectful, and non-confrontational. Evidence-based practices (EBP) and evidence-informed programs (EIP) are more effective and positive results more sustainable if delivered in a restorative context and through compassionate respectful relationships. Phoenix believes that meaningful and sustainable changes and the effective application of EBP and EIP require a restorative culture and respectful compassionate relationships.

The Phoenix Prison Project with the Connecticut Department of Correction has yielded promising results. In 2017, 29 wardens, deputy wardens, district administrators, and directors completed a three-session Phoenix program. In 2018, Phoenix launched it in-prison project with frontline correctional staff. To date, 33 officers and counselors at Osborn Correctional Institution have completed a three-session Phoenix program. Combined, this represents 11 cohorts each yielding similar positive results. Thus far, post-program data indicate:

  • Ninety percent (90%) of senior staff and one-hundred (100%) of frontline staff report, “the Phoenix Program helps correctional staff become familiar with former inmates who have benefitted from their time in prison and are unlikely to recidivate.”

  • One-hundred percent (100%) of senior staff and one-hundred (100%) of frontline staff report, “the Phoenix Program helps correctional staff members learn what they can do to help inmates develop in positive ways.”

  • Ninety percent (90%) of senior staff and eighty-three percent (83%) of frontline staff report, “the Phoenix Program helps correctional staff members become more confident and motivated to instigate and support positive developments in inmates.”

  • One-hundred percent (100%) of senior staff and one-hundred (100%) of frontline staff report that “the Phoenix Program was well run.”

Its success has led to requests for expansion to other organizations including prosecutors, judges, public defenders, probation and parole officers, police departments and other prison systems across the country. Individual contributions and private foundations fund the Phoenix program. Phoenix has plans for secure state funding to support sustainability and additional private funding for research and larger multi-year private grants for capacity building and program expansion.


Southern Region

Prince William County Public Schools Human Trafficking, Identification and Referral  


Prince William County, Virginia’s Human Trafficking Referral program employs a comprehensive wrap-around approach to educate, identify and support the behavioral health needs of at-risk youth involved in the continuum of human trafficking. Identified youth receive coordinated care for health, counseling and psychiatric consultation as well as intensive case management by a school-based provider.

Prince William County Public Schools was the first district in Virginia to implement the project, and the only comprehensive program of this type in the country. It is a partnership between the public schools and community agencies including juvenile court services, juvenile detention, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, local police departments, mental health services, health care and other non-profit agencies. Agencies collaborate on a multifaceted approach which includes a classroom prevention lesson with triage and victim support services, a media campaign, school staff training and community awareness.

All 9th grade students in the county receive the classroom prevention lesson during Health and P.E. classes. The 90-minute lesson uses motivational interviewing techniques to encourage victims to reach out for assistance, it defines human trafficking, addresses grooming, branding and red flags and explains how to obtain assistance. At the end of the lesson students can privately indicate if they have concerns on behalf of themselves or a friend. Identified students can then access services including mental health, medical care, dental care and branding removal. Information about traffickers is passed on to an inter-agency law enforcement team.

A media campaign brings awareness through a public service announcement that is shown in Prince William County movie theaters. The community awareness piece includes presentations to various community groups including local hospitals, libraries and universities with training on how to identify and support victims of human trafficking.

The majority of confirmed cases of trafficking have come from referrals from parents, teachers, school social workers, nurses and counselors. Program coordinators collaborate with school social workers and meet with identified students and their parents to provide support. Program partners work together as a multi-disciplinary team to deliver individualized services and provide case management to the student until they reach the age of 18.

Since its implementation in 2012, over 30,000 students have received the prevention lesson on human trafficking. More than 784 students have requested to speak with a school social worker, and over 238 students were identified as victims of sexual assault, grooming or trafficking. The program helps to identify roughly 20 new cases of confirmed human trafficking each school year.

The program was initially funded by the Potomac Health Foundation. In 2016, the program was awarded a three-year Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Title II grant. In 2018, additional social worker positions and a Human Trafficking Prevention Specialist were added to the school board budget, allowing for long-term program sustainability.


