Welcome to the 5th 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.  

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eFocus, Issue 5, January 13, 2003

NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives

Sara Tullar Fasoldt, State Director

Robert Maccarone, Executive Deputy Director

http://dpca.state.ny.us

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1.  FUNDING AVAILABLE TO COUNTIES FOR PEER-TO-PEER PINS ASSISTANCE

    The NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) recently circulated an RFP among all county probation departments, and other relevant local departments, seeking applications for peer-to-peer PINS assistance.  The peer-to-peer PINS assistance will be delivered by the Vera Institute of Justice's national Youth Justice Program (YJP) to several counties in 2003 at no cost to the selected counties.  Last year, OCFS funded the YJP to deliver a model program to help counties prepare for and implement strategies to handle the anticipated influx of older youth entering the PINS system under the new law. The result, according to the six pilot counties, was extremely useful and effective.  Applications are due by January 24, 2003.  For an application and/or assistance please contact YJP's director, Heidi Segal at (212) 376-3032 or hsegal@vera.org.

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2.  ADULT INTERSTATE COMPACT TRAINING

DPCA will be offering Interstate Compact Training for newly assigned designees on January 24, 2003 in Albany at DPCA, 80 Wolf Road, in the 4th Floor Training Room. This training will provide the basics in handling incoming or outgoing Adult Interstate Compact cases.  This session will highlight essential provisions and provide a plain language overview of the Interstate Compact.  The training is designed to establish a working knowledge of current national and NYS rules and regulations.  Additional information about this training opportunity will be sent to local departments. If you have immediate questions, please contact Carolyn Temple at (518) 485-5163 or temple@dpca.state.ny.us

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3.   EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TRAINING

Over twenty probation department agency heads and/or their leadership team members will attend DPCA's two-day Probation Executive Leadership Training Program at DPCA in Albany on January 16 & 17, 2003.  This advanced leadership session is designed for new probation directors and those likely to become directors, as well as others (such as deputy directors) whom agency heads rely on to carry out policy decisions.  Important topics such as Budget and Fiscal services, an up-to-date presentation of state rules and regulations, and the Annual Probation Program Plan will be covered in depth. A number of other topics such as Automation, Peace Officer Policies, and Critical Incident Management will also be offered. If you would like more information, please contact Steve Powers at (518) 485-5149 or powers@dpca.state.ny.us

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4.  MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING FOR PROBATION AND ATI SUPERVISORS

The NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) recognizes community corrections as being the largest component of the criminal justice system with more than 190,000 individuals under probation supervision in the State of New York. According to a 1999 Department of Justice national study, about 16% of probationers indicated that they had a mental condition or stayed overnight in a mental hospital at some point in their lifetime.

     In response, the OMH Community Adult Forensic Services Unit, in partnership with the State Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (DPCA), is developing training on mental illness and the mental health system for supervisors in probation departments and Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) programs in New York State.

     In preparation for developing this training, a needs assessment was conducted through anonymous surveys sent to probation and ATI supervisors in 58 county probation departments (including New York City) and approximately 100 ATI programs. Surveys were distributed in August and September 2002 and 244 were returned (167 surveys from probation supervisors and 75 ATI supervisors). Surveys were returned from 49 of the 58 counties (including New York City), a response rate of 84%.

     The three areas of concern identified through the survey were:

     -   The need to understand mental illness;

     -   How to supervise and provide services to probationers/clients with mental illness;

     -  Where and how to access services for probationers/clients (working with other systems).

     OMH and DPCA will conduct 4 focus groups in January-February 2003.  Approximately 15 probation and ATI supervisors will be invited to participate in each focus group, which will be conducted both upstate and downstate.  Participants for the focus groups will be selected from supervisors who volunteered and others identified in cooperation with probation departments and ATI programs. 

     This training program is currently viewed as three 3-hour modules providing an introduction to each of the three areas of concern.  Each area may need additional training in the future in the counties and New York City.  It is anticipated that there will be two pilots of the program (one upstate and one downstate) in the late spring of 2003.

     For additional information, please contact Steve Powers at DPCA at (518) 485-5149, powers@dpca.state.ny.us or Valerie Chakedis, OMH Community Forensic Services Unit at (518) 402-6376 or  vchakedis@omh.ny.gov.

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5.  SEX OFFENDER MANAGEMENT ISSUES WORKING GROUP PLANNED

     DPCA will soon convene a group of probation department representatives to review best practices concerning sex offender management.  Topics to be discussed include specialized investigation and supervision, use of the polygraph, and treatment resources, among others.  The working group will plan a training scheduled for late Spring 2003 and will invite probation department representatives throughout the state.  For additional information please contact Mark Connors, DPCA Community Corrections Representative at (518) 485-5157 or connors@dpca.state.ny.us.

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    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) 457-5275 or at ybehan@dpca.state.ny.us.

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Yvonne J. Behan
Community Corrections Representative
NYS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives
80 Wolf Road
Albany, New York  12205
(518) 457-5275
ybehan@dpca.state.ny.us