Franny Holland knows what it’s like to have to start over. She also knows what it’s like for someone to throw her a life preserver. Holland was serving a prison sentence in California in the late '90s and had been a heroin user for 20 years. After she was released, she said, God gave her exactly what she needed—the world’s meanest probation officer. He sent her to a rehab program for six months, where she discovered she also was bipolar. The Oklahoma Collaborative Mental Health Re-entry Program tries to throw a life preserver to people like Holland. The program is one of the 2012 Innovations Awards winners from The Council of State Governments.

The Georgia Department of Corrections had a problem with probation two years ago. It was upside down, with the majority of officers managing the probationers who were least likely to reoffend.  Of the 105,000 offenders on active probation in Georgia, more than 80,000 of them are deemed low risk and not likely to reoffend. They had to find a more efficient way to handle the high volume of low-risk offenders to free up more officers to provide better case management for higher risk offenders. Technology was the key.

Video footage, pictures, and presentations from a groundbreaking forum on recidivism and reentry are now available on the National Reentry Resource Center website. The forum, coordinated by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, brought together leaders from all 50 states. Click here to learn more and to access these resources.

Ten states with the greatest potential cost savings could save more than $470 million a year if they reduced recidivism rates by 10 percent, according to the Pew Center on the States.  That was a message in December as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, and teams of policymakers and corrections officials from all 50 states gathered to discuss how the federal government can work in partnership with states to reduce recidivism.

Each spring break and summer, Jean Hall and her staff in the juvenile compact office in Florida stay very busy.  The lure of beaches, sunshine and Disney attract a lot of runaways. To return these youth to their home state, Florida—like all other states—must follow certain rules under the Interstate Compact for Juveniles, or ICJ. But when a state is not a member of that national compact, no legal means exist for that safe return. That’s especially problematic for Florida, which neighbors Georgia, the only state that isn’t a member of the compact.
 

On Thursday, November 17, Congress passed the “minibus” appropriations bill, which consolidated appropriations for several agencies, including the Department of Justice. The bill provides a total of $2.2 billion for state and criminal justice programs.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center held a staff briefing on Capitol Hill Oct. 11 on the Justice Reinvestment Initiatives in Ohio and North Carolina.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Rep. W. David Guice, chairman of the North Carolina House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety, detailed how data-driven justice reinvestment processes led to the passage of landmark legislation in the two states. The briefing was cosponsored by the Pew Center on the States.

The average probation and parole officer in North Carolina manages a caseload of nearly 70 offenders. The officers have  to visit each offender at home, and make sure offenders are regularly tested for drugs, make court appearances and ensure they haven’t committed additional crimes. The sheer number of offenders in each caseload made that a daunting task. The Probation/Parole Officers Dashboard, one of this year’s Innovations Winners for the Southern region, has made that task a lot less daunting.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center announced today the release of a guide for policymakers committed to reducing the likelihood that probationers will reoffend. A Ten-Step Guide to Transforming Probation Departments to Reduce Recidivism provides probation leaders with a roadmap to overhaul the operations of their agencies so they can increase public safety in their communities and improve rates of compliance among people they are supervising.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has released a guide for policymakers committed to reducing the likelihood that probationers will reoffend. A Ten-Step Guide to Transforming Probation Departments to Reduce Recidivism provides probation leaders with a roadmap to overhaul the operations of their agencies so they can increase public safety in their communities and improve rates of compliance among people they are supervising.

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