August 2010 National Briefs

American Probation and Parole Association

  • In August the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) held its annual Training Institute in Washington, DC. Nebraska Deputy Probation Administrator Deb Minardi was given the President’s award for developing and overseeing the Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision program and presorting centers.

  • APPA’s Winter Training Institute is set for February 27 through March 2, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Be sure to visit the website for further information and an opportunity to submit proposals for presentations.

Council of State Governments

  • The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center launched the Reentry Programs Database. The site was developed in collaboration with Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). It provides information on promising re-entry programs and initiatives.

Governors Highway Safety Association

  • The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) will be receiving a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to assist the Agency on the issue of ignition interlocks. NHTSA and GHSA will be hosting an invitation-only meeting on November 4 focusing on the administration of ignition interlock programs. One representative from the highway safety office and one ignition interlock practitioner from every state will be invited to attend the meeting. GHSA will prepare a brief report summarizing key findings from the meeting and identifying gaps in technical assistance to states. GHSA will then work with NHTSA to provide states with some of the missing technical assistance. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will fund an evaluator to examine the effectiveness of state interlock programs and assist selected states in program implementation.

Institute for Behavior and Health

  • In late 2009, the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. (IBH) established a committee to address the problem of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). IBH has expanded the committee to include even more of the world’s foremost researchers in drugged driving. In early 2010, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) tasked the IBH committee to produce a white paper and academic article focused on one aspect of the Committee’s work – research. The goal of this high profile project is to summarize drugged driving research and to define a strategy for new research to fill in the most policy-relevant gaps in that knowledge. These efforts support the solid foundation provided by the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy issued by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which identified reducing drugged driving as one of its principal demand reduction priorities. Committee recommendations in the forthcoming white paper and academic article will relate to improving current drugged driving data collection, expanding and standardizing drug testing of impaired and crash-involved drivers, and identifying best practices in drugged driving laws, driver education, and offender management. For more information about good ideas to reduce drugged driving and about other drug policy issues visit www.ibhinc.org and www.StopDruggedDriving.org.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

National Association of Drug Court Professionals

  • The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) hosted its annual conference in Boston in June. Over 3,000 people attended the conference, which featured a host of national figures, including United States Attorney General Eric Holder.

National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators

  • The National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators (NAPC) held its Summer Conference in Napa Valley, California. NAPC awarded the prestigious National Traffic Safety Prosecutor of the Year Award to King County (Seattle) Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedhiem. In addition to heading her agency’s Felony Traffic Trial Unit, Freedhiem has worked closely with local law enforcement officers and state toxicologists to develop a 24/7, on-call system, drafted and supported DUI legislation, and trained other prosecutors through the Washington State Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (WAPA).

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

  • NHTSA published a monograph entitled Prosecutors Working With Victim Advocate Groups, which provides guidance on how prosecutors, victims, and advocacy organizations can work together. The monograph was authored by MADD, with technical assistance from the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) and is available online.
  • NHTSA also published a new toolkit for policymakers on ignition interlock devices. The document was authored by Karen Sprattler.

National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center

  • The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) held their annual conference. You may access available presentations on their JustNet website.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the President’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy. The plan establishes goals for reducing drug use through prevention, treatment, and enforcement. Of particular note, the plan focuses on, among other strategies:

  • Promoting and supporting alternatives to incarceration, such as drug- and problem-solving courts
  • Reducing drug use by those under criminal justice supervision through drug testing with certain, swift, but modest sanctions in probation and parole systems
  • Mandating treatment and court monitoring for chronic drug-using offenders who disproportionately burden the healthcare and criminal justice systems

Pew Center on the States

  • In Prison Count 2010: State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years, researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts Center for the States discuss prison population trends and identify six reasons why the population decreased in 2009: (1) advances in supervision technology; (2) advances in the science of behavior change; (3) development of more accurate risk assessments; (4) public support for prison alternatives; (5) increasing focus on cost-benefit analysis; and (6) budget pressure.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Traffic Injury Research Foundation

  • TIRF has released a new report entitled “The Implementation of Alcohol Inerlocks for First Offenders: A Case Study.” The report summarizes research relevant to the use of alcohol interlocks for first offenders. It also documents the process employed by and the tasks completed in Illinois to implement their first offender alcohol interlock law. The report contains an overview of the resources that were allocated to the process and compares the results in Illinois with experiences in Colorado, Nebraska, New York, and Washington. Recommendations to assist other jurisdictions are formulated and discussed. The report can be downloaded at www.tirf.ca.

  • TIRF has also completed a study on knowledge utilization in traffic safety, illustrating how understanding of behavioral patterns of interlocked offender on an alcohol ignition interlock can be used to inform implementation and delivery of an interlock program. The behavioral patterns emerging in this study reveal that offenders tend to fail tests and violate the conditions of the interlock program at a relative high rate at the beginning of their participation, and this behavior quickly diminishes among most offenders as they become accustomed to the device. The way in which the results can inform the implementation of interlock programs is discussed as well as the need for further study of behavioral patterns. A research report will become available soon.

United States Congress

  • The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill for FY 2011 that allocates funds for justice programs. The bill includes $50 million for Second Chance Act programs, $45 million for drug courts, $20 million for residential substance abuse treatment for state prisoners, and $11 million for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act. The House Commerce Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee drafted a bill that will be released after markup.

  • The House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources of the Committee on Government held a hearing to Assess Alternatives to Incarceration For Drug-Involved Offenders.

U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics

  • After meeting with NPAMC and several other Federal agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), BJS published a web page devoted to alcohol misuse and crime. It is anticipated that the web page will eventually link to relevant pages on the other agencies’ sites.

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs

  • The OJP announced the launch of Grants 101, a website that provides an overview of OJB grants and funding opportunities, tips on how to find and write grants, and explanations of the awards process.

United States Sentencing Commission

  • The U.S. Sentencing Commission amended the Federal sentencing guidelines to authorize courts to depart downward to achieve a specific treatment purpose. The Commission limited application to cases where the defendant has a serious alcohol, drug, or mental health issue; his or her criminality is related to the problem to be addressed; and there is a likelihood that treatment will work and reduce the risk to the public.