NIC’s Becoming Trauma Informed: An Essential Element for Justice Settings Now Available for Viewing

Experiencing or exposure to traumatic events during childhood and continuing into adulthood is all too common. Less known is that trauma is a dominant factor in the lives of individuals involved with the criminal justice system; in what occurs while in the system; and in how transitioning and living in the community is impacted.

With this increasing awareness, criminal justice professionals are considering what this means in their correctional settings, how to manage this population, and provide effective services. Often overlooked is the challenge of staff who are also affected by trauma in their personal and work lives, as organizational stress and trauma create additional challenges for the workplace.

In this Community Services Division-sponsored webinar series, NIC’s Maureen Buell facilitates a stimulating discussion featuring Stephanie Covington, PhD, of the Center for Gender and Justice and Nena Messina, PhD of Envisioning Justice Solutions. This dynamic three part webinar series focuses on the following topics:

1) The Association between ACEs and Criminal Justice Involvement;

2) Trauma Informed Treatment and Theory; and

3) Becoming Trauma Informed and Moving to Trauma Responsive.

As demand outpaced the limited number of registrations, the linked content is now streaming and shareable. The linked content includes the downloadable recorded sessions, a list of resources referenced during the presentations, and a Q&A document that memorializes questions brought up in the chat.

By accessing this robust series you will explore the issues, find helpful answers, and learn from subject matter experts. Below are testimonials from webinar participants. We think you will agree!

Thank you for a wonderful informative presentation.

Thank you, great information I can take to my job.

Thank you for this great webinar and resources. Looking forward to next week’s as well.

Here is the link to the webinar:
https://nicic.gov/series/becoming-trauma-informed-essential-element-justice-settings

Register for Promoting Wellness and Resiliency in Correctional Staff Webinar

Do you want to see what some of the latest data and promising practices are revealing about staff wellness for corrections officers and staff? Would you like to learn how to apply a holistic approach to your workplace along the continuum of preventive to reactive responses?

If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, plan to participate in the one-hour-long Promoting Wellness and Resiliency in Correctional Staff Webinar, set for ​1 p.m. February 2.

Correctional staff face significant stress and challenges in maintaining wellness and resiliency in the workplace. There is emerging evidence that effective strategies and programs exist; however, they often occur in a piecemeal or sporadic fashion. This webinar provides academic insight into the current research on officer wellness and references emerging areas of innovative practices.

It includes practitioner expertise on valuable resources and support for correctional officers and staff. We will move from preventive to reactive strategies and build on new approaches to increase resiliency.

Participants will learn what research and practice tell us about the short and long-term effects that working in corrections can have and how to promote staff wellness and manage trauma in response to what they experience.

Learning Objectives : During this one-hour interactive webinar, participants will

1) develop an understanding of the current research on correctional staff wellness and resiliency,

2) learn how to apply a holistic approach to their workplace, and

3) gain knowledge on promising real-world practices that can assist and promote both wellness and resiliency.

Speakers

Dr. Hayden Smith is an Associate Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina. His principal focus of study is the intersection of the criminal justice and public health systems. Core areas include self-injurious and suicidal behaviors in incarcerated populations, physical and mental health needs in correctional settings, jail diversion, reentry initiatives, and correctional staff well-being and safety. Dr. Smith has expertise in program evaluation and policy analysis and has worked with numerous correctional and health systems.

Ms. Karin Ho is the Director for Victim Services with the South Carolina Department of Corrections. She has more than 30 years of victim advocacy experience and over 25 years in corrections. Recognizing how correctional staff were affected by traumatic events, she implemented the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Peer Team and Post Critical Incident Seminars for employees with ongoing trauma-related issues. As part of the CISM Team, Karin is the handler for a specially trained trauma dog who responds to correctional staff throughout the state.

The presenters have engaged in several academic-practitioner partnerships that address correctional officer and staff well-being.

Who Should Attend ?

Any employee of a state, federal or local correctional jurisdiction.

How Do I Register ?

