Policies and resolutions.
Public Correctional Policy on Offenders With Special Needs
Introduction: The provision of humane and gender-responsive programs and services for the accused and adjudicated requires addressing the special needs of juvenile, youthful and adult offenders. To meet this goal, correctional agencies should develop and adopt procedures for the early identification of offenders with special needs. Agencies should provide the services that respond to these needs and monitor and evaluate the delivery of services in both confined and community settings.
Policy Statement: Correctional systems must assure provision of specialized services, programs and conditions of confinement to meet the special needs of offenders. To achieve this, correctional systems should:
A. Identify the juvenile, youthful and adult offenders who will require special care or programs including:
* Offenders with psychological needs, developmental disabilities, psychiatric disorders, behavioral disorders, disabling conditions, neurological impairments and substance abuse disorders;
* Offenders who have acute or chronic medical conditions, are physically disabled or terminally ill;
* Older offenders;
* Offenders with social and/or educational deficiencies, learning disabilities, or language barriers;
* Offenders with special security or supervision needs;
* Sex offenders;
* Adolescents; and
* Female offenders.
B. Provide services and programs in a manner consistent with professional standards and nationally-accepted exemplary practices. Such services and programs may be provided within the correctional agency itself, by referral to another agency that has the necessary specialized resources, or by contracting with private or volunteer agencies or individuals that meet professional standards;
C. Provide appropriately trained, licensed and/or certified staff, contractors and volunteers for the delivery of care, programs, and services, and provide incentives to attend the continuing education and training necessary to maintain staff credentials and state-of-the-art knowledge and mastery-level skills;
D. Maintain professionally appropriate records of all delivered services and programs;
E. Conduct evaluations of service delivery fidelity to program standards while also evaluating the effectiveness of the services with regular feedback to administrators and service providers for continuous quality improvement; and
F. Provide leadership and advocacy for legislative and public support to obtain the resources needed to meet these special needs.
Public Correctional Policy on Probation
Introduction: The vast majority of adjudicated adult and juvenile offenders remain in the community on probation. The decision to place an individual on probation is a judicial decision that assigns the responsibility for supervision and control of these offenders to community corrections agencies.
Policy Statement: Probation is a frequently used and cost-effective sanction of the court for enhancing social order and public safety. Probation may be used as a sanction by itself or be combined with other sanctions such as fines, restitution, restorative community service, electronic monitoring, and residential care or confinement. Agencies responsible for probation should:
A. Prepare disposition assessments to assist the court in arriving at appropriate sanctions consistent with the severity of the crime, the offender's criminal history, victim impact and other relevant information. The least restrictive disposition consistent with public safety, victim and community restoration and probationer rehabilitation should be recommended;
B. Establish a case management system for allocating supervisory resources through a standardized workload classification process that utilizes validated assessment tools and assigns priority to high-risk offenders;
C. Develop an individualized case plan based on an offender's risk and needs and that fulfills the orders of the court;
D. Monitor and evaluate, on an ongoing basis, adherence to the plan of supervision and, when necessary, modify the plan according to the changing needs of the probationer and the best interests of the community;
E. Monitor and evaluate, on an ongoing basis, the probation staff's adherence to and success with the case plan for the purpose of quality improvement;
F. Provide access to a continuum of services to meet individual identifiable needs, all of which are directed toward promoting law-abiding behavior;
G. Ensure any intervention in a probationer's life will not exceed the minimal level needed to ensure compliance with the orders of the court;
H. Initiate court proceedings when the probationer fails to comply with court orders, the supervision plan or other requirements so that the court may consider other alternatives for the protection, restoration and well-being of the community and the effective rehabilitation of the probationer;
I. Collaborate with justice and service agencies to provide a seamless and consistent correctional response;
J. Partner with the community in providing support and services;
K. Oppose use of the probation sanction for status offenders, neglected or abused children, or any other individuals who are neither accused nor charged with delinquent or criminal behavior;
L. Establish an educational program for sharing information about probation with the public and other agencies; and
M. Evaluate and report on program efficiency, outcomes, effectiveness and overall system accountability consistent with recognized correctional standards.
Public Correctional Policy on Reentry of Offenders
Introduction: Successful reentry of offenders in the community is in the best interest of society. Reentry programs enhance public safety, help prepare offenders for transition to responsible citizenship, can help reduce future criminal behavior, remove the barriers that make it difficult for offenders to reenter their communities, and develop necessary community support.
