Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Professionally Speaking

A quick tour of correctional association and sentencing commission sites reminds us of some important items from the last couple of months before we started the website. For example, at the American Correctional Association site, the president of the ACA, Gwendolyn C. Chunn, has a column, "Re-Entry Is Public Safety," that gives a compact but convincing overview of the importance of focusing on offender re-entry and describes The Second Chance Act of 2004, a bi-partisan bill (H.R. 4676) providing federal funding for state and community re-entry efforts. Anyone interested in the topic would do well to include this column in your reading. . . . Over at the UT Sentencing Commission site, an experiment in blogging has been going on for a few months. I talked to Mike Haddon, the state's general purpose utility player in all matters criminal justice, about the purpose of the blog, and he said that they were interested in the potential of using blogs for discussing public issues. The first case here was Jessica's Law in UT. They did get some responses, but, if we want them to continue the experiment, we should probably give them a lot more love and a lot more hits and, especially, comments (which actually sorta applies to other recent blogs I could mention). . . . And, from NJ, Ben Barlyn, deputy AG, sentencing commission director, and basic good guy, reminds us of the recent NIDA report on drug treatment efforts:

"Given that drug treatment and diversion were topics heavily discussed as the NASC conference, I thought this report just issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse might be of interest to your readers.

This evidence-based report shows that effective treatment of drug abuse and addiction can save communities money and reduce crime. 'Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations' outlines some of the proven components of successful treatment of drug abusers who have entered the criminal justice system, leading to lower rates of drug abuse and criminal activity, based on a review of the scientific literature on drug abuse treatment and criminal behavior. The publication includes answers to frequently asked questions about addiction as a chronic disease, co-occurring mental, emotional and environmental conditions that make relapse likely upon return to society, recommendations for the components of adequate treatment programs, cost-effectiveness of treatment, and the role of medication in treating offenders with substance abuse."

Not only is Ben right, but I've added the link to our Articles and Commentaries section on the right side. Thanks for the help, Ben. And to all of you who may also run across articles and reports that you would like to share, just let us know or post them in the comments sections. This blog won't be a success until we have that kind of interaction going. . . . Finally, on the heels of our post yesterday on journals that might interest you, Stan Orchowsky at the Justice Research and Statistics Association has sent us notice of the latest Prison Journal, September 2006, with lots of good articles for your perusal. He especially noted the evaluation of the VOITIS grants, but you’ll also find critiques of New Generation Jail Philosophy, implications of co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse in the crim justice system, reassessing sex differences in aggression levels among correctional officers, evidence of support for offender self-esteem theory, and evaluation of a “summons in lieu of arrest” policy. IOW, useful stuff. As Dean Martin used to say, keep those cards and letters coming in. (Did I just really age myself?)

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