Happy Holidays To All!

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.

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eFocus, Issue Number 31, December 21, 2004

NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives

Sara Tullar Fasoldt, State Director

Robert Maccarone, Executive Deputy Director

Yvonne J. Behan, Editor

Visit the DPCA website at http://www.dpca.state.ny.us

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This time of year encourages reflection. As we take stock of the past year, we can give ourselves a very well deserved pat on the back. Probation and other alternatives programs continue to do wonderful work. We have a few new directors in our leadership family, and I want to collectively wish them both wisdom and support. For all of you I wish the same. I also send wishes your way: that you attract positive attention for the work you do in the service of peace and justice in your community and that you remember that your own families and your own health have to be in good order for your best efforts to shine through. I wish you continued pride in your public service, and happiness and fulfillment in it. Thank you on behalf of your colleagues at DPCA for all your contributions and renewed commitment in the coming year.

This Issue. . .

1. Employment is a priority to ex-offender success

2. Probation Executive Leadership Program

3. Governor signs law to reform Rockefeller Drug Laws

4. Studies and Reports of Special Interest to the Field

5. Did You Know? A new feature of informative facts and figures

6. Awards and Recognition

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1. Employment is a priority to ex-offender success: DPCA, DOL and 4 counties participate in specialized National Institute of Corrections Employment Training

DPCA, the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) and Albany, Dutchess, Monroe and Schenectady County Probation Departments have been selected by the Nat’l Institute of Corrections (NIC) to send representatives to the Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) Training in Oklahoma City to be held in three phases during the first half of 2005. This training will complement the instruction currently provided by DPCA in its’ collaboration with NYS DOL. Members of the six person OWDS team include Officer Judy Sogoian (Schenectady County), Officer Matthew Charton (Albany County), Officer Rochelle Lempert (Monroe County), and Officer Anna Angel Neustat (Dutchess County). Elaine Kost is the NYS DOL representative and Cynthia Blair will represent DPCA. The team’s goal is to increase job training provided to probation officers and others working with those having a criminal history and also to increase the number of Pathways to Employment Phase II (Ready, Set, Work) groups run in counties across NYS.

The Ready, Set, Work groups are special job readiness groups led by probation officers who help prepare unemployed and underemployed probationers find AND keep jobs. Schenectady County piloted the Ready, Set, Work group in February of 2004, which is led by PO Judy Sogoian. DPCA will coordinate additional Ready, Set, Work groups in other interested counties through the OWDS team. Counties considering this valuable initiative should contact DPCA Community Corrections Representative II Cynthia Blair at Cynthia.Blair@dpca.state.ny.us or 518-457-0501. The initial job preparedness training program, Pathways to Employment Phase I, Employment Matters is also still available to counties.

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2. Probation Executive Leadership Training to be held in January 2005

DPCA is pleased to announce a two-day Probation Executive Leadership Program designed for probation agency heads to be held in Albany on January 12 and 13, 2005. This advanced leadership training session targets new directors and includes the topics of state/local legal issues and relationships regarding budget and fiscal issues, an up-to-date presentation on rules and regulations and the annual probation program. Other topics include probation automation, peace officer policies, and critical incident management. DPCA is inviting Directors who participated in the 2003 executive leadership program to join the group for part of the Program. Please contact Barbara Flanigan at 518-485-7692 or Barbara.flanigan@dpca.state.ny.us by December 28, 2004.

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3. Governor signs law to reform Rockefeller Drug Laws

Governor George E. Pataki recently signed legislation reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws, and restructuring portions of the law that were widely agreed to be too harsh. The new law will eliminate indeterminate sentences and create a determinate sentencing structure for drug offenders; offer re-sentencing for eligible non-violent A-I drug offenders in prison; increase the weight thresholds for the most severe possession crimes; and allow earlier release for those offenders in prison committed to treatment and recovery. The new reform dramatically reduces sentences and provides retroactive relief for eligible, non-violent drug felons; provides new drug law sentencing structure; and offers treatment as a sentencing option. "For more than four years, I have made reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws a top priority, and I am proud that together, we've enacted meaningful reform that is both just and balanced," said Governor Pataki. To read more from the Governor’s press release visit http://www.ny.gov.

