December 2013 National Briefs

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. In issuing his proclamation, President Obama urges every American to “drive sober, buckle-up, and avoid distractions while driving. If we take these actions and encourage those around us to do the same, we will save thousands of lives and keep thousands of families whole.” Read the proclamation.

American Probation and Parole Association (APPA)

APPA presents several prestigious awards that recognizes distinguished professional achievements and to share best practice ideas with peers. Award nominations are being accepted for the following awards to be presented at the Winter Training Institute in Houston, TX, January 12-15, 2014:

  • Award for Excellence in Community Crime Prevention
  • Joe Kegans Award for Victim Services in Probation and Parole
  • APPA Community Awareness Through Media Award
  • Sam Houston State University Award

Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)

  • A search is under way for an Executive Director at GHSA. The Executive Director is responsible for administering the operations, programs and policies of the organization; stewardship and growth of its financial resources; providing support to the Executive Board; fostering effective relationships with the state and territorial highway safety offices and related organizations; representing the organization to the public and media; and overseeing efforts and initiatives to influence legislation and policy on issues of importance to the industry. Full position profile.

The Justice Department

  • Attorney General Eric Holder outlined new Justice Department initiatives aimed at reducing the U.S. Prison population. The attorney general said he’s “mandated” that certain low-level offenders “who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels” will not be charged with offenses that impose stiff mandatory minimum sentences. Rather, he said, they will be charged with offenses that carry sentences “better suited to their individual conduct.” Read More

Justice for Vets

Justice for Vets held it’s inaugural conference December 2-5, 2013 in Washington, D.C. and attracted over 1,000 attendees from across the nation. With over 75 sessions, including more than 150 hours of education, Vet Court Con offered critical training to judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, volunteer Veteran Mentors, volunteer Veteran Mentor Coordinators, law enforcement officers, mental health and drug addiction treatment professionals, VA employees, and many others.

Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

  • According to a new survey, 2013 Survey of Currently-Installed Interlocks in the U.S., conducted by Impact DWI, Inc., there are nearly 305,000 ignition interlock devices currently installed in the United States. This demonstrates that usage of interlocks has increased at a rate of 30,000 units installed per year over the past eight years, while the number of drunk driving fatalities has been decreasing during the same time period. Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says the findings of this survey validate the success of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which was launched in 2006. Read More.

National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP)

  • NADCP CEO West Huddleston made an appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live back in July 2013. The show devoted nearly ten minutes to talking about Drug Courts in front of a worldwide audience of millions tuning in from over 200 countries. As guest host, All Rise Ambassador Matthew Perry chose to devote part of the show to Drug Courts, saying “there is a tremendous amount of hope and people can change. I want that message out there.” Huddleston explained to the audience what Drug Courts are, how they work, and why they are successful. “75% of our graduates never see another pair of handcuffs…but that doesn’t tell the entire story. We cut crime in half compared to jail or prisons…and that saves tax payers a ton of money,” he said. Check out the video segment.

  • NADCP also held its 19th Annual Training Conference July 14 – 17, 2013 in Washington, DC at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Over 4,000 drug court professionals attended and were treated to over 175 hours of education and world-class entertainment. Check out video highlights on NADCP’s website.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

  • In July of this year, NHTSA released Ignition Interlock Institutes: Promoting the Use of Interlocks and Improvements to Interlock Programs. The institutes were designed to bring teams of people from different States representing various organizations and agencies who are involved with some component of their States’ ignition interlock program system. The purpose of the institutes was to promote increased use of ignition interlocks in each participating State and to identify improvements to strengthen its interlock programs.
  • NHTSA also released the 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data indicating that highway deaths increased to 33,561 in 2012, which is 1,082 more fatalities than in 2011. The majority of the increase in deaths, 72 percent, occurred in the first quarter of the year. Most of those involved were motorcyclists and pedestrians. While the newly released data announced today marks the first increase since 2005, highway deaths over the past five years continue to remain at historic lows. Fatalities in 2011 were at the lowest level since 1949 and even with this slight increase in 2012, we are still at the same level of fatalities as 1950. Early estimates on crash fatalities for the first half of 2013 indicate a decrease in deaths compared to the same timeframe in 2012. Read More.

National Judicial College

  • Judge William Dressel, an NPAMC Board Member, retired from his position as President of the National Judicial College. Judge Dressel, a longtime proponent of smart sentencing, was one of the first judges in the country to recognize the value of deterrence based sentencing and led and/or participated in numerous reform efforts. NPAMC thanks Judge Dressel for his decades of public service.

The Century Council

  • The Century Council hosted a briefing in September to share the progress on the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) project. Researched and designed by Dr. Howard Shaffer and Dr. Sarah Nelson of the Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, the CARS tool will make it possible for DUI offenders to be effectively screened for alcohol and drugs as well as underlying psychiatric disorders, allowing for targeted interventions to address comorbid mental health issues. Read more. Watch video of the briefing.

Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)

  • The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) released a new report on female drunk drivers, entitled Female Drunk Drivers: A qualitative study – History and Experiences in the System. The report summarizes the different profiles of female drunk drivers that emerged from a 2012 study that involved multiple cases drawn from four states (California, Michigan, Missouri and New York). It also contains recommendations to improve the delivery of services to this population in the criminal justice and treatment systems.