The NCJA Podcast
NCJA is excited to officially launch our new podcast series, The NCJA Podcast. Produced with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, this podcast series will explore promising practices, provide guidance on strategic planning and discuss the fundamentals of the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program.
Podcasts will be released on a regular basis.
We hope that you will share these podcasts with others that may find them valuable. They are designed as resource to showcase the important Byrne JAG funded work underway in states across the country and highlight the crucial role Byrne JAG plays in spurring innovation and testing and replicating evidence-based practices in crime control and prevention nationwide.
Episode 21: Setting Priorities for Strategic Planning
In this episode of the NCJA podcast, Program Manager Amanda Blasko discusses priority setting with Allison Badger, Director of the Center for Justice Planning. This conversation highlights the importance of setting priorities within the strategic planning process, pinpoints the integral components of stakeholder engagement and data, and provides advice on navigating board and stakeholder dynamics and the impact of long-term grantees on this stage of the strategic planning process.
Episode 20: Community Engagement: A Guide to Meaningful Relationship Building
NCJA Program Managers Amanda Blasko and Amir Chapel discuss community engagement: what this phrase really means, and how to engage individuals and organizations meaningfully. Topics covered in this episode include challenges and barriers to engaging the community in terms of process and thinking outside the standard box of practices, how to engage with individuals and/or organizations from marginalized communities who have been historically shut out of grant and government processes or were not engaged in a productive way and engaging those with lived experience.
Episode 19: New York's Project Rise with Joseph Popcun
In this episode, Joseph Popcun, Executive Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services discusses the state of New York’s new violence reduction initiative Project Rise: Respond, Invest, Sustain and Empower.
Project Rise is a $28 million statewide community violence prevention and community empowerment program to reach the people and places most impacted by the increase in pandemic-era violence. A unique program and funding model, Project Rise brings together community stakeholders to respond to gun violence, invest in solutions, sustain positive programming, and empower communities. Project RISE is meant to be a “grassroots” or “bottom-up” strategy to listen, learn from, and lift up the communities by directing resources where they are most needed.
To provide context, this episode also discusses the history of violence prevention and reduction efforts in New York as well as how Project Rise fits into the larger scope of work to help communities build capacity to implement and sustain programming to address the underlying factors contributing to violence in the community and enhance responses to violence within the community through increased community partnerships and programming with a healing and equity lens.
Episode 18: Trauma Recovery Centers: A Comprehensive Response for Victims of Violent Crime
In this episode, NCJA Program Manager Gillian Caplan speaks with Shakyra Diaz, Chief of Federal Advocacy for the Alliance for Safety and Justice and Stephen Massey, Director of the CitiLookout Trauma Recovery Center in Springfield, Ohio about the innovative and life-changing work of Trauma Recovery Centers and how they are providing critical resources to victims of violent crime.
Trauma Recovery Centers (TRCs) are a transformational model of care for survivors of violent crime that removes barriers to health and stability in order to heal communities as well as interrupt cycles of violence and connect underserved and vulnerable populations to needed services and resources quickly and efficiently. The TRC model is specifically designed to reach those who have fallen through the cracks of traditional support services.
By the spring of 2020, 35 TRCs were implemented nationwide from California to Georgia and this episode discusses the different components and strategies to building the centers to better support victims of violent crime.
Episode 17: Equity in Grants Administration with Latrina Kelly-James
In this episode, NCJA Program Manager Gillian Caplan speaks with equity subject matter expert Latrina Kelly-James, Principal at Oya Strategies, about foundational principles funding agencies should consider when incorporating equity into their agencies’ practices.
Building off NCJA’s “An Introduction to Equity in Grants Administration” one-pager, this episode helps to define what NCJA means when discussing “equity” and walks through 6 different recommendations for implementing trust based grantmaking practices based on the model by Trust Based Philanthropy Thinking. Additionally, Latrina introduces the concept “Perspectives over Perceptions”, specifically when it comes to practicing equitable grantmaking, and the importance of centering this idea when state administering agencies and other funding agencies consider their funding allocations and their relationship to sub awardees.
Episode 16: A Conversation with BJA - Program Areas and the Byrne JAG Solicitation
Following the release of the Byrne JAG Solicitation, NCJA Program Director Allison Badger speaks with Tarasa Napolitano from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) about the Byrne JAG areas of emphasis and priority areas for this administration and how these should be considered by SAAs as they develop their Byrne JAG strategic plans and applications for potential subawards. This episode will provide insight into the development of the solicitation as well as helpful information on new areas of criminal justice states can explore as they conduct their strategic planning process. Finally, this episode will discuss new requirements to the application process and resources for states as well as additional funding and projects SAAs can engage in through BJA such as Project Safe Neighborhoods and the National Public Safety Partnership in an effort to encourage and promote braided and blended funding.