Follow this link to register in NIC’s WebEx Event Center: 
https://nicmeetings.webex.com/nicmeetings/onstage/g.php?MTID=e0f972cfffb0d108afe22ad03ebacadfc

For content and technical information, contact Scott W. Richards, Correctional Program Specialist, NIC Prison’s Division at s1richards@bop.gov

How Do I Participate Effectively In a WebEx Event Center Webinar? How Do I Get Ready ?

  • For the best experience in your next NIC WebEx Event Center webinar, you’ll need a hands-free telephone, headset or earbuds, and an internet-enabled computer.
  • For optimum learning, be in a quiet place, free from distractions/interruptions, sight-and-sound separated from others, where you can concentrate on what is happening during the webinar. A separate office space with a door to close is an ideal setting.
  • Connect to the webinar audio bridge via a hands-free telephone, using earbuds/headset connected to your phone/cell phone, so your hands are free to interact with your keyboard.
  • While tablets and smartphones are also compatible with WebEx Events Center, several of the features are limited, and most devices require the installation of the Cisco WebEx app.
  • Regardless of which device you plan to use, test its compatibility here. The link provides a quick test, and we strongly encourage you to do this before the webinar.
  • If your browser does not pass the test, contact Webex Technical Support at 1-877-669-1782 and tell them you will be attending an NIC webinar on NIC’s Webex site at http://nicmeetings.webex.com . They can help you troubleshoot connectivity issues.
  • NIC strongly recommends consulting with your agency/local IT , as you may encounter pop-up blocking and/or firewall issues that block the NIC Webex webinar url.


Click https://nicic.gov/webinar-vilt-readiness for further information on NIC’s live webinars, including (cost = free!), how to obtain training credit from your agency, and much more.

Marion County Sheriff Shares Consequences of Bearing Costs of State Prisoners

In this file photo a Marion County corrections serves supper to inmates through the pod door chuckholes. Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn said the Missouri Department of Correction owes the county more than $200,000 for housing state prisoners.  Courier-Post file photo.

 

Missouri counties paid approximately $41 million in incarceration costs for state prisoners last year, according to an audit released Wednesday by State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn, was not surprised by the audit results. Shinn said as of Dec. 11 the state owed Marion County $201,615 for housing state prisoners and then transporting them to prison.

“The problem is not getting any better,” Shinn said. “Sheriffs across the state fight this on a yearly basis. This makes it very difficult to budget revenues because we do not know when the state is going to pay or how much.”

The findings were discovered during an audit of the state’s County Reimbursement Program, which is administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. The program is responsible for the reimbursement of county governments for certain costs associated with the housing and transporting of state prisoners.

The audit found that a combination of delayed reimbursements due to a lack of state funding and increasing incarceration costs have delayed the reimbursement of counties.

“Local taxpayers are footing the bill because the state has not been keeping up its end of the deal and the cost of incarcerating state prisoners is increasing,” Galloway said in a media release. “This is an issue throughout Missouri, but is particularly concerning for smaller communities where revenue is especially limited.”

According to Shinn, the Department of Corrections reimburses counties at a rate of $21.58 per day for state inmates.

“That is nowhere close to what it costs to house them here. This rate is set by our state with no negotiation,” he said. “Our estimate is it costs us approximately $45 per day for housing, meals, staff, etc. to house an inmate at this facility.”

According to the audit’s findings the reimbursement rate paid by the state has kept up with inflation over the past 10 years, but it is essentially the same as the rate paid in 1998, despite the fact that incarceration costs have continued to increase. Based on actual costs a more realistic reimbursement fee would be $49 a day, auditors said in the report.

There are some state prisoners for which a county will never see a cent of reimbursement.

“If a subject is charged with a state crime they could sit in the Marion County’s jail for six months because they can’t post bond, then courts put them on probation. We do not get monies from the state for this,” Shinn said. “We only get monies from the state when a subject hits the Department of Corrections.”

According to the audit, as of June 30, 2020, the state owed about $31 million to counties that it did not have the appropriation authority to pay. In fiscal year 2021, the General Assembly approved $52 million for county reimbursements, which includes $9.75 million for unpaid reimbursements. Galloway said that amount would address only about one third of the outstanding claims still owed to counties.

The audit found that the Department of Corrections has not requested sufficient funds to pay the outstanding reimbursement claims and past budget requests haven’t included information about the previous years’ shortfalls. Auditors recommended that the department request the money necessary to pay all obligations and ensure the financial history of the program is included so the legislators have an understanding of how much is owed to county governments.

