CSOSA Leads Trip to Two Prisons in Outreach Effort For Men About to Be Released

Other Agencies and Providers Joined Trip and Related Event

More than 100 men who soon will be released from prison met one-on-one this month with staff from the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) and other community partners during visits that took place at two correctional facilities.

Associate Director Cedric Hendricks led a contingent from CSOSA on a two-day trip to visit men who soon will be returning home after serving sentences in federal prison facilities in Virginia and North Carolina. The trip was part of a variety of outreach efforts that take place throughout the year that make connections with men and women about to be released.

In addition to Associate Director Hendricks, 19 other CSOSA staff members made the visits on Dec. 3rd and Dec. 4th to FCI Petersburg, in Hopewell, VA, and the Rivers Correctional Facility in Winton, NC. They were joined by representatives of the District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health, the District of Columbia Board of Elections, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and Voices for a Second Chance, a non-profit that works with justice-involved individuals.

As Associate Director Hendricks explained it to the group at Petersburg on Dec. 3rd, “This is all about your future and you being successful. It’s all about getting the help you need to be successful.”

CSOSA has been making annual visits to Petersburg and Rivers for years because the populations at those facilities include large numbers of District of Columbia inmates. The visits are in addition to trips that staff members regularly make to facilities housing men and women nearing release. The in-person visits are part of efforts that also include quarterly information-sharing videoconferences with inmates at numerous facilities throughout the country.

Men at both prisons were eager to meet with the visitors, seeking information in the one-on-one discussions about housing, jobs, and other services and making connections that they hope to continue once they are back in the community. Many were preparing to move to the Hope Village halfway house, and others were nearing release directly back into the District of Columbia, including one man who had just two days remaining.

The men were anxious to return but also worried about their futures and repairing relationships with their families and the community at large.

The group from CSOSA – including Community Supervision Officers, case managers, and others – explained the mechanics of supervision and the ways CSOSA can help. Nearly every participant at Petersburg and Rivers personally met with Vocational Development Coordinator Tony Lewis, a reflection of the importance of employment in re-entry.

While members of the CSOSA team were visiting River’s Correctional Institution, an interactive videoconference was conducted from the agency’s headquarters in the District of Columbia. Employment and training partners who are dedicated to contributing to the success of returning residents, as well as reducing recidivism, participated in a productive exchange with the individuals who will soon be coming home to our community.

A particular highlight was the participation of a former Rivers resident, who spoke of the success he has experienced, as he is now employed in the construction trade by Miller and Long after going through training with the Building Futures Program of the Community Services Agency of the Metropolitan Washington Council (MWC), AFL-CIO. Other presenters included representatives of the Congress Heights Service Center, the Office of Apprenticeship Information and Training of the D.C. Department of Employment Services and the United Planning Organization (UPO).

The trip was organized by Associate Director Hendricks and Supervisory Intergovernmental and Community Affairs Specialist Trina Stewart. The federal Bureau of Prisons and the GEO Group Inc., which runs the Rivers facility, helped facilitate the visits.

CSOSA expressed thanks to Ms. Anne Dukes, Reentry Affairs Coordinator at FCI Petersburg, and Ms. Sydell Green, Release Preparation Program Coordinator at Rivers, for welcoming the team. The participants who made the trip have already had follow-up discussions about ways to collaborate so that the men coming home transition safely back to the community.

National Night Out

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) joined residents and community leaders from across the District of Columbia to celebrate National Night Out, an annual campaign that takes place in cities across the nation on the first Tuesday of August. The campaign promotes relationship building between local law enforcement and the communities they serve, while highlighting crime prevention, safety awareness and community action.

Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, National Night Out was launched in 1984 with the support of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and volunteers from across the nation. The campaign encourages police and community partnerships, while providing communities with a fun setting to engage police officers and other law enforcement representatives.

National Night Out has become more than a campaign encouraging police and community relationship building. It has become a celebration with neighborhoods from across the nation hosting block parties, cookouts and other community events that open the door for community members to meet and ask questions of the police officers patrolling their neighborhoods while fostering positive interactions between law enforcement and community members.



DATA GOVERNANCE

As part of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency’s (CSOSA’s) compliance with the Evidence Act of 2019 and OMB Memorandum M-19-23, the Agency has named the following persons to the roles listed below:

Chief Data Officer:  David Huffer, Ph.D.

Evaluation Officer:  David Huffer, Ph.D.

 

Success Story | Robert Butler

Type “definition of success” into an Internet search tool and you are bound to get a wide-ranging variety of responses. Regardless of how you define success, many find that the path to achieving it is not a straight line. Persevering in the face of obstacles and setbacks is critical. We acknowledge that while every path to success does not look the same, for justice-involved individuals, close supervision, as needed, and access to resources to address stabilization and criminogenic needs help to smooth the path to successfully completing supervision.

