Welcome to the 3rd issue of DPCA's eFocus, an electronic newsletter from the NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives.  As part of DPCA's goal to promote and facilitate probation services and other community corrections programs,  DPCA will e-publish this brief publication summarizing and highlighting appropriate information to the community corrections community at-large. 

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eFocus, Issue 3, December 4, 2002

NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives

Sara Tullar Fasoldt, State Director

Robert Maccarone, Executive Deputy Director

http://www.dpca.state.ny.us

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Your comments regarding the eFocus have been very positive.  We appreciate your feedback and look forward to continuing to provide you with information that is both pertinent and important.  Please continue to submit your thoughts and suggestions.   Thank you.

1.     DPCA has been asked by the NYS Department of Health to inform you of a multiple agency collaboration for individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and are at risk of being cared for in a nursing home due to absence of any obvious alternative.   One component of a comprehensive strategy developed by the NYS Department of Health is the Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid Waiver.  This waiver was developed to assure that New Yorkers with a traumatic brain injury could receive services within New York in the least restrictive setting.  This initiative includes those individuals involved with the criminal justice system such as those currently incarcerated and soon to be released, or charged with a crime and a pre-sentence investigation is being conducted.   The traumatic brain injury could have occurred years earlier.  This program is not an alternative to incarceration program; however, it could play a vital role in discharge planning or pre-sentence recommendations. The individual to be served must be a Medicaid recipient, and be between the ages of 18 and 64. A list of regional resource development specialists representing all areas across New York State is available by contacting the statewide coordinator, Bruce Rosen, at the Department of Health at 518-474-6580 or via email at Bhr01@health.state.ny.us.

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2.     Ex-offenders who maintain or re-establish family ties are more likely to stay employed, less likely to commit new crimes, and are more dedicated to a sober lifestyle. DPCA funds twenty-one TANF for Community Corrections programs that work with parents involved with the criminal justice system to increase success and reduce recidivism.  These programs are family focused and aim to keep children cared for in their own homes when appropriate and possible. One program, a Oneida County Probation Department collaboration, called Project STEP and operated by the Family Nurturing Center of Central New York, was the subject of an article in the Observer Dispatch in September.  The article traced the life of a current participant who as a child was sexually, verbally and physically abused and grew up surrounded by alcoholism.  He was a single parent of three children who were removed from home upon his arrest for burglary.  After serving 20 months in state prison, this individual was released and sought to regain custody of his children and turn his life around.  With the help of the Project STEP program, he has not only found and maintained employment, but has also regained custody of his children. He and his children attend regular family focused meetings at STEP.  This participant has remained arrest free and employed, and has become a  self-sufficient, reliable parent who is a contributing member of society - - another TANF for Community Corrections success story!

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3.   The 2003 NYS Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Fine Arts Display has provided us with an opportunity to work with the youth in our care to recognize and celebrate differences.  Because art is a healthy and creative form of self expression, we asked Probation Directors to encourage their Juvenile probation officers to engage the youth they work with  in participating by creating and then submitting art pieces for display at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.  As a result, a NYC group is working on submissions from their youth who are currently in the Alternatives to Detention program.  For additional information contact Yvonne Behan, Community Corrections Representative at 518-457-5275 or ybehan@dpca.state.ny.us

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4.     DPCA has nominated JoAnne Page, Executive Director of the Fortune Society, for the 2003 King Humanitarian Award. This award recognizes New Yorkers who have made outstanding contributions in serving the community through their knowledge, skills and/or services.  If selected by the committee, Ms. Page will receive her award at the Dr. King Memorial Observance on January 20th at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

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5.   The New York University - Social Work- Division of Extended and Life-Long Learning has announced a Certificate in Forensic Mental Health program.  The dates for the program are Monday, January 13th through Friday, January 17, 2003 from 9am to 5pm.  The program is designed for staff in criminal justice, mental health, substance abuse, and other human service agencies who work with adult or juvenile offenders.  Additional information can be found at www.nyu.edu/social work.

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6.   So far, fifty probation departments have provided the information necessary to complete probation's pivotal role in the Law Enforcement Electronic Directory. This Directory, initiated by Governor Pataki's Director of Criminal Justice, Chauncey Parker, is a query-based, secure directory, providing contact information for law enforcement officers statewide.  We have contacted all 58 Probation Departments to request the information that is being processed and provided to DCJS.   Probation's response to Director Parker's request has been outstanding and we thank you.  For more information contact Walter Cogswell, Community Corrections Representative II at (518) 485-5162 or wcogswell@dpca.state.ny.us.

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7.   As you know, DPCA is holding focus groups of all five ATI program models (Defender Based-Advocacy, Community Service, Pretrial, Specialized, and Alcohol and other Drug programs) and TANF for Community Corrections programs.  The Defender-Based Advocacy (DBA) group met on October 22nd and again on November 25th.   The Community Service meeting was held on December 3rd;  the Pretrial meeting was held on December 4th and the Specialized and Alcohol and other Drug programs meeting is December 5th.  These focus group meetings are held in Albany in the 4th Floor Training Room at 80 Wolf Road in Albany.  A meeting of the TANF for Community Corrections Programs is scheduled for Friday, December 6th in NYC and will be repeated again on Friday, December 13th for upstate programs. For more information contact Pamela Derrick, Community Corrections Representative III, at 518-485-5153 or derrick@dpca.state.ny.us.

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8.  The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and DPCA will co-sponsor a  four day workshop in Albany for those working in community corrections who are or will be designated as the organization's training coordinator/director.  Participants hail from Probation, Parole, the Department of Corrections and county jails from many of the northeastern states. This training will take place from December 9th through 12th in the 4th Floor Training Room at 80 Wolf Road in Albany.  Contact Steve Powers, Community Corrections Representative III at (518) 485-5149 or powers@dpca.state.ny.us for more information. 

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9.    DPCA staff, David Singer and Michael Thomas were asked to conduct a workshop along with the help of the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at the National College of District Attorneys' annual Domestic Violence conference in October. We are pleased to report that the New York Model for a coordinated criminal justice response to domestic violence, which highlights the role of probation in holding offender's accountable while attending to victim safety was presented  to an audience of 80 district attorneys and other criminal justice staff.

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10.   The Onondaga Probation Department was recently the topic of a story in the Syracuse Post Standard. The story focused on the department being a leader in Onondaga County for its diversity in hiring. Today the Probation Department staff is 21%  black. "About four years ago," the article stated, "government and law enforcement officials from Syracuse and Onondaga County had several meetings with leaders of the local African-American community to talk about curbing youth violence. While most of the talk focused on gun violence and gangs, another problem emerged.  It was brought to the attention of Robert Czaplicki, Commissioner of the county's Probation department, that part of the problem for many of the citizens was that the majority of employees and representatives in the criminal justice agencies were not minorities.  So that year, the county began a push to hire more minority probation officers. They found a little-used civil service job title that required experience working with minorities, recruited African Americans they already knew in the community and put them to work.

     Since the beginning of 2000, all 10 hires at the department have been black. In 1999, six of the office's 78 officers, or nearly 8 percent, were black. Now, the office has 15 black officers, who represent a little more than 21 percent of the current staff of 70 officers."

© 2002 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.

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11.  Updates on personnel, address and contact information:

~David Singer, Community Corrections Representative III, retired from state service on Friday, November 28th, 2002.  We wish David the best and have valued his many years of dedicated service.

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    Please contact Yvonne Behan at ybehan@dpca.state.ny.us or at (518) 457-5275 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.