“I have tried to speak with our (state) representative and senator frequently and express our issues with this budget problem. I have done this for several years now. They both are well aware of this,” Shinn said.

Auditors surveyed counties to better understand the impact of low reimbursement rates and delayed payments. According to these local officials, issues with state reimbursements resulted in not having enough revenue to cover jail costs and, as a result, having to reduce other services or increase local tax rates. Additionally, lack of revenue leads to difficulty in hiring new sheriffs’ employees due to low salaries or lack of equipment.

Shinn said that overall, through 2020, the Marion County Jail has generated over $900,000 in prisoner board bills. This includes fees paid by neighboring counties that ​​house inmates in the Palmyra facility, the state reimbursements and through federal inmate housing reimbursements.

“We are hopeful and optimistic that these relationships continue as we know and understand that this affects the overall budget for Marion County,” the sheriff said.

​By ​Danny Henley​ | Hannibal Courier Post​

Auditor Galloway Says Jail Reimbursement Program Costing Missouri Counties Millions

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway says a jail reimbursement program is costing counties millions.

She released an audit of the County Reimbursement Program on Wednesday. The program reimburses county governments for certain costs for housing and transporting state prisoners. The program is administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. The audit found a combination of delayed reimbursements due to lack of state funding and increasing incarceration costs has resulted in the necessity for counties to rely on local resources.

“Local taxpayers are left footing the bill because the state has not been keeping up its end of the deal and the cost of incarcerating state prisoners is increasing,” Auditor Galloway said. “This is an issue throughout Missouri, but is particularly concerning for smaller communities where revenue is especially limited. Our audit clearly outlines the facts and details the problems with this program so that the legislature can evaluate the information and make changes.”

Under state law, counties can be reimbursed for criminal costs, prisoner transportation and extradition costs for state prisoners. Counties submit claims throughout the year for these expenses and the Department of Corrections processes these payments on a first come, first served basis. However, state appropriations have not been sufficient to cover reimbursement claims.

As of June 30, the state owed about $31 million to counties it did not have the appropriation authority to pay. In fiscal year 2021, the General Assembly approved $52 million for county reimbursements, which includes $9.75 million for unpaid reimbursements. This addresses about a third of the outstanding claims still owed to counties.

The audit reported the Department of Corrections has not requested sufficient funds to pay the outstanding reimbursement claims and past budget requests haven’t included information about the previous years’ shortfalls. The audit recommended that the department request the money necessary to pay all obligations and ensure the financial history of the program is included so that legislators have an understanding of how much is owed to county governments.

Additionally, while the reimbursement rate paid by the state has kept up with inflation over the last 10 years, it is essentially the same as the rate paid in 1998. During this time incarceration costs have continued to increase. The state provides a reimbursement of $22.58 per day, but actual costs average closer to $49 a day. The increasing difference means counties have to subsidize the cost of housing these prisoners. The audit found that counties subsidized an estimated $41 million in incarceration costs for state prisoners during the 2020 fiscal year.

Auditors surveyed counties to better understand the impact of low reimbursement rates and delayed payments. According to these local officials, issues with state reimbursements resulted in not having enough revenue to cover jail costs and, as a result, having to reduce other services or increase local tax rates. Additionally, lack of revenue leads to difficulty in hiring new sheriffs’ employees due to low salaries or lack of equipment.

The audit also found inconsistencies in the law related to reimbursements. Under the law, the state reimbursement rate can go up to $37.50 a day, but is subject to appropriations. However, there are varying interpretations of the statute because this language is not consistent with how reimbursements are set (on a per day basis) and how state funds are appropriated (by year). The audit recommended that the legislature amend the statute to clarify the intent of the law so local officials can better understand what to expect from the state reimbursements.

The complete audit report is available here.

