Second Chance Hiring

CSOSA has been working with the DC Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management to change the narrative around hiring people who have been involved in the criminal legal system. Many talented individuals struggle to find gainful employment because of their criminal record.

One out of every three adults in the United States has a criminal record. Employers are reluctant to hire people who have been involved in the criminal legal system, often based on preconceptions that a recent Koch Foundation study found to be untrue. In reality, these individuals are often valuable, dedicated, and dependable hires. Providing a second chance through gainful employment is a triple win – it helps the individual, the employer, and the community.

If you’re an employer interested in Getting Talent Back to Work, CSOSA encourages you to Hire One!

 

CSOSA Launches Hire One Jobs Campaign

CSOSA is launching the “Hire One” campaign to directly connect area employers with a pool of talented justice-involved people who are ready, able, and eager to work.

In our decades of supervising people on probation, parole, and supervised release in the District of Columbia, CSOSA has found that gainful employment is a cornerstone of stability and growth. However, too often, those who have been involved in the justice system find that their past transgressions continue to be obstacles to their progress. Second Chance hiring provides an opportunity to move toward a brighter future. That’s why CSOSA is asking area employers to pledge to “Hire One” of its referrals.

“Hire One,” an expansion of CSOSA’s job placement efforts, aims to pair employers with an untapped and under-utilized pool of talent. Businesses that have hired people under CSOSA supervision report that these employees are among the most dedicated, hardworking, and loyal in their workforce. Employers interested in joining the program can contact Vocational Development Coordinator Tony Lewis at tony.lewis@csosa.gov.

In coming weeks, CSOSA will unveil a series of videos that answer the question “Why Hire One?” Stay tuned to hear answers directly from businesses that have already partnered with us.

See Related: Hire One Featured Story

Fellowship Opportunities at CSOSA

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) is accepting applications for a fellowship program to provide new opportunities to people who have successfully completed a period of probation, parole, or supervised release. This program, similar to “Credible Messenger” efforts around the country, calls for the selected candidates to use their own life experiences to work with CSOSA’s supervision and treatment staff to assist offenders in a variety of ways, including goal-setting, social and emotional support, and decision-making. The program is part of a broader “Hire One” jobs initiative the agency launched in 2020 to better engage area employers.

We have extended the deadline and are now accepting applications through January 22, 2021 for five temporary positions (GS-3 or GS-4). The new hires will be with CSOSA for up to six months, with the possibility of one six-month extension. These paid positions are expected to help those selected for the program move forward with their own careers, while helping others. The object is more than just employment. CSOSA also hopes to provide these temporary employees with the opportunity to enhance their skills and obtain vocational certifications that private employers may need.

Through the First Step Act and other initiatives, the President has endeavored to make the transition from the justice system back into society smoother. This fellowship program, designed with support from the Office of Personnel Management, is consistent with that policy direction.

The job application can be accessed on USA Jobs at https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/586643400.

Also see:  Fellowship Opportunities

Hire One

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) has launched “Hire One,” a new campaign to directly connect area employers with a pool of talented people who are ready, able and eager to work: justice-involved men and women who hope to get a second chance.

The “Hire One” initiative aims to team employers with an untapped and under-utilized talent pool. CSOSA supervises thousands of people on probation, parole or supervised release in the District of Columbia. Gainful employment is the cornerstone of stability and growth. Too often those that have been justice-involved are marred by their past transgressions. The path towards redemption and restoration starts with an opportunity.

Businesses that have hired CSOSA referrals have praised the commitment and loyalty these new employees bring to the workplace. Now, in an expansion of its longstanding job placement efforts, CSOSA is asking area employers to commit to hiring one of the Agency’s referrals, confident that they’ll be asking for even more new candidates once they do.

“Our Agency has the talent pool, training resources and partnerships to provide employers with the right match,” said CSOSA Director Richard Tischner. “We have a proven track record of placing people in all kinds of work, with men and women of all skill levels. We will be partners throughout the ‘Hire One’ process and follow up afterwards to make sure all needs are met. The result is a win-win for everyone, benefiting the employer, the new hire, and the community.”

Director Tischner announced the program on October 1, at the annual conference of the D.C. chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). CSOSA has been working with SHRM and its nationwide “Getting Talent Back to Work” initiative. At the conference, CSOSA premiered a “Hire One” video as part of a panel discussion featuring some of its many partners.

The outreach to SHRM is part of a broader effort in which Director Tischner and other CSOSA leaders will meet with businesses throughout the D.C. area to recruit them into the program.

SHRM has been a leader in second chance hiring. In his keynote remarks to the conference, SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., thanked the D.C. chapter’s HR professionals for the work they’ve already done on this issue, adding that it the cause is “near and dear to my heart.”

