U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Innovation. Partnerships. Safer Neighborhoods.
Justice Resource Update. Advancing the Field of Criminal Justice. MAY/JUNE 2011
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Reentry Council: Fighting Myths and Creating Opportunities

Reentry Council: Fighting Myths and Creating OpportunitiesFew issues have a more widespread or profound impact on our criminal and juvenile justice systems—and our communities—than reentry. To address reentry issues that cut across the entire federal government, Attorney General Eric Holder convened the cabinet-level interagency Reentry Council. The purpose of this group is to bring together numerous federal agencies to make communities safer; assist those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive, tax-paying citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.

Recently, the Reentry Council launched a new Web site. The Web site outlines the mission and goals of the Council and highlights initial activities. As a starting point, the federal partners on the Council are examining barriers to successful reentry. For instance, the Attorney General is encouraging State Attorneys General to review the collateral consequences of incarceration in their states and eliminate laws that impose burdens on former offenders without increasing public safety.

As part of their efforts to assist the field, the Council also released a series of Reentry MythBusters. These one-page fact sheets confront common misconceptions about federal laws and policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. Topics range from information on hiring ex-offenders to guidance on applying for government benefits and public housing. Many of the fact sheets point out that state and local governments have substantial discretion in applying policies to returning inmates.

The only way to close the revolving door on our nation’s prisons and jails is to work together to open more doors for ex-offenders in our communities. With this goal in mind, the Reentry Council will continue to develop new resource materials and promote policies and practices to improve reentry outcomes. As always, we welcome your feedback, questions, and comments.

 
IN THIS ISSUE
Bullet Reentry Council: Fighting Myths and Creating Opportunities
Bullet Defending Childhood Webcast
Bullet Working to Spread HOPE
Bullet Missing and Exploited Children Directory
Bullet National Missing and Unidentified Persons System Hits Milestone
Bullet Human Trafficking Statistics Released
Bullet Jail Population Continues To Decline
Bullet Mark Your Calendar
Defending Childhood Webcast

The Forum at the Harvard School of Public Health aired a Webcast featuring U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder discussing his vision for Defending Childhood. The Webcast, "Defending Childhood and Youth: A Public Health Approach to Ending the Cycle of Violence," provides an update on the progress of Defending Childhood. The Attorney General launched Defending Childhood in 2010 to combat children’s exposure to violence, mitigate the effects of exposure when it does occur, and develop knowledge and spread awareness about the issue.

During the Webcast, the Attorney General highlighted the importance of taking a public health approach to addressing children’s exposure to violence by focusing on prevention, utilizing holistic approaches, and building collaborative partnerships. He also cited the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and the work the Department of Justice is doing with cities throughout the country to address youth violence.

Working To Spread HOPE

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) released two solicitations to fund up to four demonstration sites and one evaluation of programs based on Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program.

HOPE is an innovative probation program that uses swift and certain punishment to help probationers abstain from illegal drug use. An evaluation of the program showed that probationers were significantly less likely to fail drug tests or miss probation appointments than offenders in traditional probation. HOPE participants also served less time in prison as a result of probation revocations.

HOPE is a promising program that may be a solution to helping stop the interconnected cycles of drug abuse and crime. To ascertain its full potential, the program needs to be implemented and evaluated in additional communities. Individuals also need to be tracked after leaving probation to determine long-term impacts.

The BJA solicitation for the demonstration sites closes on June 28, 2011. The NIJ solicitation for the evaluation of the sites closes July 6, 2011. BJA and NIJ will co-host two Webinars to explain the solicitations and take questions on the solicitation process, the demonstration, and the evaluation. Subscribe to NIJ’s funding page to receive notification when the Webinar dates are available.

Missing and Exploited Children Directory

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released the sixth edition of a directory that provides information to help law enforcement and other public and private agencies assist missing and exploited children. Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children is the product of the Federal Task Force for Missing and Exploited Children, which includes 16 federal and 2 private agencies. The directory describes the role of each task force agency in the location and recovery of missing and exploited children, linking resources and providing user-friendly information.

The complete directory is available online.

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System Hits Milestone

The number of cases in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System’s (NamUs) two databases recently reached more than 15,000. Since 2009, the number of registered users has also grown and now includes 10,000 individuals. While no one wants to see an increase in these types of cases, the information sharing that results from the increase in the number of cases in the system and in the number of registered users ultimately helps resolve more cases and provides some degree of closure to those for whom the search has finally ended.

As the national repository for information about missing and unidentified persons, NamUs allows the public to register to search and report information in the missing person database and search (but not add) information in the unidentified persons database. Law enforcement officers, coroners, medical examiners, and other professionals may search and report information to both databases.

