Division of Criminal Justice Services

Welcome to eFocus, an electronic newsletter produced by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (OPCA).  OPCA publishes this newsletter to further its goal of promoting public safety through probation services and other community corrections programs. We welcome your suggestions. 
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eFocus, Issue Number 94, March 1, 2011
NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services 
Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives
Robert M. Maccarone, Director
William M. Schaefer, Jr., Editor

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In this Issue:
1.         Probation Response to Persistent Convicted Offenders
2.         Subject Index DNA Collection by Probation
3.         Ten New Probation Leaders Complete Executive Leadership Program
4          Probation Officers Complete Advanced MI Training
5.         Statewide LIVE Meeting Scheduled for Interstate Designees March 7th
6.         Nominations Sought for 2011 State Director Awards
7.         Additional Training, Awards, Events and News Produces
8.         Quick Facts

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1.         Probation Response to Persistent Convicted Offenders – State Director’s Memorandum #2011-1 provides guidance to probation professionals in New York State on how best to utilize the information contained in the Persistent Convicted Offender report (PCO), recently developed by the  DCJS Office of Justice Research and Performance.   The PCO includes information on more than 10,000 offenders, 500 of whom are under probation supervision.  “Persistent convicted offender” is not a term that defines a legal status, but rather refers to offenders identified through analysis who have been convicted of five or more crimes during a 36-month period. The current lists prepared by OJRP represent persons having five or more convictions since July 1, 2007, with a most recent conviction occurring between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, sorted by the county in which the most recent conviction occurred. OPCA recommends that each probation department designate a point person to ensure that the PCO, and its periodic updates, are regularly scrutinized to prioritize probation department efforts regarding DNA collection, determination of risk, supervision case plan development, collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, and the preparation of pre-sentence investigation reports. To view the PCO, log onto eJusticeNY, enter the Law Enforcement Services Suite, and click on Overview.

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2.         Subject Index DNA Collection by Probation Probation departments have collected over 110,000 DNA samples from probationers since the 2006 expansion of the law in New York State. This has resulted in more than 1,145 “DNA hits” or samples that have linked probationers to serious crimes, including 100 homicides, 458 sexual assaults, 95 robberies, 337 burglaries, 45 assaults and other crimes. Significantly, 115 DNA samples linked to various crimes were collected by probation officers pursuant to the Subject Index, including 16 homicides, 31 sexual assaults, 8 robberies, 37 burglaries, 4 assaults and other serious crimes. Eleven of the 16 homicides linked to DNA probationer samples were collected by the Nassau, Onondaga and Orange County Probation Departments, which have implemented comprehensive collection policies with the support of their courts.  A majority of the homicides solved through DNA sample collection pursuant to the Subject Index were collected from probationers convicted of DWI related offenses.  Probation directors are encouraged to review with their probation supervisors, their department’s DNA policies, particularly as they pertain to the Subject Index, and to discuss these policies with their District Attorneys and Supervising and Administrative Judges. For additional information, please contact Walter Cogswell at Walter.Cogswell@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 485-5168.

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3.         Ten New Probation Leaders Complete Executive Leadership Program – OPCA
            welcomed 10 new probation leaders to the 2011 Executive Leadership Program, held            
            February 23-24th in Albany.  This year’s program included Probation Directors John Cicchetti (Niagara), Edward Gauthier (St. Lawrence); Amy Kristiansen (Hamilton); Brian McLaughlin (Erie County); Joseph Mancini (Schenectady); Jeffrey Mulinelli (Sullivan); and New York City Deputy Commissioners, Ana Bermudez, Clinton Lacey, Kathleen Coughlin, and Assistant Commissioner Karen Armstrong.  For additional information, please contact Kathi Pallotta at Kathi.Pallotta@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 485-5157.

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4.         Probation Officers Complete Advanced MI Training – OPCA continued its commitment to provide training in Advanced Motivational Interviewing (MI) to 19 probation and corrections professionals.  This class included probation officers from 9 departments and corrections professionals from the NYS Department of Correctional Services.  This intensive two-day training was presented by David Varalli, a Senior United States Probation Officer for the Western District of New York who is an experienced MI trainer and coach. The program provided MI-trained probation officers and corrections counselors with an opportunity to improve their interviewing skills and move toward higher levels of proficiency through real and role-play exercises.  Participants also learned how to code/score their progress and that of their peers through guided scenarios and assessments.  For additional information about this program or future MI training, please contact Kathi Pallotta at Kathi.Pallotta@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 485-5157.