“We need great workers,” Mr. Taylor said, adding that “people make mistakes” and deserve another chance. “We know we can make a difference for our community, these individuals, and their families,” he said.

More information about CSOSA’s Hire One initiative can be found in a brochure, “Hire One: A Call to Action,” as well as in a one-page Hire One Fact Sheet. Questions also can be directed to Vocational Development Coordinator Tony Lewis at 202-369-0775 or tony.lewis@csosa.gov.

Fellowship Opportunities at CSOSA

CSOSA is now accepting applications for a fellowship program to provide new opportunities to people who have successfully completed a period of probation, parole, or supervised release. This program, similar to “Credible Messenger” efforts around the country, calls for the selected candidates to use their own life experiences to work with CSOSA’s supervision and treatment staff to assist offenders in a variety of ways, including goal-setting, social and emotional support, and decision-making. The program is part of a broader jobs initiative being launched by the agency, including a “Hire One” campaign that will be aimed at recruiting area employers.

A total of five temporary positions (GS-3 or GS-4) were created, and applications are being accepted through August 23, 2020. The new hires will be with CSOSA for up to six months, with the possibility of one six-month extension. These paid positions are expected to help those selected for the program move forward with their own careers, while helping others. The object is more than just employment. CSOSA also hopes to provide these temporary employees with the opportunity to enhance their skills and obtain vocational certifications that private employers may need.

Through the First Step Act and other initiatives, the President has endeavored to make the transition from the justice system back into society smoother. The fellowship program, designed with support from the Office of Personnel Management, is consistent with that policy direction.

The job application can be accessed on USA Jobs at https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/575115700.

Also see:  Fellowship Opportunities

CSOSA'S Community Outreach Reaches Hundreds of People Online

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) remains as dedicated as ever to community outreach throughout the pandemic, using its virtual Community Justice Advisory Network (CJAN) meetings to reach hundreds of District residents.

Since April, the Agency’s Intergovernmental and Community Affairs Specialists (ICAS) have held nine CJANs in collaboration with community partners including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the D.C. Office of Human Rights, the D.C. Department of Employment Services and other D.C. government agencies.

The ICAS staff, part of the Office of Legislative, Intergovernmental and Public Affairs, proved that navigating the coronavirus pandemic through virtual CJANs can provide the community with resources while keeping people connected.

“CSOSA was proud to continue our CJAN meetings virtually during this unprecedented time in our city, using Zoom and Facebook Live,” said Supervisory ICAS Trina Stewart. “The virtual CJANs not only provided an outlet for us to stay connected with people in the community but to also gain new community partners along the way, while engaging current partners including the U.S. Census Bureau, D.C. Board of Elections and the Metropolitan Police Department.”

ICAS Christine Barron and ICAS LaToshia Butler initiated the virtual CJANs by launching a series focusing on empowering women involved in the criminal justice system, providing information about entrepreneurship, domestic violence, sexual assault, and citizenship rights. Other CJAN topics included the importance of mental health during the pandemic, navigating employment challenges, and bias crime awareness. A variety of guest speakers provided valuable insights at the sessions. The program on mental health, for example, included appearances by experts with the Psychiatric Institute of Washington and MBI Health Services, LLC.

“Virtual CJANS can help bring a sense of community to populations that are easily overlooked,” said ICAS Butler. “Because the Agency quickly responded by providing the necessary technology, we were able to meet the needs of our partners and the community.”

The virtual CJANs allowed participants to gain valuable information to assist them in navigating the new challenges of reentering society and avoiding recidivism, while maintaining a safe social distance. “Like many organizations, CSOSA unexpectedly began conducting some business virtually,” said Ms. Stewart. “The virtual CJANs exceeded expectations. We plan to continue engaging the community and our partners virtually beyond the pandemic.”

“CSOSA is finding new ways to foster community partnerships with organizations like Prestige Services to provide mental health services for the people we supervise,” said ICAS Barron. “It is our responsibility to practice social distancing and to make sure that we are doing our part to keep the community and staff safe and it is also our responsibility to find creative ways to stay connected with the community we serve.”

PPPS Week 2020

The American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) has declared July 19 to July 25, 2020, as Pretrial, Probation, and Parole Supervision Week (#PPPSWeek)! This annual celebration recognizes the great work done by community corrections professionals on a daily basis. Here, at CSOSA, we again join the APPA and a host of other agencies throughout the country in thanking the community corrections and supervision workforce. Every day, they work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and assist justice-involved individuals in their quest for successful reentry.

