National Atlas of Sentencing and Corrections Now Available

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Saturday - October 02, 2010.

Washington: Recently, the Justice Mapping Center launched the National Atlas of Sentencing and Corrections-an online tool that shows a neighborhood-level view of where prison inmates, probationers, and parolees are from and where corrections spending is highest.  Click hereto connect with the Atlas which is online. The atlas serves as an invaluable tool for policymakers, the media, researchers, and members of the public looking for neighborhood-specific criminal justice data. Drilling down to single ZIP codes, users can learn the number of people in prison, the number released from prison each year, the number on probation or parole, what share of the state's total population this data represent, and the total dollar amount spent on corrections.

Reentry program planners will find the atlas useful in identifying the target population for their reentry initiatives. Also, Second Chance Act grantees can use the information to focus supervision and treatment resources on a specific geographic area.  The atlas highlights the concentration of incarceration rates in disadvantaged communities across the country. Corrections data are supplemented by data regarding income level, employment status, the number of single-parent households, and racial demographics for each of the thousands of jurisdictions spotlighted.

Specific findings include the following:

  • In New York City, neighborhoods that are home to 18 percent of the city's adult population account for more than 50 percent of prison admissions each year.
  • In Pennsylvania, taxpayers will spend more than $40 million to imprison residents of neighborhoods in a single ZIP code in Philadelphia, where 38 percent of households have incomes under $25,000.
  • In Austin, Texas, although neighborhoods in three of the city's forty-one ZIP codes are home to only 3.5 percent of the city's adult population, they grapple with more than 17 percent of people returning from prison each year.

Corrections departments from twenty-two states provided data to populate the atlas, which represents more than two years of research and planning. The project was supported by the Ford Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Open Society Institute.

Sex Offending: Myths, Facts and Challenges

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Sunday - September 19, 2010.

Lancaster:  Community Renewal for Sex Offenders (CR-SO) will offer a presentation on "Sex Offending: Myths, Facts and Challenges," in Lancaster on Thursday, September 23,2010 for concerned citizens, former offenders and their friends and family, criminal justice personnel, clergy, public officials, service providers, employers, and therapists in Lancaster and nearby counties. The speaker will be Santhi S.Leon, J.D., Ph.D. from the University of Delaware.  Click here for a downloadable flyer for the event and herefor a downloadable brochure on CR-SO.

There will be a choice of two sessions, 12 pm to 1:30 (light lunch provided) and 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. It will take place at the Lancaster Quaker Meeting House, 110 Tulane Terrace. From Route 30 west of Lancaster, take Rohrerstown Rd (Route 741) south two miles. Turn left on Columbia Rd, (Route 462) past Wheatland Shopping Center (tall flag pole). Turn left on Tulane Terrace and go about 100 yards.

Please let CR-SO know you are coming and indicate which session (noon or evening). If you prefer not to provide contact information just show up. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.." data-mce-href="mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Phone: 717-397-3569.

CR-SO is a broad-based citizen effort promoting public policy and programs for sex offenders to reduce victimization and to support those who have offended to live in the community without doing harm to others or to themselves. Event coordinators include Jim Kalish (organizer, advocate) John Rush (director, New Persons Center, Reading, PA), Don Sensenig (retired minister and mentor), and David Worth (pioneer in support for sex offender re-entry, Canada).

Reentry at the Local Level

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Tuesday - August 31, 2010.

Washington, DC: In a recent article entitled "Reentry at the Local Level", the Urban Institute examined the similarities and differences between reentry from state prisons and from local jails.  This white paper seems to be a follow-up to an earlier article from 2008 entitled "Life After Lockup: Improving Reentry from Jail to the Community".  For a downloadable copy of the initial paper from 2008, click here

According to the Urban Institute, jails house a more diverse array of offenders than prisons (e.g., individuals awaiting trial, conviction, or sentencing; individuals sentenced to less than a year; and probation and parole violators); individuals stay in a jail for a shorter period than individuals in prison (average jail incarceration is 27 days for large jails, compared to an average prison incarceration of two-and-a-half years); the capacity of jails to address individual needs, including substance use, mental and physical health, housing and employment, is limited compared to prisons; jails are administered by cities or counties; and there is no community-based system designated to provide post-release services such as employment, housing, and mental health treatment.

Despite these challenges, jails are uniquely situated to improve offender reentry outcomes and public safety by staging interventions at the individual level. Five interventions jump out.

Classification, Screening, and Assessment

Incarceration presents a special opportunity for determining an individual's unique social and health needs and public safety risks upon which to base a comprehensive reentry plan. First, jails can use a classification system to determine an individual's security level. The National Institute of Corrections, for example, has promoted the use of objective classification systems that consider factors such as an individual's offense, prior criminal history, and institutional behavior for the purpose of assigning individuals as a high, medium, low, or pre-release security levels.

From Arrest to Homecoming: Addressing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Monday - August 23, 2010.

Washington, DC:On September 1, 2010, the National Reentry Resource Center will host a free webinar on how best to address the challenges faced by children of incarcerated parents. This webinar will cover the emotional and physical needs of children of incarcerated parents and the complex family dynamics among children, incarcerated parents, and caregivers. Practical tips and sample resources developed by experienced service providers, such as co-parenting agreements, will be shared.

This webinar, facilitated by Margaret diZerega, Family Justice program director at the Vera Institute of Justice, will feature presentations by:

  • Dee Ann Newell, M.A., Founder and Executive Director, Arkansas Voices for Children Left Behind. Ms. Newell's organization is instrumental in the development of state legislation to support subsidized guardianship by relative caregivers for children of incarcerated parents and legislation to protect pregnant mothers during incarceration. From 2006 to 2008, she provided technical assistance to fourteen states around policy and program development for children of incarcerated parents.
  • Yali Lincroft, M.B.A.., Independent Consultant, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the American Humane Association, and First Focus. Ms. Lincroft's fifteen years of experience in policy and program planning at the local, state, and federal level includes work as a policy consultant for the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents' initiative to improve child welfare services. Her recent and upcoming publications include After the Earthquake: A Bulletin for Child Welfare Organizations Assisting Haitian Families in the United States and a toolkit for social workers assisting incarcerated parents, which will be published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the fall of 2010.

This webinar, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, will be held at 2:00 P.M. (E.T.) on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. To register for this webinar, click here.

New Resource on Expanding Housing Options

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Monday - August 23, 2010.

New York: Successful prisoner reentry often hinges on individuals finding stable housing that can help them break the cycle of reincarceration. The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center released a new publication in May 2010 entitled, "Reentry Housing Options: The Policymakers' Guide", which provides practical steps that lawmakers and others can take to increase public safety through better access to affordable housing for individuals released to the community. For a downloadable copy, click here.

Reentry Housing Options is the result of a project supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. The guide provides an overview of several commonly accessed housing options, including the benefits and limitations of six of these options: private-market rentals, public housing, affordable housing, halfway houses, supportive housing, and specialized reentry housing.  Stories from Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Wichita are documented.