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5.         Statewide Live Meeting for Interstate Designees March 7th – OPCA is hosting an important statewide LIVE Meeting on March 7th from 10:00am to 11:00am.  The national office of the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) is conducting a national audit of activities facilitating the interstate transfer of probationers through the automated Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System (ICOTS). During this LIVE Meeting, OPCA Interstate Unit staff will explain the national audit, and will log on to the national ICOTS database to demonstrate how various reports can be accessed and utilized to track the work of the state and localities.  The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.  Please contact Sandra.Layton@dcjs.ny.gov for further information. 

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6.         Nominations Sought for 2011 Director Awards – OPCA is seeking nominations for “2011 Director’s Award for Outstanding Service by a Probation Officer” and "2011 Director’s Award for Outstanding Probation/DSS Collaboration” These highly competitive honors will be awarded during the Middle Atlantic States Correctional Association (MASCA) 2011 Annual Conference which will be held June 5-8 at the Crowne Plaza in Albany, NY.  Please help us recognize outstanding probation work by submitting nominations to the State Director by Friday, March 16, 2011. Prior notice was sent to all probation departments on February 18, 2011.

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7.         Additional Training, Awards, Events and News

~          OPCA has announced facilitator training in the National Institute of Corrections’ cognitive behavioral program, Thinking for a Change, to be held April 4 - 8, 2011.  This is one of several nationally recognized cognitive behavioral change programs available for county probation departments to utilize in their efforts to reduce recidivism through positive offender change. This facilitator training is designed for Probation and other Community Corrections professionals responsible for leading offender groups in cognitive behavioral change and skill building.  This training is free and limited funds are available to cover travel, lodging and meal expenses for those participants traveling more than 50 miles.  For additional information, please contact Kathi Pallotta at Kathi.Pallotta@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 485-5157.

~          The NYS DCJS Office of Sex Offender Management has announced Understanding and Managing Online Sexual Offenders Training for community corrections and other professionals who have a role in managing sex offenders or investigating crimes involving online criminal use of the Internet.  Presenters James Tanner, Ph.D. and FBI Special Agent David Fallon will provide information about the assessment and management of sex offenders’ online life. This training will be held on March 16, 2011 at the New York State Police Academy in Albany, NY.  For additional training information contact the Office of Sex Offender Management by sending an e-mail to osom.training@dcjs.ny.gov. For questions about the registration process, please contact Senior Training Technician Matthew Slater at Matthew.Slater@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 485-5115.

~          The Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York is offering a webinar entitled Overcoming Barriers to Engaging Older Adults in Mental Health Treatment on March 1, 2011 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm.  This program will be presented by Jo Anne Sirey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. This webinar will explore the barriers to mental health treatment that affect older adults.  Dr. Sirey will explain the Treatment Initiation Program (TIP) model, which is being used in an aging service setting, and she will also discuss other interventions that can help older adults gain access to care and services. This webinar costs $25. Continuing education credits are available. This event takes place online. To register, please visit:

~          The City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice has announced a program entitled, The Use of Criminal Records in College Admissions Reconsidered that will be facilitated by Marsha Weissman, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Community Alternatives. The program is being offered as part of the college’s Occasional Series on Reentry Research.  This free event will take place on March 6, 2011 between 9:00am and 10:30am at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 899 Tenth Avenue (btw W. 58th and 59th Streets), Room 630. To register, please RSVP to pri@jjay.cuny.edu. The event will also be webcast live via the National Reentry Resource Center website:

~          The NYS New York State Sheriffs' Association and the New York State Sheriffs' Institute will be hosting the NYS Biometric Symposium on March 10, 2011 from 9:45am to 3:00pm at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, 660 Albany Shaker Rd., Albany, New York.  L-1 Identity Solutions will be presenting on face recognition, iris identification, and other mobile identification devices.  The FBI has been invited to present on the cutting edge collaborative work being conducted at their Biometric Center of Excellence.  NYS-DMV will be presenting on their current facial recognition experience as well as on their involvement with the FBI Working Group on Facial Recognition. There is no registration fee for this program which includes a continental breakfast and networking lunch.  Registration deadline is March 7th.  For registration or other information, please email Chuck Gallo at cgallo@nysheriffs.org.

~          The National Institute of Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention (NIDVAP) has announced a workshop entitled Probation, Incarceration And Parole: Working with Current and Former Inmates Who Have Been Batterers/Abusers or Victims of Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse will be held on Thursday, March 10th, 2011 from 9:00am to 3:30pm at the Radisson Airport Hotel, 175 Jefferson Road in Rochester, NY. Registration is $125.00.  For additional information, please contact Patricia Hogenes, M.S. at NIDVAP (585) 545-9270 or by email: nidvap@rochester.rr.com.

