Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Local Citizens: Support Reform At The Next Meeting Of The Community Criminal Justice Board

Mr. William Kyger, District 4 member of the Rockingham Board of Supervisors, will be serving as the new chair of the CCJB beginning with its next meeting at 4 pm Monday, August 29, at the Fire and Rescue Room in the southwest corner of the County Administration Building

Your respectful presence will show support for the CCJB as it considers such agenda items as the following (this one from from the local Reentry Council): 

The Harrisonburg/Rockingham/Page Reentry Council wishes to collaborate with the CCJB in further evaluating and implementing more of the Moseley Group's recommendations they adopted in December, 2104, to help reduce incarceration:

1. Adult Drug Court 

“…the scientific evidence is overwhelming that adult drug courts reduce crime, reduce substance abuse, improve family relationships, and increase earning potential. …Drug Courts in Virginia saved taxpayers $19,234 per person as compared to traditional case processing, and reduced recidivism rates for the persons completing a program.”

2. Day Reporting Centers

“…to offer enhanced treatment and supervision to probationers or sentenced offenders not on probation; to monitor early released inmates from jail; to monitor arrested persons prior to trial; as a halfway-out step for inmates who have shown progress in community corrections or work-
release centers; and as a halfway-in step for offenders who are in violation of probation. Sometimes referred to as a “one-stop” shop, a Day Reporting Center offers many of programs and services that best practices suggests reduces the likelihood of reoffending; reduces recidivism, and eventually reduce jail bed space requirements, including: individual and group counseling, substance abuse education, anger management, domestic violence prevention, cognitive and life skills training, parenting and family reintegration, community service, education/GED preparation, and reentry services.”  

3. Implement New Programs

“…initiate a long range planning strategy to investigate, develop and implement a continuum of jail-based ...programs and services for persons with mental health and substance abuse issues, and programs and services which target the probation violator population which appears to be utilizing a substantial portion of jail beds.” 

4. Reduce Number of Inmates In Three Categories 
  1. un-sentenced detainees awaiting trial (approximately 40% of the inmate population);
  2. probation violators (by a number of measures a disproportionally large offender group),
  3. offenders with substantial substance/mental health issues that are associated with repeated criminal behavior and contribute to the jail’s “revolving door.” 
5. Increase System Coordination, Goal Setting, Oversight and Planning

“The community has a formal Community Criminal Justice Board (CCJB) with the statutory responsibility to: (1) advise on the development and operation of local pretrial services and community-based probation programs and services for use by the courts in diverting offenders from local correctional facilities; (2) assist community agencies in establishing and modifying programs and services for offenders; (3) evaluate and monitor community programs, services and facilities; and (4) develop and amend criminal justice plans. This group should oversee an ongoing planning effort that focuses the issues associated continuing crowding at all levels.”

6. Have CCJB Form Working Sub-committees

“…reviewing, analyzing and identifying processes and programs within the system that can be enhanced to create a more effective and efficient criminal justice system. These sub-committees should include a broad spectrum of representatives from the criminal justice, public health, higher education communities, as well as concerned citizens.” 

7. Investigate Ways to Reduce Intake

“Programs and administrative practices aimed at reducing intake should be evaluated and implemented. Early and effective pretrial programming should be enhanced with the goal of reducing future intake pressure.”

8. Investigate Pretrial Confinement Policies, Procedures and Administrative Practices

“… determine risk levels of persons incarcerated, bond statuses and reasons for confinement. There are, for example, a large number of detainees who are confined without bond for reasons that are not apparent. In addition, available data suggests that over 90% of ordered secure bonds are for amounts of $5,000 or less – amounts that poor people may not be able or willing to pay. In the face of research that suggests that requirements of small secured bond amounts is not related to public safety or appearances in court, further investigation is recommended.”

9. Increase Pretrial and Probation Staff Levels

“…consider funding new positions rather than waiting for the State funding process…A total of 6.5 pretrial and local probation officers combined to provide services to a community with over 125,000 residents with an annual operating budget of just over $635,000 is not adequate to provide services and programs for the offender population…”

10. Expand Home Electronic and GPS Monitoring For Pre- and Post-trial Supervision

“…provides a viable and effective mechanism for controlling jail crowding.” 

11. Implement and Strengthen New Jail-based Programs

“...including: work release, education release, public work force, electronic home monitoring, weekend sentencing (non-consecutive sentencing).”

12. Expand and strengthen reentry services for incarcerated offenders

“…the provision of reentry and transition services is an important service delivery component of many jail-based programs.”

13. Provide Expanded Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Within the Jail 

Increasingly, offenders with chronic mental health issues are residing in local and regional jails, and greatly contributing to the ‘revolving jail door’ that is apparent in Rockingham-Harrisonburg.”

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