Archive for the ‘Bureau of Justice Assistance’ Category

Using Trauma-Informed Practices to Enhance Safety and Security in Women’s Correctional Facilities

May 7, 2014 Comments off

Using Trauma-Informed Practices to Enhance Safety and Security in Women’s Correctional Facilities
Source: National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women

One of the most common experiences shared by women in correctional facilities is a history of trauma, which for many can be extensive. Research from multiple disciplines has shown that the effects of trauma can be significant and long lasting. We now know that trauma often plays a role in the onset of women’s criminal behavior, is often linked to substance abuse and mental health challenges, and that trauma may explain some of the behaviors women offenders display while incarcerated. This document provides a brief overview of trauma and its effects on women offenders, and specifically defines trauma-informed practices for women’s correctional facilities. It also provides key actions that facility administrators, managers, and staff can take to better align their operational practices with the research on trauma and to create a more trauma-informed facility culture.

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Best Practices in the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women and Girls Under Correctional Custody

April 30, 2014 Comments off

Best Practices in the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women and Girls Under Correctional Custody (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

The National Task Force on the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women under Correctional Custody, initially convened by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2011, created this best practices statement to articulate a set of principles to guide agencies and jurisdictions in the development of local policy and practice. These best practices are relevant across a variety of settings including criminal justice, juvenile justice, psychiatric and forensic hospitals, law enforcement transport, and others. This document refers and applies to both women (age 18 years and older) and girls (younger than age 18) who are pregnant, laboring and delivering, or in the post-partum period.

This statement is not a proscribed policy. Rather, it should serve as a starting point for individual organizations to use in developing effective internal policies, procedures, and practices that maximize safety and minimize risk for pregnant women and girls, their fetuses/newborns, and correctional and medical staff.

The Inmate Education Facilitator’s Guide: Prison Rape Elimination Act — What You Need to Know

April 24, 2014 Comments off

The Inmate Education Facilitator’s Guide: Prison Rape Elimination Act — What You Need to Know (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

This guide is a supplement to the video, PREA: What You Need to Know. Its purpose is to help corrections officials conduct educational screenings of the video for inmates in their custody.

The core goal of PREA: What You Need to Know is to teach inmates about their right to be free from sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The video gives an overview of corrections policies to prevent and respond to this abuse, covering how inmates can safely report abuse, the types of victim services available to inmates following an incident of sexual abuse, and what it means for a facility to have a “zero-tolerance” policy.

Transcript: Innovations in Justice— Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds: An Interview With Dr. Brian Regli and Dr. Robert D’Ovidio

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Transcript: Innovations in Justice— Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds: An Interview With Dr. Brian Regli and Dr. Robert D’Ovidio (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Hello, this is Cornelia Sigworth. I’m a Policy Advisor with the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Today I am sitting down with Dr. Brian Regli from Drakontas Communication Tool and Dr. Robert D’Ovidio from Drexel University. Dr. Regli is the Chief Executive Officer of Drakontas Incorporated [LLC, In this role, he is responsible for developing product commercialization strategies for emerging technologies. Dr. D’Ovidio is an Associate Professor at Drexel University, where he teaches for the Criminal Justice Program and directs Drexel’s research program in computer crime and digital forensics. Both Dr. Regli and Dr. D’Ovidio are working with the Bureau of Justice Assistance to develop curriculum materials to increase awareness of crimes committed in virtual worlds and to build capacity among state and local law enforcement [agencies] to combat these crimes.

So, Brian, when you think of video games, you think of fun, not crime. How are people exploiting virtual worlds and online video game worlds for criminal purposes?

Lost and Found: Understanding Technologies Used to Locate Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Lost and Found: Understanding Technologies Used to Locate Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s or Dementia (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect not only those who are living with the disease; these afflictions also impact the caregivers, law enforcement, and even neighbors. As the disease progresses, physical and mental capabilities are negatively impacted, short-term memory loss increases, and a person with Alzheimer’s might begin living in the past. As the person attempts to return to former places of employment or residences, they often get lost and need assistance returning to where they are currently residing. It is never possible to predict if or when a person with Alzheimer’s will wander or be unable to navigate familiar routes. Initiating a search for a person with Alzheimer’s can never be delayed, and conducting such searches can prove to be costly and consume extreme amounts of agency resources. It is crucial for law enforcement officers and other first responders to be familiar with and understand the signs of dementia and be aware of passive identification products used to identify persons with Alzheimer’s. In addition to passive identification techniques, there are technologies and products available that can be used to actively locate an individual who is lost.