We are particularly grateful for our supervision workforce this year as they have readily adapted to changes in supervision as a result of the current health pandemic. “This year, especially, you have demonstrated great ingenuity and resolve in continuing our important work on behalf of the community we serve. You are giving the people we supervise opportunities to stay on the right path, and holding them accountable when they make choices that threaten public safety,” said CSOSA Director Richard Tischner.

On July 20, 2020, the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s Delegate to the House of Representatives, thanked the dedicated public servants who carry out community corrections and supervision services “for their commitment, compassion, and contributions to healthier and safer communities.” Norton noted that CSOSA and our sister agency, the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA), “are dedicated to reducing recidivism and enhancing public safety in the nation’s capital. CSOSA and PSA are recognized as model community supervision entities because of [our] use of evidence-based practices and community partnerships.”

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a proclamation “salut[ing] those who have chosen this socially and civically important career.” Echoing Norton’s reference to the community partnerships forged by CSOSA, Bowser remarked that “community supervision agencies are valuable partners of DC government agencies, non-profits, neighborhood-based groups, and all who strive to make our nation safer and stronger.”

To all of CSOSA’s Community Supervision Officers and to the Pretrial Supervision Officers of our sister agency, PSA, we salute you for your unceasing efforts to positively impact public safety in the District of Columbia. We also thank all of our staff, who make it possible for our supervision officers to effectively enhance public safety for those who visit, work, and live in this city.

Getting a Second Chance Requires a Community Effort

April is nationally recognized as Second Chance Month, a time when the nation recognizes the obstacles that formerly incarcerated people face when returning to the community. Second Chance Month also is an opportunity to recognize how CSOSA’s staff works tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that the Agency serves as a model community supervision agency that enhances public safety, reduces recidivism and supports the fair administration of justice through adhering to its guiding principles, “Community, Accountability, and Justice.” This work can only be done with the support of the community and our partners.

Even for those who have never been involved with the criminal justice system, family can serve as a significant source of support. This is especially true for those under supervision. Some of CSOSA’s most important partners are the family members of those under our supervision.

Returning citizens, as well as CSOSA’s Community Supervision Officers, view their families as members of the community of support needed to ensure that they successfully complete supervision and make the most of their second chances.

“Family support is very important. There are a lot of barriers that returning citizens face when they come home,” says Community Supervision Officer (CSO), Lorraine Smith. “Transportation, housing and financial support are the types of support that family members provide to returning citizens.”

In the case of Ms. Kyonna F. Brown, who served four years in a maximum security prison, being able to maintain connections and support from her family and secure a strong support network was the difference between freedom and re-incarceration.

“I had written down my goals and had a plan, and even with being the resilient person that I am, I still I would not have the success that I have had without the support of my family,” says Brown. “Having support for housing, transportation, finances and mental health was essential to my becoming the person that I am today.”

Family members also provide structure and accountability that some under supervision credit as their source of strength and what deters them from returning to criminal behaviors. “Helping to create a prosocial environment where there is open communication and partnerships between the family, the CSO and supervised individual can help them avoid returning to old behaviors that may have led to incarceration,” says CSO Smith. “The more support a returning citizen has, the better chances they have of success and that support is primarily from the family.”

The willingness of families to partner with CSOSA and be a part of the community supporting their loved one helps provide accountability and ensure that the terms of their release are being met, ultimately leading to successful completion of supervision. “My life stopped when I was arrested at 21,” says Ms. Brown. “When I was released from prison, I wanted to pick up where I left off, but having that extra push and encouragement from family can make you turn away from committing a crime. I found that having support from family was much stronger than the support from those who might be just getting to know me.”

After overcoming incarceration and successfully completing supervision, Ms. Brown is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker and life coach, helping women become emotionally and mentally stronger. “I had to surround myself with people who were doing what I wanted to do and remind myself of where I had come from and where I did not want to go back to,” she says. “It’s okay to move on, it’s okay to thrive and grow.”

New Supervision Data

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) relies on data in order to provide evidence-informed and evidence-based supervision to justice-involved individuals in the community. These data are integral to measuring our progress towards our strategic goals. Specifically, working to reduce recidivism by targeting criminogenic risk and needs using innovative and evidence-based strategies; integrating offenders into the community by connecting them with resources and interventions; strengthening and promoting accountability by ensuring offender compliance and cultivating a culture of continuous measurement and improvement; and supporting the fair administration of justice by providing timely and accurate information to criminal justice decision makers.

Take a closer look at our factsheets (recently updated with fiscal year 2019 data) to learn more about the agency, the demographics of our supervised population, the criminogenic and stabilization needs of those we supervise, and the various types of community supervision.

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