|About the JPO|
Court Security and Disaster Preparedness Project(2003-2006)
In January 2004, the Justice Programs Office (JPO) of the School of Public Affairs at American University initiated the "Court Security and Disaster Preparedness Technical Assistance Project, with funding provided by the State Justice Institute. During the course of the project, American University staff and AU/JPO Senior Fellow, Lawrence Siegel, was in contact with state court administrative offices in every state, and conducted technical assistance visits to 20+ state trial courts located in smaller populated areas in eight states. The goal of the Project has been to assist trial courts - particularly those in rural areas - in developing court security and emergency preparedness plans and response capabilities, both for the immediate emergency period and its longer term aftermath. The project was designed to complement SJI's Urban Court Emergency Preparedness Project conducted by the Justice Management Institute (JMI), which focused on developing court emergency preparedness plans for courts in metropolitan areas.
During the course of the project, a number of planning tools were created to assist courts in assessing their current court emergency response capabilities, identifying deficiencies and planning for improvements. The final product of the project has now been completed, Planning for Emergencies: Immediate Events and Their Aftermath-A Guideline for Local Courts, which is intended to serve as a user-friendly "how to" guide for trial courts-particularly those in rural areas-that are beginning the process of developing emergency preparedness and response plans.
The Guideline evolved from observations gleaned during the technical assistance visits conducted as well as review of a wide range of court emergency planning materials developed by state court administrative offices and local courts and other emergency preparedness resources compiled by project staff.
During the course of the technical assistance visits, attention was given to addressing issues relating to the special circumstances that rural courts are likely to encounter in the face of an emergency:
While the Guideline is designed primarily to assist rural trial courts in developing and implementing emergency preparedness and response plans, it also provides step-by-step information that can be used by all courts that are interested in developing or reviewing plans. Topics include:
The Guideline is also appended with planning materials including: a needs-assessment/planning tool, a series of hypothetical scenarios to stimulate interagency discussions, and an annotated bibliography of planning resources.
Given the devastation wrought by the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and, more recently, by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, the need for broad-scale, coordinated emergency planning has never been greater. With its comprehensive approach and concise format, Planning for Emergencies: Immediate Events and Their Aftermath-A Guideline for Local Courts should offer a sound starting point for courts to begin their planning efforts.
The Guideline will be posted on the following websites: State Justice Institute (http://www.statejustice.org), American University, (http://spa.american.edu/justice), and JERITT (http://jeritt.msu.edu/).
Project Safe Neighborhoods Assistance Project (2003-2010)
American University, in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and in coordination with other DOJ-sponsored technical assistance and training providers, is available to provide short-term on-site consultant and material support to United States Attorney Offices and state and local law enforcement agencies in carrying out PSN initiatives.
Technical assistance services can be requested by letter or fax to the project's BJA Program Manager, James Chavis (see contact information below) -- better yet, contact either James Chavis or Joe Trotter, the American University project director by telephone prior to sending in a written technical assistance request to discuss the need and timetable and to determine if the prospective request is within the capability of the project to respond to on the timetable and in the manner desired. Possible alternative approaches to the need can also be discussed at that time, including the possibility of a joint approach with other PSN technical assistance providers. If on-site services are indicated, they will be designed and scheduled in collaboration with the requesting official.
National Technical Assistance and Training Project(2005-2010)
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has made a wide range of technical services available, free of charge, to members of the criminal justice community. The services listed below are available to Bureau of Justice Assistance's grantees as well as to any other agency or practitioner in the courts, corrections, law enforcement or crime prevention field. These services are being provided by American University under a cooperative agreement with BJA and include:
The Justice Program Office currently administers the following three projects under the National Technical Assistance and Training Project:
Drug Market Intervention (DMI) Training/Technical Assistance Initiative (2007-2010)
In September 2007, BJA launched a special training initiative to assist jurisdictions interested in implementing the Drug Market Intervention (DMI) Initiative, developed initially by David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a means of responding to the problems of open drug markets that had developed in many communities, along with their associated crime, violence, and disorder. The strategy, entailing a multi-agency team effort by local and federal law enforcement officials, neighborhood leaders, social service providers, and local government officials has drawn considerable interest and generated promising results in terms of enhanced community safety and quality of life. The Justice Programs Office of the School of Public Affairs at American University has been providing technical assistance to jurisdictions participating in the BJA DMI training initiative as well as information on the DMI initiative to other requesting jurisdictions.