Midwest Region

Franklin County, Ohio Pathways Achieving Recovery through Choice (Pathways ARC) 


Franklin County, Ohio’s Pathways Achieving Recovery through Choice (Pathways ARC) works to address the disproportionate number of incarcerated females with an identified mental health disorder. Its goals are to decrease the number of incarcerated individuals with mental health or co-occurring disorders in the local jail by 30 percent; reduce the disparities in length of stay and increase treatment linkages to improve outcomes. The program uses a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to help justice involved individuals successfully transition back into their communities.

Pathways ARC addresses the need for gender responsive and trauma informed care through collaboration with entities including the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Division of Police, the mental health treatment community and multiple elected local officials and volunteers. Recognizing the importance of establishing a support network immediately upon release, Pathways ARC includes both pre-and-post release programing. The pre-release program begins with an eight-week intensive curriculum which blends cognitive behavioral therapy, recovery management and a variety of pro-social activities such as art, yoga and life coaching. sports. Eligible participants also receive Medication Assisted Treatment. The post-release program links participants with a Peer Support Specialist and CIT trained law enforcement officer who support the participant through both the pre-and post-release process. A case manager is also assigned to work with each participant to ensure they have access to benefits, state identification, mental health or substances abuse treatment services, housing, transportation, hygiene products, clothing and food.

Since the program’s establishment in 2016, 258 participants have participated in the voluntary program, 151 have successfully graduated from the pre-release portion and 101 have reached a post-release milestone of one or two years. In addition, despite a 100 percent recidivism rate prior to enrollment, only 37 graduates have returned to the Franklin County Corrections Center. The program has also generated considerable cost savings by significantly reducing jail bed nights, from 9,025 in the three years prior to the program’s implementation, to 854 two years post implementation.

Pathways ARC was initially funded with a Justice Mental Health Collaboration grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Currently, the program has secured both an FY18 Medication Assisted Treatment-Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and an FY18 Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program grant from BJA. These grant funds will allow for program sustainment through 2021. Additionally, local general fund appropriations support staffing and program implementation.

Due to the success of the Pathways program, Franklin County has secured funding to launch a similar program for justice involved males battling opioid use disorder. The program is set to launch in the summer of 2019.


Western Region

San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project


The San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project (SF Pretrial) is dedicated to comprehensive pretrial reform, incorporating innovative risk assessment technology, data-driven supervisory strategies, performance measurement and strong stakeholder relationships. The agency places strong emphasis on the presumption of innocence, public safety, and driving client success through carefully curated and individualized conditions of release.

Established in 1976, SF Pretrial is an independent nonprofit agency. Since its inception, SF Pretrial has grown to provide a wide range of pretrial services, including alternatives to traditional prosecution through pretrial diversion and restorative justice courts; behavioral health support groups; fine diversion; liaison services for the Superior Courts; and three distinct levels of pretrial supervision. The agency screens all misdemeanor and felony cases using the Public Safety Assessment tool, facilitating release at pre-arraignment, arraignment, and post-arraignment stages.

SF Pretrial is embedded in the Courts and justice system and works in partnership with the Sheriff’s Department, Courts, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender Office, Mayor’s Office, Board of Supervisors, Bar Association, other city departments, and community organizations. When the program began in 1976, it was funded through the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, private donors, fines, and fees. Currently, the majority of agency funding comes from the Sheriff’s Department and San Francisco General Fund, with additional contributions provided by the District Attorney’s Office, Collaborative Courts, San Francisco Foundation, and Arnold Ventures. 

A third-party program evaluation demonstrated that 87 percent of SF Pretrial release clients attend their court appearance on a monthly basis and 90 percent of clients complete their program successfully without being charged with a new offense, exceeding national standards.

The agency has been utilizing the Arnold Public Safety Assessment (PSA) since 2016. SF Pretrial provides training and technical assistance on the PSA’s methodology, application and translation into release programs. In the past two years, SF Pretrial’s Training & Development program has trained over 200 local partners on the PSA, client referral processes, and SF Pretrial’s programming. SF Pretrial is currently in the process of working with California Policy Lab to analyze the PSA for the purpose of local validation.

Prince William County, VA
Franklin County, OH
SF Pretrial
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