By KY3 staff | KY3.com

The Association between ACEs and Criminal Justice Involvement: Becoming Trauma Informed: An Essential Element for Justice Settings Webinar Series

Becoming Trauma Informed: An Essential Element for Justice Settings Webinar Series

This is a Series of three Webinars: These webinars will be recorded and made available on the NIC website. Each of the webinar events contain valuable information regarding trauma in justice-involved populations, but participation in each event in sequence is not required. Please note that registering for the first event scheduled for October 26, does not include registration for the two subsequent events; November 2 and November 9. A separate email will publicize that event, and a separate registration will be required for each webinar, as content will be different. Participants who are unable to log on for each event, can access the webinar recordings for all of the webinars in the series when posted.

Dates and Times:
The Association between ACEs and Criminal Justice Involvement: October 26, 2020
Trauma-Informed Treatment and Theory: November 2, 2020
Becoming Trauma Informed and Moving to Trauma Responsive: November 9, 2020

Webinar Start Times (All Sessions):

10-11:15 am PT/ 11am-1:15pm MT/ 12-1:15pm CT/ 1-2:15 pm ET

Each session is 75 minutes.

Webinar Summary:
With increased awareness of the effects of stress, adversity, and trauma on people’s lives, criminal justice professionals are considering what this means in their correctional settings. There is growing evidence of the effects of child neglect and abuse (as well as other forms of traumatic stress) on the health, mental health, and behavior of men and women residing in jails and prisons.

While research and clinical experience indicate that there is a high incidence of trauma and co-occurring problems among these groups, corrections professionals struggle to provide them with effective management and services. It is particularly challenging when many institutions have staff who are affected by trauma in their personal and work lives.

Organizational stress and trauma create additional challenges in the environment and culture of the workplace. Moving from trauma informed to trauma responsive to implement trauma-informed care can be challenging.

The webinar speakers have extensive experience in delivering trauma informed education and services to the men and women in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as other state and local agencies nationally. This webinar series guides administrators and correctional staff through the process and will provide updated information and research.

Webinar Objectives:
The primary goals of this three-part webinar series are to:

  • Provide criminal justice, mental health, and substance use treatment professionals with up-to-date information regarding trauma-informed care within the criminal justice system.
  • Provide information on the lifelong effects of trauma, recovery needs, and implementation of trauma-focused treatment interventions (including research findings).
  • Provide an outline for the process of becoming a trauma-informed organization.

Moderators/Speakers

Maureen Buell, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
Stephanie Covington, Ph.D., LCSW, Co-Director, Center for Gender and Justice
Nena Messina, Ph.D., Research Criminologist at UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs and President of Envisioning Justice Solutions, Inc.

Who Should Attend?
A wide audience can benefit from the webinar series including criminal justice officials, treatment program personnel, county and state mental health and social service professionals. The three-part program is also beneficial to existing treatment programs seeking to increase staff skills on gender-responsive and trauma-informed interventions in prisons, jails, and community corrections. Correctional staff may also benefit from the training to increase their understanding of the complex issues surrounding the supervision of incarcerated men and women with histories of trauma and abuse, as well as the potential effect of trauma on themselves.

How Do I Register?
Follow this link to register in NIC’s WebEx Event Center for webinar one 20C7506A:
https://nicmeetings.webex.com/nicmeetings/onstage/g.php?MTID=ef22d9e0edffcf5779f600ad49d8061d3

Stay tuned for future messages from NIC that reminds you of registration opportunities for webinar’s two and three scheduled for November 2 and November 9 respectively.

If you encounter difficulty in accessing the registration link, please work with your local / agency IT to see if local /agency firewall settings / pop-up blockers / security settings are preventing you from accessing NIC’s webinar URL (https://nicmeetings.webex.com) and/or the webinar registration link.

Who Do I Contact for More Information?

Content Contact
Maureen Buell, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
mbuell@bop.gov

Webinar Technical Contact
Leslie LeMaster, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
llemaster@bop.gov

How Do I Participate Effectively In a WebEx Event Center Webinar? How Do I Get Ready?
For the best experience in your next NIC WebEx Event Center webinar, you’ll need a hands-free telephone, headset or earbuds, and an internet-enabled computer. For optimum learning, be in a quiet place, free from distractions/interruptions, sight-and-sound separated from others, where you can concentrate on what is happening during the webinar. A separate office space with a door to close is an ideal setting. Connect to the webinar audio bridge via a hands-free telephone, using earbuds/headset connected to your phone/cell phone, so your hands are free to interact with your keyboard.

