Welcome to eFocus, an electronic newsletter produced by the NYS Division of Probation andCorrectional 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 28, September 28, 2004

NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives

Sara Tullar Fasoldt, State Director

Robert Maccarone, Executive Deputy Director

In this Issue…See updated information on the November Symposium and October’s Juvenile Justice Institute under Item 8 in this issue.

  1. DPCA forms are now available electronically through eJusticeNY
  2. DPCA to distribute Interstate tele-training and other inter-active computer based trainings
  3. Employment training to reach all ISP and PED officers
  4. OJJDP supports validity of the V-DISC assessment
  5. Despite struggle many succeed
  6. Acts of Valor - modeled after nation’s highest award for valor
  7. Awards and recognition
  8. Upcoming training and events
  9. Welcome

1. DPCA forms are now available electronically through eJusticeNY - DPCA forms have been created in an electronic format in the Probation Services Suite located within eJusticeNY. Within the Probation Services Suite, the forms are located under DPCA Publications and can be downloaded by authorized county personnel by clicking on the form listed. You are encouraged to visit the Probation Suite site regularly for any updates to the forms, but as a matter of course, Probation Departments will be notified when the forms menu changes in any way. Overall, the electronic version of these forms will provide efficiencies for both the state and the counties. These forms will no longer have to be ordered from the state, there will be savings realized from the cost of storing and shipping the forms and delays will be eliminated as well. If you have any questions about accessing the forms please contact Mary Ann Dudla at maryann.dudla@dpca.state.ny.us or at 518-485-2398. Please contact Kathi Pallotta at Kathi.pallotta@dpca.state.ny.us. Or 518-457-4336 for information about obtaining access to eJusticeNY.

2. DPCA distributes Interstate tele-trainings and other interactive computer based trainings to probation and ATI – The following media productions are the first of a series of DPCA-hosted teleconference trainings planned, which will ultimately be available in your training library. For those ATI programs who have requested copies, you will also receive your copies this week. The following in VCR and/or DVD form will be distributed during the next week. The DVDs will be particularly useful for training purposes, as a facilitator can navigate to certain sections and facilitate necessary discussions.

  • Interstate Compact for Adult Offenders (ICAOS) Training (DVD). This training for probation departments reflects the new Interstate Compact rules which went into effect on August 1, 2004. In addition, a power point presentation of the training, which has been modified from the ICAOS version and adapted to New YorkState rules, is now available through eJusticeNY in the Probation Services Suite.
  • Mandated Reporter Training entitled Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Maltreatment for Law Enforcement and Probation (VHS and DVD). This training, held in March 2004, was presented via teleconference by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services for law enforcement professionals who may encounter instances of suspected child abuse and/or maltreatment/neglect while fulfilling their professional responsibilities.
  • The DPCA teleconference Enhancing the Effectiveness of Community Corrections through Science and Technology, also held in March 2004, featured Dr. Faye Taxman, Director of the Bureau of Governmental Research at the University of Maryland, along with panel members representing probation directors, probation officers, and ATI programs. The major focus of this training (VHS and DVD) identifies what research tells us are the very best practices in working with and motivating offenders to change in order to reduce and prevent recidivism.

In July 2004, DPCA released and distributed the learning CD entitled, “The Signs of Mental Illness: Training in Identification of Mental Illness for Probation and Community Alternatives Practitioners.” If you did not receive a copy of this CD and are interested please contact Barbara Flanigan at DPCA at (518) 485-7692 or Barbara.flanigan@dpca.state.ny.us

3. Employment training to reach all ISP and PED officers – We know from the research of Dr. Julie Horney, Dean of the SUNY at Albany Criminal Justice program (and others) that pro-social bonding reduces recidivism. Employment along with responsibility for and involvement with families helps to reduce offender re-arrest rates. Of the 47 Probation Eligible Diversion (PED) officers and two directors from 19 probation departments across the state, over 34% received Pathways to Employment training. DPCA will continue to provide this training, expanding the audience to large counties with PED, and hopes to reach 100% of the total number of PED officers. Intensive Supervision Programs (ISP) exist in 38 counties, not including New York City. 100% of the ISP officers in 17 of those counties have been trained, 40% or more have been trained in 8 of the counties and DPCA is planning to provide this instruction to some of the larger counties still needing training. The next Pathways to Employment training is scheduled for Oswego on September 28th. Please contact Cynthia Blair at 518-457-0501 or Cynthia.Blair@dpca.state.ny.us for information about the Pathways to Employment training.

4. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supports validity of the V-DISC assessment – A recent study, Assessing the Mental Health Status of Youth in Juvenile Justice Settings published in the August issue of the Juvenile Justice Bulletin found that “a comprehensive, scientifically sound diagnostic instrument can be a valuable part of the mental health assessment for youth in the juvenile justice system.” The Bulletin reported on the results of a study of the V-DISC assessment instrument, a self-administered tool using a computer and headphones. According to the study, the V-DISC offers several advantages for use within the juvenile justice system--notably, minimal staff support requirements, immediate scoring that generates provisional DSM-IV diagnoses, and the assurance of privacy that can enhance the willingness of youth to disclose sensitive personal information. To access this and other OJJDP publications online go to www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ojjdp. The V-DISC is currently being piloted in five county probation departments in New York State.