Cellular location techniques and Global Positioning System devices are examples of proven methods for aiding law enforcement in a search for a missing person with dementia. This document will provide a technical description of these technologies and outline some of the advantages and disadvantages when employing these products. It will also provide comprehensive lists of locating devices that are currently available. Provided in each section is a short technical description of the technology and its advantages and the disadvantages. Appendix I and Appendix II provide a list of passive and active locating devices currently available.

Homicide Process Mapping: Best Practices for Increasing Homicide Clearances

November 21, 2013 Comments off

Homicide Process Mapping: Best Practices for Increasing Homicide Clearances (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Since 1990, the number of homicides committed in the United States has dropped over 30 percent. While this is a positive trend, it is somewhat counterbalanced by another trend: in the mid-1970s, the average homicide clearance rate in the United States was around 80 percent. Today, that number has dropped to 65 percent—hence, more offenders are literally getting away with murder.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), recognizes that the problem of violence in the United States requires a multifaceted approach. In a coordinated initiative of projects, BJA has examined the manner in which trends in violence are identified by law enforcement for tactical purposes, reviewed how cutting-edge analysis and the integration of resources can disrupt trends in violent crime, and examined two decades of violence-reduction initiatives to determine what works. Based on lessons learned, new initiatives are explored, such as the Law Enforcement Forecasting Group (LEFG), which produced a paper on the importance of the analytic process for crime control (tactically) and resource allocation for crime reduction (strategically). Collectively, the lessons from these initiatives—and other initiatives by BJA and companion OJP components— provide guidance on new avenues to explore.

Based on the findings from these projects, one of the focal points in violence suppression initiatives that BJA explored was the most efficacious method to manage homicide investigations. Two paths were used toward this end. The current project on Homicide Process Mapping focused on investigative practices.

10 Things Law Enforcement Executives Can Do To Positively Impact Homicide Investigation Outcomes

November 4, 2013 Comments off

10 Things Law Enforcement Executives Can Do To Positively Impact Homicide Investigation Outcomes (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

10 Recommendations for Executives

1. Invest in your relationship with your homicide unit
2. Have a system in place for standardized and structured management of investigations
3. Mandate information sharing
4. Support investigations with appropriate resources
5. Assess your current response to victims/survivors
6. Build up/reinforce your partnerships
7. Build community cachet and give them options
8. Manage political and public expectations of homicide investigations
9. Know your numbers
10. Measure closure and beyond

Innovation in the Criminal Justice System: A National Survey of Criminal Justice Leaders

October 29, 2013 Comments off

Innovation in the Criminal Justice System: A National Survey of Criminal Justice Leaders (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Innovation in the Criminal Justice System: A National Survey of Criminal Justice Leaders is part of a multi – faceted inquiry concerning innovation and criminal justice reform conducted by the Center for Court Innovation in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The questionnaire was administered from June to August 2012 among a nationwide sample of 1,000 professionals: 300 community corrections officials ; 300 leaders from prosecutors’ offices; 300 police chiefs and sheriffs; and all 102 chief judges and chief court administrators from the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

There was an overall response rate of 62% , and the final sample included responses from 624 individual criminal justice leaders . On average, respondents had over 26 years of experience in the criminal justice system. Weighting techniques were utilized to assign each of the four criminal justice segments (community corrections, prosecution, law enforcement, and court administration) equal influence over the reported totals.

The questionnaire was designed to provide a snapshot of the current state of innovation in the field of criminal justice: Is innovation a priority? Are criminal justice leaders aware of emerging research, and do they use research to inform policymaking? What obstacles stand in the way of innovation in the field?

Command, Control , and Coordination: A Quick-Look Analysis of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Operations during the 2012 Democratic National Convention

September 12, 2013 Comments off

Command, Control, and Coordination: A Quick-Look Analysis of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Operations during the 2012 Democratic National Convention (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance
From the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:

This report presents an analysis of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s operations during the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

In September 2012, the Democratic Party held their national convention in Charlotte, NC. Due to the large number of attendees and the high-profile nature of the event, the convention posed unique problems for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD). This report presents an analysis of the operations of the CMPD to handle the planning and operational challenges posed by the event. The analysis identified best practices of the CMPD during this event: pre-event planning, collaboration between local authorities, use of technologies and criminal intelligence, effective personnel recruitment, pre-event training of personnel on the legal and civil rights of attendees, effective crowd control, and effective coordination between command and control throughout the event. These best practices are described in detail in the report, along with key lessons learned by the CMPD as a result of their experience. Key lessons learned include proper use of planning subcommittees, stressing the need for flexible operations, streamlining arrest processing, and having effective financial/grant management. The analysis found that overall, the efforts of the CMPD and its partner public safety agencies were aligned with the planning objectives established before the convention, enabling officers to be well prepared to handle any incident that could have arisen during the event itself.