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4. Studies and reports of interest to the field of community corrections

“Tools of the Trade: A Guide to Incorporating Science into Practice,” a new manual on community supervision published by the National Institute of Corrections and the US Department of Justice is now available at http://www.nicic.org/pubs/2004/020095.pdf. This guide was co-authored by Faye S. Taxman, Professor with the Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Taxman has been a frequent speaker at DPCA hosted programs, most recently the Statewide Directors’ Symposium in Saratoga, and a featured participant in the teleconference for probation and ATI entitled “Advancing the Effectiveness of Community Corrections through Science” held in March 2004 and distributed to all departments.

New York State Minorities in Criminal Justice (NYSMICJ) held their 2004 Annual Training Symposium from September 29-October 1st in Buffalo, NY. This year’s theme was “Food For thought-Diversity Is at Stake.” DPCA State Director Sara Fasoldt is a regular participant of the annual event and was a member of the Commissioner’s Forum. The NYSMICJ “is a non-partisan, nonprofit service organization, organized to examine and act upon the improvements in the Criminal Justice System. To promote the general welfare, to increase the influence of minorities in the Criminal justice System, and to coordinate efforts with all legitimate organizations whose purposes would include the promotion of justice within the General State, Local, Public and Private Sectors of the Criminal Justice System.” Visit www.nysmicj.com for more information.

Making a Difference…175 Ways - The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG) is a user-friendly, online portal to scientifically tested and proven programs that address a range of issues across the juvenile justice spectrum. The Guide was developed as a tool to support the Title V Community Prevention Grants Program and was designed to assist practitioners and communities in implementing evidence-based prevention and intervention programs that can make a difference in the lives of children and communities. We’ve added a link to this Guide from the DPCA Website, located at http://www.dpca.state.ny.us/. The Guide is also available at http://www.dsgonline.com/mpg_non_flash/mpg_index.htm.

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5. Did You Know?
aWarning signs of re-offending for many offenders are depression and suicide threats, threatening violence and unemployment. The red flags signaling the potential for domestic violence, femicide or homicide/suicide are depression (including threats of suicide), threats of violence, unemployment, and the act of a woman attempting to leave or having left a relationship.

aJust prior to year 2003, the Probation and Parole in the United States publication ranked New York 25th in the rate of persons on probation in the United States. Their latest issue, published in 2003, indicates that New York now has the eighth lowest rate of persons on probation in the United States, with 859 persons on probation for every 100,000 adults. Five other states comparable in size to New York ranked significantly higher: California (1,441 per 100,000 at 27th), Illinois (1,542 at 29th), Florida (2,169 at 40th) and Texas (2,698, at 45th). We believe this reflects use of current information and the importance of accurate Client Data System (CDS) data. Go to http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/ppus03.htm for more information.

a According to the NSDUH Report* of 2003, 20.0% of females aged 12 to 17 (2.4 million) reported taking part in one or more serious fights at school or work during the past year, an increase over the percentage reporting this behavior in 2002 (16.2 per-cent). The proportion of female youths participating in group-on-group fights increased from 13.5 percent in 2002 to 16.8 percent in 2003. Past year substance use was the most prevalent delinquent behavior among females aged 12 to 17, with 36.5 percent of females (4.5 million) reporting past year alcohol use and 21.9 percent of females (2.7 million) reporting past year illicit drug use.

*The NSDUH Report (formerly The NHSDA Report) is published periodically by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Additional copies of this report or other reports from the Office of Applied Studies are available on-line: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov.

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6. Awards and Recognition

Albany County Probation Officer Recognized - Albany County Probation Officer Lori Haggerty was awarded the Daniel S. Dwyer Memorial Award from the Albany County STOP-DWI Program. Officer Haggerty was among other criminal justice professionals to be recognized and awarded at a ceremony held on December 10th in Albany. The inscription on Officer Haggerty’s plague stated that she was being recognized for her “outstanding efforts and superior contributions to the probation department and Albany County as the high risk DWI offender case officer and for her dedication, professionalism and commitment to the STOP DWI program, victim impact panel and the residents of Albany County.” Officer Haggerty has been with the Albany County Probation Department for six years. Congratulations Officer Haggerty.

MADD Recognizes Probation Director’s Support -The Annual STOP DWI Award, presented to an individual who has made a significant impact on their individual community, was recently awarded to Schoharie County Probation Director Tom Slater. According to Donna Kopec, Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), “Tom has tirelessly supported all the Schoharie County Law Enforcement Agencies. He has gone to great lengths to provide the equipment needed to ensure that officers can combat impaired driving and to ensure that the officers' efforts are recognized and appreciated at an annual luncheon.” Outstanding job Tom. Congratulations.

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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.

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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.

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