More than two-thirds of the 10,000 registered NamUs users are members of the general public; the balance are death investigation professionals and law enforcement officers. The missing persons database contains 7,148 entries, and the unidentified persons database has 7,855 records.

To date, NamUs helped resolve 62 of the missing and unidentified person cases in its databases. To learn more about NamUs or to search the database, visit www.namus.gov.

Human Trafficking Statistics Released

Most suspected incidents of human trafficking investigated between January 2008 and June 2010 involved allegations of adult prostitution (48 percent) or the prostitution or sexual exploitation of a child (40 percent), according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010.

Federally funded task forces, led primarily by local law enforcement agencies, investigated 2,515 incidents of suspected human trafficking between January 2008 and June 2010. Although most incidents involved allegations of sex trafficking, 350 incidents involved allegations of labor trafficking in unregulated industries (e.g., drug sales, forced begging, or roadside sales) or more commercial industries (e.g., hair salons, hotels, and bars).

According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person to perform labor or a commercial sex act through force, fraud, or coercion. Any commercial sex act performed by a person under age 18 is human trafficking, regardless of whether force, fraud, or coercion is involved.

Among the confirmed incidents of human trafficking, sex trafficking victims were overwhelmingly female (94 percent), compared to confirmed labor trafficking victims (68 percent female). Four-fifths of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases were U.S. citizens (83 percent), while most confirmed labor trafficking victims were undocumented aliens (67 percent) or qualified aliens (28 percent).

Data in this BJS report are from the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS), which captures performance measures from law enforcement agencies in federally funded human trafficking task forces. Additional information is available online.

Jail Population Continues To Decline

BJS announced that the U.S. local jail inmate population has declined for the second consecutive year. The number of inmates dropped from 767,434 to 748,728 in the 12 months ending June 30, 2010, a decline of 2.4 percent. This follows a 2.3 percent decline in 2009 and is the second time the jail population has declined since BJS began the Annual Survey of Jails in 1982.

Local jails, unlike prisons, are confinement facilities mainly operated by a local law enforcement agency. Jails typically hold inmates while they await court action or serve a sentence of one year or less. The decline in jail inmates was mostly concentrated in large jail jurisdictions, or those holding 1,000 or more inmates. Among the 170 jail jurisdictions with 1,000 or more inmates on an average day, two-thirds reported a decline.

In 2010, about 61 percent of jail inmates were unconvicted and being held pending arraignment or were awaiting trial or conviction. The remaining 39 percent were awaiting sentencing, were serving a sentence in jail, or were awaiting transfer to serve time in state or federal prison.

Jail authorities were also responsible for supervising more than 60,600 offenders outside of the jail facilities, including 12,300 under electronic monitoring, 9,900 in weekend programs, 14,600 in community service programs, and 9,400 in other pretrial release programs.

The complete report is available online.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Financial Management Training Seminars

OJP’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) offers 2-day financial management training seminars throughout the country for individuals responsible for the financial administration of discretionary or formula grants.

Registration is currently open for several seminars in 2011. The full list of 2011 trainings is available online.

Advanced Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Training

On July 19–22, 2011, the National Institute of Crime Prevention will host a training on domestic violence and sexual assault in Las Vegas, Nevada. Topics will include women who kill their abusers, stalking, effects on children, rape prosecution, and various other areas of interest. Additional information is available online.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Annual Conference

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges will hold its annual conference in New York, New York, on July 24–27, 2011. The conference will focus on a wide range of juvenile and family law topics, including child abuse and neglect, trauma, custody and visitation, high conflict divorce, juvenile justice, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Visit the Web site for a conference brochure.

National Forum on Criminal Justice and Public Safety

On July 31–August 2, 2011, the National Criminal Justice Association, BJA, and the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute will host the National Forum on Criminal Justice and Public Safety in Jersey City, New Jersey. The theme for the 2011 National Forum is "Vision for the Future of Justice: Better, Smarter, Safer." Complete details and registration information is available online.

Juvenile Justice National Conference

OJJDP will hold its National Conference on October 12–14, 2011, at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference will bring together juvenile justice practitioners and policymakers from across the country to share current trends and promising practices in the juvenile justice field. Registration is available online.

Funding Opportunities

OJP’s Web site includes a complete listing of all open solicitations. Just click on Funding at the top of the site to review all funding opportunities. Don’t forget to check the Web site regularly for updates.

Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or feedback, please contact OJP’s Office of Communications. To register to receive Justice Resource Update in your inbox, please visit www.ncjrs.gov.

Justice Resource Update helps criminal justice practitioners stay informed and better serve their constituents by providing valuable information about federal resources, advancements in the field, and training opportunities. We strive to provide information you can use, and we welcome your input.

E-mail: AskOJP
Web site: www.ojp.gov
Phone: 202-307-0703