Faith and Communities in Action: A Resource Guide for Increasing Partnership Opportunities to Prevent Crime and Violence

July 24, 2013 Comments off

Faith and Communities in Action: A Resource Guide for Increasing Partnership Opportunities to Prevent Crime and Violence (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Faith-based and non-profit organizations are powerful forces in many communities, serving in a wide variety of ways including as catalysts in enormous social movements in the United States—from ending slavery and promoting equitable treatment to giving women the right to vote to campaigning for civil rights both in word and in deed.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships recognizes the incredible efforts of faith-based and non-profit organizations to support their communities. The center aims to build upon this work by strengthening and expanding its partnerships with your faithbased and community organizations as well as by providing you with relevant information on best practices and leveraging community relationships.

We created this guide to help fulfill a need that we hear over and over again from groups throughout the country involved with the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and other federal endeavors. Organizations have continually asked for help to increase their capacity and relationships to prevent violence and crime and bettersupport their neighborhoods.

This guide emphasizes the importance of developing solid partnerships because in this day and age the challenges are too large for one organization to try to tackle tough, ongoing issues alone. As you use this guide, you will see great benefits while you work to better collaborate with groups that have the same goals you do. Throughout this guide, you will find useful strategies for building capacity, developing partnerships, and seeking grant opportunities. The work that faith-based and non-profit organizations do every day in some of the most vulnerable communities throughout this country is incredibly important. I hope this resource guide will assist you in your efforts to strengthen your communities and transform lives.

Law Enforcement Planning for Major Events

July 18, 2013 Comments off

Law Enforcement Planning for Major Events
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Large-scale events provide local governments with a number of valuable opportunities, including increasing revenue, revitalizing a city, and providing an increased sense of community. With these benefits comes greater responsibility for local law enforcement to ensure the public’s safety.

BJA worked in partnership with the CNA Corporation (CNA) to develop this Planning Primer which synthesizes model practices pertaining to security planning for a large-scale event, specifically pre-event planning, core event operations, and post-event activities. The guide also includes a comprehensive Appendix including actionable templates, checklists, and key considerations designed to facilitate the planning process.

This Planning Primer also includes key information on financial management to include: preparing a detailed budget, participating in post-award audits, and offering several financial resources that may be helpful to future local jurisdictions planning to host a large-scale security event.

The cities of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida, received federal funds to cover law enforcement and related security costs during the 2012 Presidential Nominating Conventions. Both BJA and CNA would like to express our gratitude to the Tampa Police Department (TPD) and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) for their full support in producing this document and for their time, expertise, and many contributions to the final product.

Women’s Pathways to Jail: The Roles and Intersections of Serious Mental Illness and Trauma

January 24, 2013 Comments off

Women’s Pathways to Jail: The Roles and Intersections of Serious Mental Illness and Trauma (PDF)

Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

This study found that a national sample of women in jails showed high rates of mental health problems, with a majority of the participants meeting diagnostic criteria for serious mental illness, lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or substance use disorder.

Statewide Law Enforcement/Mental Health Efforts: Strategies to Support and Sustain Local Initiatives

January 22, 2013 Comments off

Statewide Law Enforcement/Mental Health Efforts: Strategies to Support and Sustain Local Initiatives (PDF)

Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

This report examines how states have developed structures and standards to make police encounters with people with mental illnesses safer for all involved and to produce better mental health and criminal justice system outcomes. The report offers a starting point for policymakers, practitioners, and others interested in planning or enhancing a statewide initiative that will support such local-level specialized policing responses as crisis intervention and law enforcement/mental health co-response teams.

Ten Truths That Matter When Working With Justice Involved Women

August 7, 2012 Comments off

Ten Truths That Matter When Working With Justice Involved Women (PDF)
Source: National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women

This document reviews ten truths about justice involved women—gleaned from the research over the last few decadesthat must be recognized if we are to successfully manage this population, achieve greater reductions in recidivism, and improve public safety outcomes. It is our hope that by understanding these truths, criminal justice policymakers and practitioners will be more aware of gender differences and take steps to enhance their approaches to managing justice involved women.