CSOSA’s mission is to effectively supervise adults under our jurisdiction to enhance public safety, reduce recidivism, support the fair administration of justice, and promote accountability, inclusion and success through the implementation of evidence-based practices in close collaboration with our criminal justice partners and the community. In doing this work, we remain steadfast to our guiding principles of community, accountability, justice.

Watch the video to learn about some of the challenges Robert Butler has faced on his journey to successfully reintegrate into the community. Read more about how CSOSA partners with the District of Columbia’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE) on the Pathways Ambassador program in our article on Pathways to Supervision Success.

PPPS Week 2019

We are once again joining the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and a host of other agencies in recognizing members of the community corrections and supervision workforce during this year’s Pretrial, Probation, and Parole Supervision Week (PPPS Week) – July 21 to July 27, 2019.

During this PPPS Week, community corrections professionals are encouraged to consider the theme of APPA’s upcoming Annual Training Institute – Passion, Courage, and Endurance: Transforming Community Corrections. According to APPA Executive Director Veronica Cunningham, this theme “speaks to the noteworthy changes to the adult and juvenile justice systems, not just from an infrastructure, operations, or programmatic perspective, but also with a renewed look at employee engagement, professional development, and health and wellness strategies for community corrections employees.”

On Thursday, July 18, 2019, the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s Delegate to the House of Representatives, acknowledged in the Congressional Record that “[t]he work of [community supervision] professionals ultimately results in stronger and safer communities for all.” Norton went on to note that, beyond providing close supervision and striving to reduce recidivism, community supervision professionals connect those we supervise to supportive services, community-based resources, and programs that help them successfully complete supervision.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a mayoral proclamation in honor of PPPS Week, noting that CSOSA and PSA partner with other agencies to promote successful reentry, reduce recidivism, and prevent crime. DC Councilmember-at-Large Anita Bonds thanked CSOSA and PSA for “closely supervising justice-involved individuals within the District of Columbia with dignity, compassion, and an eye towards reintegration in the community.”

Here at CSOSA, we are grateful for our Community Supervision Officers who work tirelessly to positively impact public safety in the District of Columbia. We recognize the hard work of the Pretrial Supervision Officers of our sister agency, the Pretrial Services Agency. We acknowledge and are grateful to all those who make it possible for our supervision officers to effectively enhance public safety for those who live, work, and play in this city.

CSOSA Director Richard Tischner said, “the employees at CSOSA save lives – we do this by helping individuals make positive choices, holding others and ourselves accountable for actions, building partnerships that transform our community, and working together as a team united by our critical public safety mission. Our jobs may not be easy – we often must deal with difficult people, situations, and circumstances, and much of the change we aim to achieve is incremental, sometimes uncertain, and often without acclaim. I just wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for your dedication and emphasize the tremendous importance and value of your work. I recognize that CSOSA’s greatest resource is you. Thank you for your ideas, expertise, passion, energy, and your continued commitment to enhancing public safety and saving lives.”

More Than 240 Prisoners Attend Community Resource Day

CSOSA joined with government and community partners on June 18th in presenting the latest Community Resource Day event, providing information about key services and programs in a videoconference to more than 240 returning citizens who will soon be released from incarceration.

The all-day program was attended by District of Columbia inmates who were viewing it in 22 prisons, with the biggest group watching from the Rivers Correctional Institution in Winton, N.C. The topics covered included release planning and supervision, family strengthening and support; education; employment readiness, training and placement; health care, housing, faith-based partnerships and Justice Involved Individual community partnerships.

Four times a year, the Office of Legislative, Intergovernmental and Public Affairs (OLIPA) partners with the Rivers Correctional Institution, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), various D.C. government agencies and community-based resource and service providers to help people get ready for re-entry. More than 30 speakers presented on June 18th.

The presenters included representatives of CSOSA, the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA), the University of the District of Columbia, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and a host of other partners. They described the services they provide, offered advice, and answered questions from the attendees. Some of the speakers were returning citizens themselves who have successfully transitioned into the workforce and community.

OLIPA also produces a Community Resource Day package, which is distributed to Rivers and federal corrections institutions that house a significant number of D.C. inmates.  The package includes reference materials for those who want more information or who missed the presentations.

A team of CSOSA employees, organized by OLIPA’s Intergovernmental and Community Affairs Specialist (ICAS) Denise Reed, presented the event at the CSOSA field site located at 2101 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. CSOSA’s Office of Information Technology provided support on the broadcast. CSOSA launched the Community Resource Day program more than 15 years ago. The next videoconference is expected to take place in September 2019.