5. Despite struggles many succeed: Meet Cindy one of many successesCindy G. appeared before the Riverhead Justice Court and was placed on the pre-trial supervised release program (SRP) in October of 2003. She had pending charges of Criminal Trespass 2nd and Criminal Mischief 4th. Cindy has a 7th grade education and long history of alcohol and substance abuse. She was engaging in prostitution and her 6-year old daughter was placed for adoption by Child Protection Services. She also has an 18 year old daughter, who lives with her sister, but with whom she has little contact. While on SRP Cindy engaged in 3 different treatment programs. She relapsed twice but finally entered Lake Grove’s MICA Day Treatment and Sober House program in January 2004. Today, she is involved in neighborhood AA meetings. She joined a group home and recently became a mentor at the Sober House and hopes to become a House Manager. She has re-connected with her daughter and sister and visits them regularly. On July 2004 she was sentenced to a conditional discharge and ACOD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal) on her charges. Despite the experience of many defeats and struggles, Cindy has succeeded. And as a result of her success under the Pretrial Services Release program, Cindy is well on her way toward reestablishing her family and becoming a contributing member of society.

6. Acts of Valor performed in the field by Community Corrections professionals model after nation’s highest award for valor – In the last issue of eFocus, DPCA announced plans to include a new feature on the DPCA website entitled “Acts of Valor: Community Corrections at its Best.” DPCA will recognize and honor those professionals working in the fields of Probation and Alternatives to Incarceration programs who have performed an act(s) of valor, whether it is saving a life, risking one’s own life to protect another, or preventing a crime. In anticipation of any questions about the criteria by which these acts will be judged, DPCA will model the recognition after the national Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor awarded by the President. The actual Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. According to the federal legislation creating the award, an act of valor is defined as performing above and beyond the call of duty; and exhibiting exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind and having an unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life. Please join us in honoring individuals in New York State 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 more information about the President’s national award for valor visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/medalofvalor/welcome.html.

7. Awards / Recognition –

· Broome County Probation Officer John Wade was recently the feature of an article in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. The article focused on the good judgment demonstrated by John Wade and the importance of the pre-sentence report. Office Wade summed up the description of his job as a probation officer as having “to make sure they (probationers) don't harm others while helping them rehabilitate themselves ---- and abide by the terms of their probation, typically abstaining from alcohol and getting treatment for their addiction.”

· The following individuals recently received statewide awards from the NYS Probation Officers Association: Sharon Tabone of the Albany County Probation Department received the Jeannie Farrell Award of Achievement. The Award of Honor was presented to Kimberly Lapp of the Ulster County Probation Department; Yvette Mulhall of the Suffolk County Probation Department was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award Class A, along with Joseph Marchese who received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award Class B. Our congratulations go out to all!

·County Executive Maggie Brooks issued a proclamation to the Monroe County Probation Department recognizing National Probation, Parole & Community Supervision Officers’ Week July 18 through the 24th and applauded the role the officers play in the community’s criminal and juvenile justice systems. “As the oldest and most frequently applied alternative to incarceration, probation continues to provide important services that assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens while providing public safety protection to the community,” said Brooks.

8. Upcoming Training and Events –

· The Instructor Development Course will begin at the Parker Academy in DutchessCounty on October 18, 2004 for two weeks. Our thanks to Master Instructor Eileen Carpenter, Director of Training for the NYS Commission of Corrections for conducting this program. This intensive two week training includes the research and development of original lesson plans and instructor competency in the delivery of instruction using adult learning theory. This course is a prerequisite for admission to firearms instructor training, defensive tactics instructor training and other areas. Members of the DPCA Statewide Training Committee have recommended this course be made available to probation officers in order to develop probation’s future capacity to conduct certified training on peace officer topics. For more information contact Stephen Powers, DPCA Director of Training at Stephen.powers@dpca.state.ny.us or (518) 485-2402.

· 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 have been forwarded and are due back to DPCA. With Probation as the lead, each application should include 3 to 4 members of a team who will 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 or DPCA Community Corrections Representative Michele Seaman at michele.seaman@dpca.state.ny.us or (518) 485-5150.

· Statewide Symposium for Directors – At this Symposium, to be held in the Capital District on November 15 and 16, 2004, Probation Directors, from both large and smaller counties, will present on the issues facing Probation today. Partnering probation professionals with academia, Probation Directors will dissect what works, how it applies in each area, where Probation is going and how together we are shaping more effective Probation practice. Practical information guided by research and practice will be presented along with a statewide picture of how Probation impacts upon crime and recidivism. Also, the Symposium will provide Directors with the opportunity to address the Business of Probation focusing on topics such as fiscal controls and the value and use of marketing tools. Additional information on this event will be provided in the near future.

9. Welcome –

Please join us in welcoming two new staff members to DPCA. As many of you might already know, Kathi Pallotta, former Montgomery County Probation Director, has been recruited to work in DPCA’s Adult Services Unit as Community Corrections Representative II. We welcome Kathi to our team and appreciate the expertise she brings to the agency. Kathi can be reached at DPCA at Kathi.pallotta@dpca.state.ny.us or (518) 457-4336. Additionally, we are pleased to announce that we also successfully recruited Michele Seaman as a Community Corrections Representative II in the Juvenile Justice Unit. Michele was with the Herkimer County Probation Department for 24 years, the last 14 as Probation Supervisor. Michele said she is very happy to be here with us at DPCA, but asks to send the message along that she misses her co-workers in Herkimer County and sends her best. Michele can be reached at DPCA at michele.seaman@dpca.state.ny.us or (518) 485-5150.

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.