~          The NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) in cooperation with the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault has announced a free webinar on the NYS Strangulation Law.  This webinar will examine the new strangulation law that went into effect on November 11, 2010. This webinar will provide information, statistics, signs, and responses to strangulation. The program will be presented by Bob Passonno, Coordinator of OPDV Criminal Justice Training Programs and Joanna Sullivan OPDV Counsel.  This program will be held on March 25th from 10:00am to noon. To register, please visit: http://nyscasa.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=75.  For additional information, please email jmcpherson@nyscasa.org.

~          The Rensselaer County Sexual Assault Response Team is hosting Effective Response to Sexual Assault: Essential Knowledge for Multi-disciplinary Team Members on March 29th, 2011 from 8:00am to 4:00pm at the Heffner Alumni House Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1301 Peoples Ave, Troy, NY. All conference attendees will participate in an interactive plenary session in which presenters will highlight the benefits of working as a multidisciplinary team to respond to sexual assault and rape. Attendees can then choose to attend more specific training sessions based in their discipline and training needs. Breakfast, lunch, and refreshments are included in the cost of the training, as well as all conference materials. Registration deadline is March 18th and the cost is $30 per person. Fpr registration or other information, please contact Lindsey Crusan at (518) 271-3468 or CrusanL@nehealth.com.

~          The New York State Sheriffs’ Association has announced the Fifth Annual New York Statewide Conference on VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday)will be held Friday, April 15, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Wolf Road in Albany, NY.  For more information, please contact Ms. Irene Colwill at (518) 434-9091 or email at icolwill@nysheriffs.org

~          The Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center and the SUNY School of Criminal Justice will be hosting the 10th Annual Michael J. Hindelang Lecture presented by David Garland, Professor of Sociology & Law, New York University and acclaimed author of Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition on Thursday, May 5, 2011 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm at the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus, University at Albany. A panel discussion, led by criminal justice experts, will be held after the lecture and a reception will follow. For more information, please contact Giza Lopes at (518) 591-8715 or email lopes.giza@gmail.com.

~          The Middle Atlantic States Correctional Association (MASCA) 2011 Annual Conference will be held June 5-8 at the Crowne Plaza in Albany, NY.  For additional details, please visit http://masca.corrections.com. This year, the NYS Probation Officers Association will conduct their annual conference jointly with MASCA.   OPCA is pleased to continue its support of the NYSPOA, an important training program, by offering scholarships to counties in support of registration costs.

~          Reminder: NYS Uniform Consent Form – Effective October 7, 2009 a new form entitled “Consent to Release of Information Concerning Chemical Dependence Treatment for Criminal Justice Clients” (TRS-49) is to be used for all Criminal Justice referrals to OASAS-licensed treatment providers /facilities.  The new form was developed by OASAS in collaboration with OPCA, the Division of Parole, OCA, and DCJS.  The form was distributed to all Probation Directors and ATI Program Managers via State Director’s Memorandum #2009-5 and is available on the Probation Services Suite under the “State Director Memoranda” tab.  The use of the consent form is critical for offender tracking and treatment accountability purposes.  Treatment providers may refuse to accept a referral if the NYSID is not provided on the consent form.  Please contact Walter Cogswell at Walter.Cogswell@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 485-5168 for additional information.

~          Orange County Probation Department Restitution – In 2010 Orange County Probation collected $652,014.97 in restitution, an 11% increase from the $588,817.77 collected in 2009.  The increase during these difficult financial times was realized through the hard work of Probation Officers, Crime Victim Counselors and Support Staff and the implementation of standardized practices in processing cases that are in arrears.  Any offender who is not paid in full for a 30 day period is given a written notice they must sign indicating the amount of the arrears and instructions to contact the court for a modification hearing if they are having financial difficulties.  At 60 days they are given the same notice with a date the case will be returned to court if payment is not current.  On the 90th day of being in arrears, all cases are returned to court as either a Violation of Probation or Failure to Pay Restitution.  This simple yet effective strategy has realized a net increase of $63,197.20 for victims of crime while holding the offender accountable to contact the court if they are claiming financial hardship and unable to meet the requirements of their sentence. For additional information, please contact Orange County Probation Director Derick Miller at (845) 291-4750.

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8.         Quick Facts:  More than 500 juvenile probation officers in 57 counties in New York State have completed 230,000 juvenile YASI assessments.   

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eFocus is the property of the Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives.  Articles may be reprinted with attribution to the Office.  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 OPCA's eFocus, please contact Bill Schaefer at (518) 485-5158 or Bill.Schaefer@dcjs.ny.gov.

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The eFocus is now distributed to thousands of 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 Bill Schaefer the name you would like removed from distribution.