While tablets and smartphones are also compatible with WebEx Event Center, several of the features are limited, and most devices require that the Cisco WebEx app is installed. Regardless of which device you plan to use, test its compatibility here. This is a quick test, and we strongly encourage you to do this before the webinar. If your browser does not pass the test, contact WebEx Technical Support at 1-877-669-1782 and tell them you will be attending an NIC webinar on NIC’s WebEx site at http://nicmeetings.webex.com . They can help you troubleshoot connectivity issues.

NIC strongly recommends consulting with your agency/local IT , as you may encounter pop-up blocking and/or firewall issues that block the NIC WebEx webinar URL.

Click https://nicic.gov/webinar-vilt-readiness for further information on NIC’s live webinars, including the answers to many frequently asked questions such as “What is the cost of the webinar?” (Free!), “How do I obtain training credit from your agency?”, “Will the webinar be recorded?” (YES!!), “How do I get my computer system ready to access the webinar?” and much more!

Experts Identify Needs for Addressing Correctional Security Threats

A select working group of 17 correctional officials and security experts from across the country, convened by the National Institute of Justice, ranked 13 security-threat categories in order of perceived importance. More than 90​ percent​ of the experts assigned “high importance” to the problem of insufficient staffing — more than any other threat category. But the experts articulated the largest number of discrete priority needs in the category of contraband — led by needs related to illicit drugs, weapons, and cellphones. Gangs and violence together comprised another top-level problem for institutions, with gangs seen as posing a fundamental security threat by manipulating or otherwise disrupting operations, according to the working group report developed by RAND Corporation.

RAND and University of Denver researchers organized and managed the correctional security workshop, made up of institution administrators, federal agency representatives, and security professionals, as part of NIJ’s Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative. Key goals of the program were to identify priority needs to guide NIJ’s research agenda and to advance the national discourse on correctional security issues.

Modern security challenges in corrections environments reflect larger social trends. Inside the walls, they are manifested in many ways, including —

Overdose deaths and other substance issues from opioids.
Prison or jail gangs.
An influx of contraband cellphones to sustain inmates’ criminal activities.
Drones delivering contraband over prison walls.
Technology access needed to prepare inmates for reentry.
Cyberattack vulnerability of increasingly internet-dependent institutional systems, such as heating, air conditioning, and communications systems.

To identify priority problems, as well as associated needs or specific requirements to address those needs, researchers first asked the workshop participants to brainstorm areas of need, and then to rank 40 identified needs in terms of priority, each time taking into account both a particular need’s importance, standing alone, and the probability of success of meeting that need. (Thus, a very important need would fall into a lower priority tier if a policy solution did not appear feasible.) The needs were then grouped into five separate themes as well as three tiers, with Tier 1 reflecting highest assigned priority, and Tier 3 the lowest priority.

Significant Understaffing Is a Threat to Security

In many states, correctional agencies are experiencing chronic and severe understaffing. Officer vacancy rates in some states top 45%, according to sources cited in the RAND report. Nationwide, annual turnover in prisons and jails averages 20%, with some states hitting 53% annual turnover. Ultimately, the report said, “inadequate staffing impedes an institution’s ability to deter, prevent, and respond to security threats.”

For state correctional agencies, a lack of the resources necessary for maintaining adequate staffing levels is compounded by a lack of national staffing standards needed for agencies to make a compelling case to legislatures for additional resources. The working group thus called for research to develop models pointing to optimal staffing levels.

A point of emphasis for the working group, in the staffing area, is the critical dynamic between correctional supervisors and officers, which informs institutional culture and impacts security. Supervisors are often prevented from performing adequately because they are forced to fill in for absent officers and because they are spread too thin as they supervise officers, undermining their effectiveness. The working group identified a need for better training of supervisors to engage staff, as well as a need for research into the short- and long-term effects of supervisor shortages.

Contraband in Many Forms Is Saturating Correctional Environments

Contraband in the form of drugs, cell phones, and weapons are common in prisons and jails, the working group reported.