Episode 15: An Overview of Pretrial Justice Programs with Spike Bradford
In this episode, NCJA Program Manager Simone Greene speaks with Spike Bradford, also a former program manager at NCJA, subject matter expertise in pretrial justice. Spike provides an overview of some of the most impactful pretrial justice program types, all of which can be funded, in whole or part, with Byrne JAG dollars.
The pretrial stage of the criminal justice process is critical because decisions about arrest, diversion, detention and more, have lasting impacts on each case and on each accused individual. Effective pretrial justice programs can help jurisdictions make more informed decisions that reduce costs and strain on their justice systems while increasing fairness and equity for accused individuals.
Organizations and initiatives referenced in this episode include Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion, Advancing Pretrial Policy & Research, the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies and the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association.
Episode 14: The Tennessee Family Justice Center (FJC) Statewide Initiative with Daina Moran and Heather Brack
In this episode, NCJA Program Manager Gillian Caplan speaks with Daina Moran, deputy director of Tennessee’s Office of Criminal Justice Programs, the state administering agency for Tennessee, and Heather Brack, NCJA’s Grants Accounting Manager and former Program Director of the Johnson City/Washington County (TN) FJC about the FJC programs in their state.
FJCs are multiagency, multidisciplinary centers where staff from public and private agencies provide services to victims at a single location. This reduces the number of times victims must tell their story, reduces the number of places victims must go for help, and increases access to services and support for victims, their children and families.
With the initial three years of programming funded through Byrne JAG awards, Tennessee has successfully launched 13 FJCs across the state since 2012.
Episode 13: The 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with Dr. Abigail Tucker and Elizabeth Pyke
In this episode, NCJA Program Manager Simone Greene speaks with Dr. Abigail Tucker and Elizabeth Pyke, NCJA’s director of government affairs about the 988, the new 3-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that will roll out in 2022.
Abigail Tucker is a Denver-based psychologist whose work includes working directly with first responders, veterans, criminal and juvenile justice entities and behavioral health providers. She is a passionate advocate for eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders and their treatment. Learn more about Dr. Tucker’s work. Elizabeth Pyke works tirelessly to monitor congressional developments related to criminal justice spending, ensuring that state administering agencies (SAAs) are up-to-date on, and have a voice in, relevant legislation and policy. Learn more here.
Episode 12: Video Court and Language Impairments with Lisa Vavonese and Michele LaVigne
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many jurisdictions to create or expand the use of video court proceedings. The practice has many benefits, particularly in minimizing person-to-person contact. It also poses some fundamental challenges that must be considered before or during implementation. People with language impairments—estimated to be at least 35% of adults and 50% of youth that enter the criminal and juvenile legal systems—are already at a disadvantage in court and may fare even worse when proceedings are virtual.
In this episode, NCJA Executive Director Chris Asplen speaks with Lisa Vavonese, director of Research-Practice Strategies at the Center for Court Innovation and Michele LaVigne, emeritus distinguished clinical professor of law and former director of the Public Defender Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. These two subject matter experts discuss the pros and cons of video court and how it poses critical challenges for people with language impairments.
Learn more about Lisa Vavonese’s work.
Learn more about Michele LaVigne’s work.
Episode 11: SAA and SAC Partnership in Strategic Planning with Mike Fargen and Kellie Rabenhorst
States’ Statistical Analysis Centers (SAC) can be valuable resources for State Administering Agencies (SAA) for incorporating data into their Byrne JAG strategic planning efforts. While the SAA understands the state and national criminal justice landscape, the SAC is an expert on data. In this episode, Matt Wade, a program manager at NCJA, talks with Mike Fargen (former SAC director in Nebraska) and Kellie Rabenhorst (former SAA in Nebraska) about how these two key positions can and should work in partnership. Both Mike and Kellie have recently joined the OVC VOCA Center at NCJA.
Episode 10: Local CJ Planning Board Engagement Strategies in Oregon and Virginia
As State Administering Agencies across the nation look for effective approaches to include diverse stakeholder groups into their planning processes, many have found success engaging their state’s local criminal justice planning boards. In this podcast, we speak with Tom Fitzpatrick (Division Director for Programs and Services for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services) and Ian Davidson (Justice Reinvestment Manager for the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission) about each state’s history in supporting local criminal justice planning boards, the benefits of engaging such boards and advice for other states looking to provide support.
Episode 09: Adverse Childhood Effects (ACEs) in Maryland with Glenn Fueston
The latest episode of The NCJA Podcast highlights Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s New Executive Order to tackle the impacts of Adverse Childhood Effects (ACEs). Episode 9 specifically reviews the Handle with Care program, launched by the Governor’s Office in 2018, one of the first programs in the nation to specifically address ACEs. Also discussed is how the data from this program has assisted Governor Hogan to support additional initiatives such as Project Bounce Back. Finally, this episode discusses how the Governor’s Office has used Byrne JAG funding to launch these programs and how they plan to ensure this work is sustainable and institutionalized through exciting new initiatives.