Volunteers in Police Service Add Value While Budgets Decrease

January 16, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Bureau of Justice Assistance
While in the midst of budget cuts, many law enforcement agencies are being asked to take on additional responsibilities due to cuts and restructuring in other government agencies. Seventy-seven percent of agencies were asked to increase their support of other agencies and asked to shoulder additional responsibilities in the last year.
More than ever, volunteerism in the law enforcement arena has become a need and not a luxury. The financial return on investment of a volunteer program can be substantial, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of value added to the agency each year. In 2009, IACP’s Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program held a focus group to see how agencies were coping with tightening budgets by utilizing their existing volunteer programs. While agencies were cutting staff and programs, the use of volunteers remained consistent or, in some cases, increased. Many agencies have responded to the tough financial climate by training and placing volunteers in duties not previously performed by volunteers.
The services provided by VIPS volunteers are essential. As we look to the future, it is clear that the economic outlook is not going to change anytime soon. Shrinking budgets and limited resources will remain the norm for some time. In the IACP Policing in the 21st Century survey, one-third of law enforcement leaders said they will have to further reduce their budgets by 10 percent or more in the coming year.  In these difficult times, volunteers can enhance public safety and services and offer a wealth of skills and resources to law enforcement and their communities.

A Full Response to an Empty House: Public Safety Strategies for Addressing Mortgage Fraud and the Foreclosure Crisis

July 27, 2011 Comments off

A Full Response to an Empty House: Public Safety Strategies for Addressing Mortgage Fraud and the Foreclosure Crisis (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

This report provides an overview of law enforcement and government responses to mortgage fraud, foreclosure, and abandoned property, drawing on focus groups sponsored by BJA in January 2009. The focus groups brought together representatives from Indio, CA, Dallas, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and Miami, as well as researchers, policymakers, and advocates from financial, housing, and law enforcement organizations.

State of the Science of Pretrial Risk Assessment

July 18, 2011 Comments off

State of the Science of Pretrial Risk Assessment (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Procedural fairness is the cornerstone of a criminal justice system that supports the guarantees of our legal system—innocent until proven guilty. Since the first bail reform experiment in the 1960’s, jurisdictions have struggled to identify how to accurately predict who is likely to appear in court and remain law-abiding if released pending trial. Good public safety practice and sound fiscal management of local resources, like jails and courts, suggests the need for a renewed approach to decision making at pretrial.

Modern data management has shown that validated pretrial risk assessments are within the reach of every community and evidence-based tools that inform the pretrial release decision produce better outcomes than by relying on a standard bond schedule.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance is committed to assisting local jurisdictions as they strive to meet national, evidence-based standards on pretrial release. As part of this commitment, the Bureau convened leading researchers and professionals in the field of pretrial justice to discuss the efficacy and implementation of pretrial risk assessment. The purpose of the meeting was to determine how best to successfully assist local systems in the development and use of an evidence-based approach to pretrial justice. This document raises many questions and issues worthy of further investigation and study, but it also demystifies much of the misunderstandings involved in the development and application of these useful tools.

Addressing Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties

March 22, 2011 Comments off

Addressing Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Nearly 3.2 million foreclosures occurred in the U.S. in 2008, an all-time high. In many jurisdictions, the number and location of vacant properties changed so rapidly that officials had trouble tracking them, let alone formulating an effective response. The city of Cleveland, for example, estimated in early 2009 that at least 10,000 (or one in 13) of its houses were vacant while the county treasurer estimated that the number was 15,000–50 percent higher.

While much of the public’s attention has been focused on the economic repercussions of the nation’s housing crisis, the repercussions for law enforcement have been just as significant: vacant properties generate a host of interrelated problems, from unsafe structures and higher rates of crime to homelessness and strains on municipal services.

Jurisdictions across the U.S. have responded differently, tackling the problem from various angles. Many of the strategies deployed are the result of collaborations across government agencies and among public and private sectors. Police, city attorneys, district attorneys, U.S. attorneys, housing and building departments, health departments, community development organizations, landlords, private developers, banks, mortgage lenders, legislators, and regulators are finding ways to work together to slow or halt foreclosures, stem the decline of neighborhoods, improve quality of life, and plan for new growth.

This document offers a sampling of responses developed by jurisdictions across the U.S. It is intended to serve as a quick reference for law enforcement and government agencies looking for ideas to address vacant and abandoned properties. For ease of reference it is divided into three types of responses: Prevention, Enforcement, and Reuse.


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