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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.

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Episode 16: A Conversation with BJA - Program Areas and the Byrne JAG Solicitation

Following the release of the Byrne JAG Solicitation, this episode will feature Tarasa Napolitano from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) who will discuss 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.

Read the full transcript

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 DiversionAdvancing Pretrial Policy & Research, the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies and the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association.

Read the full transcript

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.

 

Read the full transcript

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.

 

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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.

 

Read the full transcript

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Read the full transcript

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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. 

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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.

Read the full transcript

 

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.

Read the full transcript

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.