Division of Criminal Justice Services

Welcome to eFocus, an electronic newsletter produced by the NYS Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (DPCA).  As part of DPCA's goal to promote public safety through probation services and other community corrections programs, it publishes this newsletter.  We welcome your suggestions.   

eFocus, Issue Number 27, August 19, 2004

NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives

Sara Tullar Fasoldt, State Director

Robert Maccarone, Executive Deputy Director


  1. Web site to feature “Acts of Valor” – Information Sought
  2. Probation Officer of the Year is Shelley Miller from Erie County
  3. Probation and Child Welfare:  Partnerships in Assessment and Service Delivery
  4. Probation Provided DWI Supervision Survey Results
  5. Allegany and Genesee Counties Noted for V-DISC Use
  6. Victims Counselor Credited for Inspiring Victim to Counsel Other Victims
  7. State Seeks Nominations for Outstanding Contributions to the Hispanic Community
  8. Probation and Parole Statistics Updated
  9. National Criminal Justice Reference Service Subscription Information
  10. Awards and Events

1. Acts of Valor performed in the field by Community Corrections professionals to be featured on DPCA Web Site - Every day professionals working in the fields of Probation and Alternatives to Incarceration programs perform “Acts of Valor” in the line of duty.  Whether it is saving a life, risking one’s own life to protect another, or preventing a crime, community corrections professionals play an invaluable role in New York State’s initiative toward crime reduction, crime prevention, and public safety.  As reported in the last issue of eFocus, DPCA has revised the web site (http://dpca.state.ny.us) and we plan to include a new feature entitled “Acts of Valor: Community Corrections at its Best!”  Please join us in honoring individuals by sending information to State Director Sara Tullar Fasoldt, at DPCA, 80 Wolf Road, Albany, New York 12205 or Yvonne.Behan@dpca.state.ny.us for publication on the DPCA web site. 

2. Probation Officer of the Year is Officer Shelley Miller from the Erie County Probation Department - State Director of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (DPCA) Sara Tullar Fasoldt, presented Erie County Probation Officer Shelley Miller with the DPCA 2004 Probation Officer of the Year Award at the annual NYS Probation Officers Association (POA) Training and Conference held in Albany, New York from August 11-13, 2004.   Officer Miller was nominated for this most prestigious statewide award by Erie County Probation Director George Alexander for her actions involving the supervision of a registered Level III sex offender.  Officer Miller supervises a caseload of registered sex offenders in Erie County and on April 24, 2003 she made an unannounced home visit to a sex offender and disrupted his plan to sexually victimize then murder a youth in the nearby community.   Visit DPCA web site for full details at http://dpca.state.ny.us

3. Probation and Child Welfare:  Partnerships in Assessment and Service Delivery -- Live Teleconference to be broadcast September 20th – Probation and DSS play key roles in 1) identifying risk of recidivism among JD and PINS youth, 2) striving to provide services to youth within the context of family and community, and 3) matching youth and families to the right services.  This teleconference presented jointly by DPCA and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) will focus on developing social services and probation partnerships to more effectively pinpoint and address the specific needs of youth and their families.  Probation department staff development officers are encouraged to contact the local DSS site coordinators to make viewing arrangements for this teleconference airing Monday, September 20, 2004 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.  For additional information contact Norma Tyler, DPCA Community Corrections Representative III at (518) 485-5160 or norma.tyler@dpca.state.ny.us

4. DWI Supervision Survey: 51 Counties Respond - According to a recent DPCA survey of probation departments, 33 counties have officers with specialized DWI caseloads - a total of 98.5 full time positions.  The survey included questions on early discharge, the relationship with drug courts for DWI offenders, how probation becomes aware of offender illegal driving behaviors, and joint police/probation activities, to name a few. The survey will soon be available in the Probation Services Suite of eJusticeNY.  For additional survey results and information contact Stephen Powers, DPCA Director of Training at (518) 485-2402 or Stephen.powers@dpca.state.ny.us

5. ColumbiaUniversity Publicizes Allegany and Genesee County Probation Departments’ Use of V-DISC and YASI.  The PINS Program in Dutchess Called a Strength and Use of V-DISC with YASI Found Beneficial The July 2004 issue of Columbia University’s newsletter promoting mental health in juvenile justice, “Getting it Right,” noted Allegany and Genesee counties’ use of the V-DISC.  In an article entitled, Updates from the Field, it stated that Columbia University “hoped to assist DPCA in creating a more effective mental health screening and assessment process by examining the effectiveness of using both the YASI and the V-DISC.”   Another article in the same newsletter, noted a study which praised Dutchess County’s PINS program.  The study, commissioned by the County, named the program “a strength among programs for youth at risk.”  When asked about the use of the V-DISC, the PINS Coordinator for the Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene, Marie Dynes, said “in addition to obtaining more truthful responses from the youth, the instrument has helped them identify youth that may have otherwise gone undetected for mental health needs.” Additional findings of the report and the entire newsletter can be found by visiting Columbia University’s site at http://www.promotementalhealth.org/mailing_list.htm

