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Supervision of Offender Populations

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Format: 2020
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U.S. probation and pretrial services officers January Welks and Jennifer Simone discuss how the pandemic has called for new ways of thinking and working, in some cases leading to positive change in both their professional and personal lives. Officers Welks, Simone, and colleagues across the country, on the front line of the pandemic, share the adjustments they make to remain healthy and safe while continuing to keep the wheels of justice moving.  Clinical psychologist Guy Bourgon, a second time guest, reacts to their stories and describes how knowing your "why" and being proactive, predictable, and people-focused can help officers manage crisis. He explains how being forced to implement new practices can move organizations and individuals past the inertia that impedes change, making them stronger and better.

Host Mark Sherman talks with bank robber turned Georgetown law professor Shon Hopwood about how the system can help and hurt an inmate’s return to society. Shon’s unusual legal journey began during a twelve-year stint in federal prison for robbing banks. While there, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of two of his petitions, giving his life an unexpected turn. While on supervised release, Shon overcame many of the obstacles that stand in the way of most inmate’s successful reentry into society, to include finding a good job and attending the University of Washington School of Law on a Gates public interest scholarship. Today, he is a member of the bar, teaches constitutional and criminal law at Georgetown University Law School, and represents prison inmates before the federal courts. As a criminal justice reform advocate, he also lobbied successfully for the 2018 passage of the First Step Act.

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Host Mark Sherman talks with Judge Nancy Gertner (ret.) of Harvard Law School, Dr. Francis Shen and Dr. Judith Edersheim of Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior, and FJC education attorney Cassandra Snyder about how a unique educational initiative developed by the FJC and Harvard is helping judges, pretrial services officers, and probation officers think through, in a science-informed way, the complex issues they confront every day, and develop alternatives that might serve as an antidote to the revolving door of the criminal justice system.

Chief U.S. Pretrial Services Officer Christine Dozier (Ret.) of the District of New Jersey has become known for her unique philosophy that “reentry begins at arrest.” In her fifteen-year tenure, she transformed the agency from being a traditional provider of pretrial services, to one on the cutting edge of innovation, not just in pretrial work but in criminal justice more generally. Chief Dozier’s approach has enabled the District of New Jersey’s pretrial services office to become a leader in release rates and successful outcomes for individuals on pretrial supervision. She has taken a systems view, illustrating that an individual’s success on pretrial release can have a positive impact on their sentence, their community following reentry, and their post-conviction supervision. Host Mark Sherman talks with Chief Dozier about the present and future of federal pretrial services and what she learned as a leader over the course of her tenure.

On this episode of Off Paper, host Mark Sherman talks to Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia, Kate Desmond, and Keith Murphy, who work together on the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice’s Smart Supervision Project—an effort to gather and use neuroscientific, culturally specific, trauma-informed research and information in the department’s work.

Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia is an assistant professor of public psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University, where she directs the Avel Gordly Center for Healing and serves as a subject-matter expert for the Smart Supervision Project team. Kate Desmond is a community justice manager at the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, where she manages the department’s Gresham office and leads the Smart Supervision Project team. Keith Murphy is a probation administrator in Multnomah County and the lead probation and parole officer on the Smart Supervision Project team.

In this episode of Off Paper, Chief Elbert, Assistant Deputy Chief Katherine Tahja (S.D. Iowa), and Professor Matthew DeLisi of Iowa State University discuss the work of the Chiefs Research Group, research projects currently underway in several districts, and the role of empirical research generally in federal probation and pretrial practice.

This episode of Off Paper is a conversation with Doug Burris about innovation and leadership in the criminal justice system. Mr. Burris has served for 17 years as the Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri.

With the goal of fostering stronger cooperation between the Hawaiian federal and state judicial systems when dealing with the concurrent supervision of offenders, the United States Probation Office for the District of Hawaii, the Adult Client Services Branch of the Hawaii Judiciary, and the Hawaii Paroling Authority entered into the attached Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

The document seeks to improve cooperation and communication between the relevant federal and state entities when there is concurrent supervision of offenders, and it also formalizes a working arrangement between those stakeholders. Joint responsibilities include an agreement to “openly share and communicate” while also maintaining the confidentiality of shared files or case information. 

This document is part of Federal and State Court Cooperation, a Special Topic Webpage.​

Chronic substance use and mental health disorders are common problems for individuals in the criminal justice system. Alone or together, and sometimes in conjunction with other risk factors, these disorders can drive behavior that results in violation of supervision conditions or even in new criminal conduct. To deal with these problems, probation and pretrial offices services offices in the nation’s 94 U.S. district courts maintain contracts with treatment providers. Sometimes these offices can also supplement contract services with community-based treatment.

But what does good treatment look like? How should treatment providers be evaluated? How can probation and pretrial services offices ensure that individuals on community supervision are receiving appropriate, high-quality care? What outcomes should be expected from treatment providers? And, finally, are there proven practices criminal justice professionals can use to improve treatment outcomes?

In this episode of Off Paper, Dr. Peter Luongo answers these questions and talks about his more than thirty years researching, making policy, and treating individuals with substance use and mental health disorders in the criminal justice system. Dr. Luongo, Executive Director of the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA), has been a trainer and clinical consultant for the federal courts since 2011. Prior to that he served under three governors as director of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration. Dr. Luongo has served as a faculty associate at Johns Hopkins University, and, in 2015, he was nominated and elected a Class A Trustee of the General Services Board of Alcoholics Anonymous. Off Paper is hosted by Mark Sherman of the Federal Judicial Center.

Holistic defense is also called community-oriented defense, therapeutic defense, or holistic advocacy. Whatever the name, its purpose is to solve underlying social and environmental problems that may have contributed to an individual's involvement in crime. It does this by emphasizing teamwork, partnerships with other criminal justice stakeholders, and identification and mitigation of collateral consequences. By doing this, defense attorneys hope to improve public safety by helping clients avoid involvement in the criminal justice system and reducing recidivism. In this episode of Off Paper, federal defenders Kathy Nester (D. Utah) and Maureen Franco (W.D. Tex.), who have been at the forefront of this work in the federal system, talk about the role of the defender in building and sustaining a multi-stakeholder, district-wide reentry infrastructure and in developing and implementing collaborative, problem-solving courts.


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