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 40, November 8, 2005
NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives
Robert M. Maccarone, Acting State Director
Yvonne J. Behan, Editor
Visit the DPCA website at http://www.dpca.state.ny.us

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IN THIS ISSUE. . .

  1. Statewide Probation Directors’ Symposium a success!
  2. Evidence-Based Approaches for ATI: Reducing Recidivism…Increasing Public Safety
  3. New York State climbs to sixth safest state in the nation
  4. NYC Probation facilitates arrest of 50 more foreign-born convicted sex offenders
  5. Restitution Guidelines for Probation issued by Fiscal Committee
  6. Youth in juvenile justice system to benefit as a result of Project Connect
  7. New draft of COMPAS Risk/Needs Instrument being reviewed
  8. Interstate Compact Organization’s web site provides forms in Spanish
  9. Resources, Information and Upcoming Trainings

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1. Statewide Symposium for Probation Directors and Deputy Directors held in October – DPCA worked with the Council of Probation Administrators (COPA) in developing this year's Symposium which featured Dr. Edward Latessa. Dr. Latessa is a Professor and Head of the Division of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati and has published over 75 works in the area of criminal justice, corrections and juvenile justice. Dr. Latessa presented Applying the Principles of Effective Intervention to Reducing Recidivism. The agenda also included the topic Public Safety Priority: Management of the Sex Offender with a presentation by Dr. Richard Hamill. The Offender Workforce Development team made up of representatives from probation departments, DPCA and the NYS Labor Department presented their program which included remarks from a probationer and area employer. St. Lawrence County Probation Director Francine Perretta co-facilitated a delivery of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for Law Enforcement Professional” along with Matt Matney of DCJS. Later on Friday, a presentation by two representatives from the Office of the State Comptroller and several probation departments addressed the issue of Fiscal Controls and Restitution collection. Following the Symposium, DPCA Acting State Director Robert Maccarone issued the following statement to all staff involved, “I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the members of the DPCA staff and COPA committee members for their work and participation in the Annual Directors Symposium. By all measures, this was enormously successful and such things never result from the efforts of one, but from many. This collaboration with the Council of Probation Administrators (COPA) builds strong professional relationships with our colleagues and this serves as a solid foundation for the work we do.”

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2. Evidence-Based Approaches for Alternatives to Incarceration: Reducing Recidivism…Increasing Public Safety – On October 27th members of the ATI Focus group were invited to Albany to meet and hear from Dr. Edward Latessa on the evidence-based approaches for ATI in reducing recidivism. Representatives from nearly 35 ATI programs operating in New York State, and funded by DPCA, were in attendance. Following Dr. Latessa’s presentation, a reaction panel made up of Sheila Mashack, Vocational Director of Greenhope Services for Women, Inc. and Marsha Weissman, Executive Director, Center for Community Alternatives, entertained questions and provided suggestions for use by other programs. Dr. Latessa’s appearance and message was in conjunction with his information provided to Probation Directors at the Symposium held from October 26-28, 2005.

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3. Governor Pataki announced that New York State Climbed to Sixth Safest State in the Nation – In October 2005, Governor George E. Pataki released FBI crime statistics that show New York State has risen from the seventh to the sixth safest state in the United States -- passing West Virginia -- and has once again outpaced the national average in reducing crime. New York also retained its status as the safest large state in America for 2004. “Two years ago, I set the ambitious goal of making New York the safest state in the nation, and today we can see that our efforts are moving us closer to that target. These statistics prove, once again, that our tough, smart criminal justice policies, and hard-working local law enforcement, are having a real effect on making New Yorkers safer. To continue this unprecedented reduction in crime, we must do everything in our power to give police officers and community leaders the tools they need to keep the people of New York safe. There are a number of legislative initiatives, including expanding the ability of law enforcement and mental health professionals to civilly commit sexually violent predators, strengthening Megan’s Law, and expanding the DNA Databank, which, if made law, would make our streets and neighborhoods even safer,” the Governor said.

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4. New York City Probation facilitates arrest of 50 foreign-born convicted sex offenders as they appeared for scheduled probation appointments – On October 20th, as part of “Operation Predator,” the NYC Department of Probation and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office arrested 50 sex offenders who now face deportation. All of the offenders were arrested as they appeared at probation departments located across the five boroughs. “0peration Predator” is part of the Department of Homeland Security and with the crucial involvement and assistance of probation departments across the country, has resulted in the arrest of 6,500 sex offenders and the deportation of 3,100 of them since 2003.

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5. Final Report of the Fiscal Committee issued covering restitution guidelines – In response to the needs of probation departments and recent audits conducted by the NYS Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) DPCA assembled a workgroup of Probation Directors and probation practitioners to develop and distribute guidelines to probation departments to use when developing policies and procedures for handling restitution and other financial obligations. The final report was provided at the recent Statewide Symposium for Directors as guidance and is also available in the Probation Services Suite of eJusticeNY. In addition to receiving the report, representatives from the State Comptroller’s Office attended the Directors’ Symposium and spoke of their findings and offered suggestions to departments. For a copy of the Final Report of the Fiscal Committee as well as copies of OSC guidelines and a copy of the OSC issued “Top Five Findings” please see Reports and New Materials sections located on the Probation Services Suite or contact Yvonne Behan at Yvonne.behan@dpca.state.ny.us.