6. Victim to Counsel Other Victims: Credits Probation Crime Victims Counselor for Helping Him and other Family Members Cope – Ulster County Crime Victim’s Counselor Anne Nissen is being credited for her assistance to a victim and his family so inspiring that the victim is obtaining education to counsel others.  Joe Covello’s aunt was murdered and her murderer recently sentenced to state prison. Now Covello, who plans to take a course enabling him to counsel other crime victims and their families to honor her memory, said he was inspired to join the Crime Victims Assistance Program by Ulster County Crime Victim’s counselor Anne Nissen.  Nissen said the things she did for this family was no different from anything any other counselor does for other families whose lives have been scarred by violent crime. ''Each family's needs are different and unique,'' she said. ''But what we
try to do is help people hang on to the strengths they have, help them find
what's real, what makes them feel safe in a chaotic time in their lives."   Nice work Anne, and all of your colleagues in Ulster County Probation as well! 

7. State Seeks Nominations for Outstanding Contributions to the Hispanic Community - Each year the Hispanic heritage month is celebrated nationally from September 15th through October 15th. This year, the New York State Hispanic Heritage Month Committee has selected the theme: "Hispanic Preserving Our Culture, Expanding Our Horizons, Celebrating Our Successes." During this event, individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Hispanic community will be recognized and scholarships will be given to Hispanic students who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement.  There will be three award categories: Community Service, Education, and Law Enforcement. For additional information, please contact Lt. Colonel Pedro J. Perez, New York State Police, NYSP Division Headquarters at 518-457-3869 or via email at PPERZ@Troopers.ny.gov

8.  Probation and Parole Statistics Updated – For information on Probation and Parole statistics see "Probation and Parole in the United States, 2003" (8 pp.)  (NCJ 205336). This report provides the number of persons on probation and parole, by State, at year end 2003 and compares the totals with year end 1995 and 2000. (BJS).  The full text can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/ppus03.htm.

9. Gangs Examined - The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering justice and substance abuse information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide. The topics covered would be of great interest to all community corrections professionals.  This month’s issue featured a piece examining how rural and urban gangs differ in many respects, and suggests that policies and practices related to urban gangs may not apply to rural ones  (National Institute of Justice Journal 251 – 36pp).  To access the full text and obtain information about subscribing to the service, visit http://puborder.ncjrs.org/register/.

10.  Awards and Events –

Juvenile Justice Institute on School-Based Probation - The DPCA Juvenile Justice Institute invites Probation to bring key school partners from their highest referring district to this NYS sponsored event to be held in Albany from October 20-22, 2004.  Applications for your submission will be forwarded in the near future. With Probation as the lead, each application should include 3 to 4 members of a team who are in the position to follow through with school-based probation models. Accommodations and meals will be provided forall team members. For more information contact DPCA Community Corrections Representative Patti Donohue at patricia.donohue@dpca.state.ny.us or (518) 485-5158.

Saratoga Statewide Symposium - The statewide teleconference held in March 2004 initiated a major discussion of what works and the effectiveness of probation in promoting community safety.  This Symposium, to be held in Saratoga, New York on November 15 and 16, 2004, will provide probation professionals with an opportunity to advance this dialogue and shape probation practice in New York State.  Specialized training for probation directors and their deputies may include topics such as classification and management of offenders, the utilization of risk/needs and other professional tools, procedural justice, responsivity, career development, crime trends, and recidivism.  Additional information will be provided in future correspondence.

Dutchess County Probation Officer Roger Roush received his GREAT (Gang Resistance, Education and Training) certification on June 25, 2004 after a two week course of instruction from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. GREAT is a training curriculum designed for 6th and 7th grade students.   Plans are being made for Officer Roush to begin teaching the 13 week curriculum in the City of Poughkeepsie School District this fall.  Officer Roush is the first probation officer on the East Coast to receive the certification.  Congratulations!

eFocus is the property of DPCA.  Articles may be reprinted with attribution to the Division.  For more information on any of the topics mentioned above, to report any difficulties you may have experienced receiving this email, or, if you have information you would like posted in the next issue of DPCA's eFocus, please contact Yvonne Behan at (518) 485-5157 or at yvonne.behan@dpca.state.ny.us.

The eFocus is now distributed to well over 3000 community corrections professionals across New York State.  You may receive more than one copy if your name and email address appear on different criminal justice and community corrections mailing lists.  If so, please e-mail Yvonne Behan at Yvonne.behan@dpca.state.ny.us the name you would like removed from distribution.