BJA's Justice Today
August 2012   
In the Spotlight

NCJA's National Forum Features Innovation and Inspiration

The National Criminal Justice Association's (NCJA) 2012 National Forum on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, "Advancing the Business of Public Safety: Rethinking, Realigning, Restructuring, Realizing," took place at Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, on July 29-31. The forum showcased programs and technologies that help justice practitioners and decisionmakers in states, local communities, and tribal nations address pressing public safety issues.

With resources on the decline, continuing to fund the same programs year after year is no longer an option for public safety and justice agencies. The forum's sessions addressed the cutting edge strategies that use data and evidence—and a lot of commitment and passion—to advance effective programs with positive public safety outcomes. Workshops showcased promising and innovative strategies to address crime around the country; how technology can improve the administration of justice; and highlighted priority issues within the Department of Justice and available resources.

Hon. John Smith,  Judge, Cass County Court, and Hon. Korey Wahwassuck, Associate Judge,  Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court.
Hon. John Smith, Judge, Cass County Court, and Hon. Korey Wahwassuck, Associate Judge,  Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court

The forum kicked off with a memorable and inspiring presentation by the Cass County/ Itasca County/Leech Lake Tribal Wellness Court, a model tribal-state collaboration to combat drug and alcohol addiction. Through interactive video conferencing technology, forum participants became part of the "live" courtroom experience, using the same process the courts use to interact with program clients on a daily basis across the geographically distributed northern Minnesota territory. The Wellness Court clients shared very moving stories of how the program changed their lives and described the compelling adversity they had to overcome to get to where they are today. 

Visit the NCJA web site for conference workshop summaries and other resources and materials.

News You Can Use

Now Available: Webcast on Inmate Health Care Costs
With support from BJA, the National Governors Association (NGA) conducted a webcast, "State Strategies for Controlling Inmate Health Care Costs," which is now available on the NGA web site along with other helpful materials and resources.

BJA Is Seeking Peer Reviewers!
BJA is seeking peer reviewers to assess FY 2013 grant applications. BJA needs reviewers with relevant expertise and from diverse backgrounds, regions, and experience in the following areas: law enforcement and gangs; crime prevention; adjudication; corrections, building correctional facilities, and reentry; tribal justice; mental health, alcohol, and substance abuse services; information sharing and technology; and research and statistics. If you are interested, submit an up-to-date resume or curriculum vitae, including a valid e-mail address, to: Byrne.Discretionary@ Please put "Peer Reviewer Candidate Resume" in the subject line.

Grants and Funding
BJA expects to announce all FY 2012 grant awards by October 1. For a listing of all OJP grants awarded so far, visit the OJP web site. The final list, to be available in October, will be sortable by solicitation, state, county and congressional district, as in previous fiscal years.
This Month in Law Enforcement

New Tool Translates Research to Practice
Matrix shows a research-to-practice translation tool.The analysis of crime data to fight crime in individual communities and the use of specialized prevention and policing strategies to address specific crime problems have been in use across the country for many years. Determining which strategies work in reducing crime and disorder can be challenging. Hundreds of examinations of various police strategies and activities already exist, with more than 100 that use at least experimental and quasi-experimental designs to arrive at believable conclusions. Most recently, Dr. Cynthia Lum and associates at the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University have taken crime fighting to a new level with the creation of the Evidence-Based Policing Matrix. Funded by BJA, the Matrix is a research-to-practice translation tool that organizes these stronger studies visually, allowing agencies to view the field of research, from its generalizations to its particulars, and make more informed decisions about which crime-fighting strategy to try in their community. 

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program

Enacted in 1976, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. For details regarding these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty, call the PSOB Office toll-free at 888–744–6513 or 202–307–0635, or visit the PSOB web site.

Did You Know?

National PREA Resource Center logoThe Department of Justice's (DOJ) national Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards were published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2012 and became effective on August 20, 2012. BJA's PREA Resource Center (PRC) works to address sexual safety in confinement and assists state and local jurisdictions with implementation of DOJ's national PREA standards. PRC serves as a central repository for the best research in the field on trends, prevention, response strategies, and best practices in corrections.

Featured Program

BJA's NTTAC Advances Community Prosecution

BJA's National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is working with and supporting the Association for Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) in funding a multi-site evaluation of the effectiveness of community prosecution on reducing crime. The University of Chicago's Crime Lab conducted preliminary research on the effectiveness of community prosecution in the Chicago area. Their approach was to examine the opening, closure, and reopening of community prosecution offices and comparing the crime rates to areas where there were no community prosecution activities. The research indicated positive findings for areas where community prosecution offices existed regarding crime reduction. From this positive research, APA indicated further research was needed to gain a better understanding of which strategies result in the most favorable cost-benefit ratio for reducing crime. Six cities will participate in the study: Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. The data gathered and strategy recommendations from this study can influence strategies for community prosecution throughout the nation. This study will conduct data analysis to understand how each site is administering the community prosecution model and develop a rigorous evaluation plan for each site.

The end result will be a recommendation for implementation and a cost-benefit analysis for each jurisdiction, as well as a comparison using Geographical Information System (GIS) coding. The coding will provide data on how neighborhoods in which community prosecution units operate are different from each other and from neighborhoods where community prosecution units are not present.

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