Episode 08: Byrne JAG Penalties with Elizabeth Pyke
This podcast episode was produced thanks to the contributions of NCJA members. To learn more about becoming an NCJA member, visit our membership page. On this episode, NCJA’s director of communications, Bethany Broida, continues her conversation about the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, with Byrne JAG expert and NCJA’s director of government affairs, Elizabeth Pyke. Elizabeth explains the scale, intent and impact of Byrne JAG penalties that are tied to the program. The topic is widely discussed and often misunderstood.
Episode 07: Community Violence Interventions with Gillian Caplan
In April 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration announced historic investments in Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programming to combat the gun violence epidemic. In an effort to support communities seeking to implement or expand programs in this area, NCJA has released ‘An Overview: Community Violence Intervention Strategies,’ a fact sheet with tangible examples of four of the main types of CVI strategies. This resource provides Byrne JAG State Administering Agencies and other partners a foundation of understanding for supporting existing or new CVI programs. Gillian Caplan, the author of the fact sheet, discusses the four types of CVIs and how they fit into the current justice landscape.
Episode 06: Diverting Justice-Involved Youth with San Joaquin County’s Project Navigate Constructive Change
San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office’s Project Navigate Constructive Change (PNCC) diverts justice-involved youth away from deeper system involvement and promotes thoughtful life choices with participants engaging in education, counseling, employment assistance and life skills coaching. PNCC was started in 2015 using Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds and has since relied on Byrne JAG funding to grow the program.
In this episode, NCJA’s Gillian Caplan interviews Deputy Director Ricardo Goodridge from California’s Board of State and Community Corrections and San Joaquin County Chief Deputy District Attorneys Jeff Derman and Ken Puckett about how the program works, the importance of justice system and community partners and the upcoming introduction of a restorative justice component.
Episode 05: Connecticut’s WORTH Female Correctional Unit —a Promising Practice in Reentry
In June 2018, the WORTH (Women Overcoming Recidivism Through Hard Work) unit was founded in the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s sole female-only prison. NCJA’s Gillian Caplan interviews Under Secretary Marc Pelka, Warden Trina Sexton and Captain Anna Lussier as they discuss the history, approach and successes of the innovative unit.
Funded initially with Byrne JAG dollars, WORTH is a specialized housing unit within the facility that serves an adult female population with approaching release dates. The progressive curriculum was largely developed by the program’s founding members and is designed to help women acquire and maintain the necessary skills to become successful following their release. The women participating in the WORTH Unit are aged 18 to 25 and live with older incarcerated mentors. Together, they are given wide latitude to implement the program themselves.
Episode 03: Key Elements for Creating an Effective Byrne JAG Strategic Plan with Allison Badger
In this episode, Allison Badger, NCJA’s Byrne JAG Training and Technical Assistance Program Director, discusses the importance of creating a strategic plan to guide each state’s Byrne JAG investments. Topics include the essential components of strategic plans, tips for engaging a diverse group of stakeholders in the process, setting targeted and achievable goals and the ways in which NCJA can support state administering agencies (SAAs) in the strategic planning process.
Episode 04: Pennsylvania's Virtual Strategic Planning Success with Mike Pennington and Samantha Koch
In May 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) undertook a virtual strategic planning process to create the agency's 2021-2025 Strategic Framework. The effort has been a great success. In this episode, NCJA's Allison Badger interviews PCCD's Mike Pennington and Samantha Koch as they discuss the virtual strategic planning process, including the steps and components of the work, the tools they used, obstacles they encountered and the important roles that leadership played. They also discuss the aspects of virtual planning that may endure beyond the pandemic.
Episode 2: Community Coalitions with Dale Woolery and Dennis Wiggins
In Episode 2, Dale Woolery and Dennis Wiggins from the Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy discuss their successful use of community coalitions in the state. A statewide network of coalitions — the Iowa Alliance of Coalitions for Change, or AC4C — applied for and received Byrne JAG funding, enabling them to bring a broad range of stakeholders and voices to the justice planning table. Woolery and Wiggins explain how this approach works and how it can lead to sustainable, inclusive efforts.
Episode 1: Byrne JAG 101 with Elizabeth Pyke
Episode 1 is an overview of Byrne JAG featuring NCJA Director of Government Affairs and resident Byrne JAG expert, Elizabeth Pyke, answering FAQs about the Byrne JAG program. She discusses the overall purposes of the grants, the role of the SAA, how awards are calculated and how the funds are used. Importantly, she highlights the flexibility states have in the kinds of programs and projects they invest in with Byrne JAG. Whether you are new to the Byrne JAG program or looking to refresh your knowledge, this podcast is a great resource.
This podcast was created with the support of Grant No. 2016-YA-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions are those of the authors.