The DMI strategy was first implemented in High Point, North Carolina, where the High Point Police Department (HPPD) implemented a strategic, focused, data-driven, problem-solving program aimed at permanently closing down open drug markets. The High Point West End Initiative (HPWEI) produced an average decrease in crime of 41 percent over three years in that neighborhood with no apparent displacement effect.
Implementation of the DMI strategy in High Point entailed an assessment of the local drug market through crime mapping and incident reviews to delineate the nature of the drug market and to map out the individuals involved in drug sales, purchases, and distribution networks. Having determined that a relatively small group of chronic offenders were responsible for the drug market and much of its associated crime and violence, local officials decided that a "lever pulling" strategy based on notions of focused deterrence might be useful, given the information that had been compiled regarding the local drug market program. They then conducted a traditional drug enforcement operation involving undercover buys, building cases against the key players, with warrants executed upon those key individuals believed to be "major players" and involved in violent crime.
Rather than arresting all those eligible, however, the task force invited the lower-level drug market offenders and their significant family members to a community meeting. At the meeting, law enforcement and prosecution officials explained the cases that had been built against the individuals in attendance, told them that they would defer prosecuting these cases in the hope these individuals could succeed in the community, but that they would activate and prosecute the existing cases if the offenders continued dealing. Community members also spoke openly at the meeting regarding their frustration with living in an open drug market environment. The law enforcement officials then made a promise to the offenders: their charges would be held in abeyance as long two conditions were fulfilled: (1) the drug market must end immediately (and not move elsewhere), and (2) the violence associated with the market must end immediately. Violations of these conditions would result in executing the warrants and maximum sentences would be sought for these individuals based on the cases that had already been developed.
This deterrence-based message was also coupled with an attempt to link the offenders to a broad array of services. Social service and related social support resources were presented with opportunities for one-to-one connections with the service providers.
As noted above, the initial reports from High Point, subsequently replicated in other drug markets across the country, have been very encouraging. The drug markets have been closed and remain closed, neighborhood crime and disorder have declined significantly, and community revitalization has occurred.
For further information regarding the DMI initiative and operational materials developed by jurisdictions which have implemented the DMI strategy, please also see https://angel.msu.edu/default.asp
Senior Crisis Management Seminar (2007-2010)
The Senior Crisis Management Seminar (SCMS) is conducted by the Justice Programs Office, School of Public Affairs, American University for senior professionals from foreign governments who have responsibility for crisis management. The seminar is a one week long, intensive program addressing a wide range of issues relating to crisis/emergency management. The seminar provides needs based instruction concerning the development, resourcing, implementation and localized best practices of crisis management. Through instructor and participant interaction and discussion, participating government officials critically analyze their policies, responses, and situational assessment to crisis management.
The seminar is composed of seven modules, a panel discussion and practical exercises.
The topics of the seven modules are:
The SCMS interdisciplinary curriculum was developed by experts - both academics and practitioners - in the field of crisis management who serve as the members of the SCMS Advisory Committee, as well as instructors. The curriculum is continually updated to reflect recent developments in the field of crisis management and recognized best practices. Each seminar is adapted to the specific situation of the participating country representatives to ensure that the sessions are relevant to the issues they may need to address. Through a country-focused approach the SCMS instructors provide the participants with a unique opportunity to develop an increased understanding of developments in the field of crisis management and emergency response and apply them to their national situation through practical tabletop exercises.
First Annual Justice For Youth Summit - October 12, 2012
The Campaign for Youth Justice,in partnership with the Justice Programs Office of the School of Public Affairs' Department of Justice, Law,and Society at American University.Every year in the United States, an estimated 250,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated in the aEvery year in the United States, an estimated 250,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system despite overwhelming public disapproval. In 23 states, children as young as 7 can be prosecuted and tried in adult court.
The First Annual Justice for Youth Summit on Friday, October 12, is bringing together policy makers, advocates, experts, families, youth, and students to learn about the challenges facing incarcerated youth and how, together, we can create better outcomes for troubled youth. The Justice for Youth Summit will be an educational and action oriented experience to get the millennial generation involved in the youth justice movement, appreciate advocates, and sign the pledge to cut youth incarceration by 2015.
Joseph Trotter / Caroline Cooper
Justice Programs Office
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