BJA's Justice Today
December 2009
In the Spotlight
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Pretrial Justice Training and Technical Assistance

The Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), with funding and assistance from BJA, offers no-cost training and technical assistance (TTA) to criminal justice officials at the state, local, and tribal levels involved in pretrial issues. The goal of the project is to help state, local, and tribal justice agencies eliminate inappropriate and costly detention while maintaining community safety.

Opportunities for pretrial justice TTA include: training for judges, prosecutors, defenders, and staff with pretrial release responsibilities; technical assistance to assess local pretrial justice functions against nationally accepted standards and best practices; technical assistance to develop a state-of-the-art, evidence-based, and locally validated risk assessment instrument to assist bail decision-makers; and corrections options technical assistance, such as case processing and jail population analyses or jail and prison classification. Read more about pretrial justice at pretrial.org.

Information on applying for pretrial justice training and technical assistance will be available soon on the BJA web site as well as a forthcoming BJA podcast on the issue and state of pretrial justice in the United States.

News You Can Use

NSA Accepting Nominations for Neighborhood Watch Awards of Excellence
The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) in partnership with BJA is accepting nominations for the 7th Annual National Neighborhood Watch Awards of Excellence to be presented at the 2010 NSA Conference in Anaheim, CA. All law enforcement agencies, Neighborhood Watch groups, organizations, or programs that have made an exceptional contribution to the Neighborhood Watch program in their communities are encouraged to submit nominations by March 31, 2010. Learn more and download a nomination form.

New Publication Highlights Findings from National Survey of Pretrial Diversion Programs
The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA), with support from BJA, recently published Pretrial Diversion in the 21st Century, which highlights findings from the first comprehensive survey of pretrial programs in over 25 years. Among the survey’s findings are that more than half of respondent programs do not require a conditional guilty plea or admission of responsibility as a condition of diversion eligibility; two-thirds of programs require restitution as a mandatory condition; and programs reported a median success rate of 85 percent.

Upcoming Pretrial Justice Conferences
The California Association of Pretrial Services conference will be held March 18–20, 2010 in Redondo Beach, CA. The New York Association of Pretrial Services conference will be held April 25–26, 2010 in Troy, NY. The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies will hold its 38th Annual Conference in San Diego, California on September 26-29, 2010.

Grants and Funding

BJA has released the following solicitations:

Read OJP’s FY 2010 Program Plan. In the Program Plan you’ll find funding opportunities and new initiatives from OJP—subject to the 2010 Congressional appropriation—as well as guidance on how to take advantage of those opportunities.

In preparation for FY 2010 solicitations, read BJA’s new About Grants section on the BJA web site.

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 www.psob.gov.
Did You Know?

According to the National Association of Counties, despite falling crime rates, a rise in jail populations in recent years has resulted in a 500 percent increase in jail spending since 1982. One way of addressing these rising costs are pretrial release programs, which are far more cost-effective than jail for those who can be safely supervised in the community. Pretrial service programs help assure that defendants appear for court proceedings without tying up costly jail beds for defendants who can be safely released under certain conditions. Learn more.

Featured Program

Crisis Intervention Teams—Helping Law Enforcement Respond to Persons with Mental Illness
Law enforcement officers regularly respond to calls for service that involve people with mental illnesses, yet officers often lack the needed resources or specialized training to address what are often complex encounters. Through BJA’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, state, local, and tribal law enforcement are eligible to apply for funding to implement crisis intervention teams (CITs), comprised of law enforcement officers who are specially trained to better respond to people with mental illnesses. Officers are trained to stabilize a potentially volatile situation, reduce the use of force during these encounters, and determine whether people pose a danger to themselves or others. Since beginning in the 1980s, hundreds of communities have implemented CITs with BJA funding or with support from BJA-funded training, which has resulted in increased public safety and improved public health.  Some jurisdictions have taken active leadership roles in expanding the training and the reach of BJA’s CIT initiative. For example, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia CIT has trained 3,100 law enforcement officers from 197 Georgia agencies. Volunteer instructors present the training in a 40-hour course, while administrative costs are covered by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Learn more about CITs.

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