Policy Statement: The American Correctional Association fully supports evidence-based practices and reentry programs, and encourages the elimination of any local, state and federal laws and policies that place barriers on the offender's successful reentry. Therefore, public and private agencies at the federal, state and local levels should:
A. Advocate for the review and revision of existing laws and regulations that inhibit the successful reentry of offenders;
B. Initiate individualized transitional planning during intake to the facility;
C. Provide recidivism-risk and reentry-needs assessments and associated services and programs during incarceration;
D. Provide an expedited process to obtain appropriate legal identification prior to or upon release;
E. Assist the offender in accessing appropriate housing upon release;
F. Provide sufficient staff trained to supervise and motivate offenders released to the community;
G. Encourage institution and community supervision staff to integrate work efforts to assure a comprehensive continuum of supervision and services;
H. Develop community partnerships and support networks for providing a seamless and timely connection between pre-and post-release programs and services;
I. Provide information and assistance to address health care needs following release such as obtaining Medicaid, medical and substance abuse treatment, and other health and psychological services. Provide a sufficient supply of prescription medication upon release;
J. Provide information and assistance to offenders to gain employment upon release, such as pre-employment readiness training, job identification and retention skills training, and job placement services; and
K. Provide services to facilitate successful family and community reunification.
Public Correctional Policy on Victims of Crime
Introduction: Victims of crime suffer financial, emotional and/or physical trauma. The criminal justice and juvenile justice systems are dedicated to the principle of fair and equal justice for all people. Victims' rights should be pursued within the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems to ensure their needs are addressed.
Policy Statement: Victims have the right to be treated with respect and compassion, to be informed about and involved in the criminal and juvenile justice process as it affects their lives, to be protected from harm and intimidation, and to be provided necessary financial and support services that attempt to restore a sense of justice to them. Although many components of the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems share in the responsibility of providing services to victims of crime, the corrections community has an important role in this process and should:
A. Support activities that advocate for the rights of the victims;
B. Promote local, state and federal legislation that emphasizes victims' rights and the development and enhancement of victim services;
C. Support efforts by federal, state and local units of government to increase funding and improved use of existing resources to support victim services and programs;
D. Advocate for programs in which offenders provide restitution to victims, compensation and service to the community, and whenever possible, hold offenders financially responsible for their crimes;
E. Promote active participation of victims in the criminal justice and juvenile justice processes, including the opportunity to attend and be heard and/or to participate in juvenile and adult institutional release and/or parole release hearings; provide separate waiting areas for victims and their families where offenders and victims may be present at the same hearing;
F. Provide advance notification of institutional release when safe and consistent with applicable law or expeditious notification of an escape to victims;
G. Educate, with sensitivity to culture, language and disability needs, victims and victim service providers about correctional practices and involve correctional personnel in victim advocacy activities;
H. Promote the use of community resources and volunteers to serve the needs of victims;
I. Educate justice officials regarding victims' services, the impact of crime on victims, and promote sensitivity to victims' rights; and
J. Operate victims' assistance programs that appropriately fall within the responsibility of the field of corrections. Correctional agencies should, at a minimum but not limited to:
* Designate personnel in each agency to respond to questions and concerns of victims and to ensure that appropriate victim notification and assistance procedures are implemented;
* Develop and distribute materials describing the correctional system and specific victims' rights within that system;
* Support and facilitate the use of victim impact statements in sentencing, post-conviction reviews and programming processes; and
* Provide appropriate victims' services to staff who are assaulted, held hostage or otherwise victimized.
Resolution on the Mentally Ill Offenders Treatment and Crime Reduction Act
WHEREAS, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that more than 16 percent of adults incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons have a mental illness; and
WHEREAS, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that more than 20 percent of youths in the juvenile justice system have serious mental health problems and many more have co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders; and
WHEREAS, the majority of these individuals have illnesses or disorders that are responsive to treatment in the community; and
WHEREAS, the Mentally 111 Offenders Treatment and Crime Reduction Act was made public law on Oct. 30, 2004, by Congress to provide local communities with the resources they need to develop innovative solutions to avoid the criminalization of those with mental illness; and
WHEREAS, the law creates planning and implementation grants for communities to offer treatment and other services--including housing, education and job placement--to mentally ill offenders; and
WHEREAS, grants under the law allow for the establishment and expansion of community-based treatment programs, in adult and juvenile detention and corrections facilities, jail treatment programs and transitional services; and
WHEREAS, grants under the law can be utilized to enhance training for criminal justice personnel and mental health system personnel who must understand how to respond appropriately to this population;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Correctional Association supports full funding of the provisions of the Mentally Ill Offenders Treatment and Crime Reduction Act.
Editor's Note: The following new resolution was adopted by the Delegate Assembly.
Resolution on the Reinstatement of a System of Parole For Federal Prisoners
WHEREAS, a substantial number of federal inmates are nonviolent drug offenders with long sentences and the majority of this segment of the inmate population is being incarcerated for the first time; and
WHEREAS, some federal inmates are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for nonviolent offenses; and
WHEREAS, parole has been eliminated in the federal system; and
WHEREAS, offenders can be rehabilitated and should be given a second chance to lead productive lives; and
WHEREAS, prison crowding is a danger to both inmates and staff; and
WHEREAS, the cost to house inmates increases substantially with age; and
WHEREAS, a federal agency with inmate release jurisdiction exists to protect public safety;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Correctional Association urges Congress to reinstate and fully fund a system of parole for federal prisoners.