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6. Columbia University’s Center for the Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice is the recipient of a $388,803 award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop Project Connect - Project Connect is a collaboration between Columbia University, DPCA, the Office of Mental Health, and county probation departments as well as mental health service agencies. Project Connect offers a 2-day training on adolescent disorders, treatment options, and ways to better engage families in the referral process and to connect with local mental health service providers. The innovative program involves systematic screening for suicide risk using widely-employed tools (e.g., V-DISC) and a psycho-educational component for probation officers to facilitate referral of identified youths to mental health providers. Orange and Onondaga Counties will participate in year 1 and Broome and Albany Counties in year 2. “Youth in contact with the juvenile justice system are at an increased risk for a range of psychiatric disorders, as well as for suicide,” said Dr. Wasserman, who directs the Institute’s Center for the Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice. For more information about the SAMHSA grant program and this year’s recipients, go to www.samhsa.gov.

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7. New Draft COMPAS Risk/Needs Instrument - The Risk/Needs Workgroup completed its work and has now forwarded the draft instrument to consultants at Northpointe, Inc. for review. The members of the workgroup, including probation directors and probation officers and staff from DCJS and DPCA, ensured that the instrument now reflects the business practice of probation and includes questions and seeks information that is known and readily accessible to probation officers. The next step will be to pilot the instrument with a sample group of probation officers who represent a cross-section of probation departments during the month of November. Once the instrument is finalized, departments will collect data on a sample of 1,000-1,200 cases to validate the instrument. A web-based version of the instrument will be available to probation departments by June of 2006.

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8. Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) – Web site provides forms in Spanish - Three signature forms have been translated and certified into Spanish and are now available on the Interstate Compact web site located at http://www.interstatecompact.org/resources/forms/wordtemplates.shtml. ICAOS is also in the process of having the Spanish version of the Application for Transfer and Agreement to Return form transferred into the Electronic Information System and plan to have that form completed in parallel languages with English. Recently a survey was sent out to determine what other languages the form should be translated to for use.

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9. Resources, Awards, Information and Upcoming Trainings:

~~ Monroe County Pretrial professionals recognized at the National Association of Pretrial Agencies (NAPSA) annual conference in Houston Texas, October 9th - 12th. Barb Darbey, Executive Director of Monroe County Pre-Trial Services was named the 2005 NAPSA Member of the Year for her significant contributions to the association and to the field. Barb was instrumental in helping to revise the National standards for release as well as the New York State standards. Barb Darbey is frequently tapped as an expert in the field and asked to present at a variety of local, state and national conferences. In addition, Charlene Leistman, Coordinator for Release/Assessment for Monroe County Pretrial and New York Association Pretrial Services Agencies’ (NYAPSA) Region III Director was awarded the Droege Scholarship allowing her to attend the conference. Congratulations Barb and Charlene!

~~ The next Fundamentals of Probation Practice will occur November 14th through 18th and November 28th through December 2nd in Albany. Twenty-five new officers are scheduled to attend. Another round of the Fundamentals will be offered from January 23rd – 27th, continuing January 30th through February 3rd. 2006.

~~ Robert Hayden has retired from his position of Director of Rensselaer County Probation Department. John (Jay) Hayes has been appointed Acting Director. Jay’s email address is Jhayes@rensco.com. Our congratulations and best wishes go out to Bob Hayden and we welcome Jay!

~~ The Annual NYS Probation Officer’s Association (NYSPOA) Summer Conference will be held from August 2-4, 2006 at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Albany. NYSPOA is now accepting program presentation applications. The deadline for presentation applications is February 1, 2006. For additional information visit the NYS Probation Officer’s Association web site at http://www.nyspoa.com/Conference/NYSPOA%202006/Summer%20Conference%20Proposals.htm.

~~ US Department of Justice adds New York to the National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) web site - The NSOPR provides an opportunity for all states and territories to participate in an unprecedented public safety resource by sharing comprehensive public sex offender data with citizens nationwide, free of charge. With a single query from any web-capable computer, NSOPR searches public, state and territory sex offender registries to deliver matched results based on a name, state, county, city/town, or zip code. The site is located at www.nsopr.gov.

~~ Report Features Ways To Reduce Disproportionate Minority Contact - The Building Blocks for Youth initiative has released its final report, "No Turning Back: Promising Approaches to Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Affecting Youth of Color in the Justice System." The report discusses the Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, the W. Haywood Burns Institute, and campaigns in 12 cities, counties, and states to reduce disproportionate minority contact within the justice system. The report is available online at http://www.buildingblocksforyouth.org/noturningback/ntb_fullreport.pdf.

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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. 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 with the name you would like removed from distribution.

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