New Drugs, More Drugs Imperil Correctional Institutions

The epidemic of drugs behind bars is worsening with the introduction of substances that are more letha​​l and harder to detect. The working group report noted that more than half of state prisoners and two-thirds of sentenced jail inmates meet the criteria for drug dependence. Inmates spend significant time searching for drugs; drugs hinder rehabilitation; overdose deaths are on the rise; and some drugs cause dangerous reactions affecting institutional and staff security. The working group identified synthetic cannabinoids as well as opioids, including fentanyl, as the most problematic drugs currently in prisons and jails. Exposure to fentanyl is of special concern because small amounts can be lethal when inhaled or absorbed. Staff members as well as inmates are at risk of exposure.

The working group called for a number of actions and research initiatives to detect drugs in the mail, protect mail-handling staff, digitize correspondence, and identify specific drugs, among other innovations.

Cell Phones Facilitate Inmate Misconduct and Crimes

Many correctional administrators described contraband cell phones as their most pressing security concern, the report said. A threat to both institutional security and public safety, cell phones are used to plan crimes, escapes, and attacks on staff and to operate criminal enterprises. Use of contraband cell phones has become so widespread, the report noted, that the head of the Federal Communications Commission stated, “In the hands of an inmate, a cell phone is a weapon.”

One obstacle to addressing the cell phone infestation is a lack of hard facts on its dimensions — national statistics are not gathered by any official source, the working group report said. Conservatively, tens of thousands of contraband phones are collected every year, but that could represent a mere fraction of cell phones in circulation.

Electronic jamming can block cell communications, but federal regulations bar jamming by state and local agencies, and in general the practice is viewed as imprecise and indiscriminate. A more precise technology, known a “micro-jamming,” has shown promise for blocking wireless signals inside a cell while permitting transmissions as little as 20 feet outside the cell, the report said. But the cost is currently prohibitive. The working group urged that state and local agencies should be able to test jamming technology solutions.

Identified needs include development of technology to mitigate cell phone use and support of research to quantify the cell phone problem in correctional environments.

Many Contraband Weapons Are Built to Evade Detection

Contraband weapons can either be handmade by inmates or smuggled into institutions. Often made of nonferrous material — material without appreciable amounts of iron — to avoid detection, weapons held by inmates pose a direct threat to other inmates and staff. The working group called for cost-effective new technology to detect contraband weapons and block their influx.

Violent Gangs Present an Unrelenting Challenge

Overall, an estimated 13% of the inmate population belongs to “security threat groups” — the study’s term for gangs and other criminal organizations. By far the majority are members of gangs working both in the street and in institutions, the report said. Gang activity is linked to increased violence, including homicides, and gangs often control black markets and seek to manipulate correctional staff.

To better combat and neutralize the security threat groups, the working group called for development of best practices beyond existing concentration, dispersion, and isolation approaches. It also called for assessing the potential of existing systems to identify problematic communication patterns. Large volumes of recorded or written inmate communications go unanalyzed, the working group report noted.

Institutions Vulnerable to Growing Cyber Threats

As correctional institutions’ commitment to information technology (IT) systems expands, their commitment to cybersecurity has not kept up, the expert group found. IT is at the core of critical correctional operations — e.g., security systems, HVAC, communications, health and safety platforms — that in many instances are provided or maintained, or both, by outside vendors. Agencies also often maintain large and vulnerable data sets. Security breaches are increasingly common. To address cybersecurity risks, the NIJ-sponsored working group called for development of best practices to address vulnerabilities and guidance for monitoring threats posed by inmates accessing Wi-Fi operating networks in close proximity to institutions.

About This Article

The research described in this article was funded by NIJ award 2013-MU-CX-K003, awarded to the RAND Corporation (RAND). This article is based on the grantee final report, “Countering Threats to Correctional Institution Security: Identifying Innovation Needs to Address Current and Emerging Concerns” (2019), by Joe Russo, Dulani Woods, John S. Shaffer, and Brian A. Jackson. The workshop informing the grantee report and this article was convened by RAND and the University of Denver (DU) as part of NIJ’s Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative, a project of RAND, the Police Executive Research Forum, RTI, and DU.

 

NECAC, Sheriff’s Office Teams Up to Build Tiny Homes

Pictured from left to right: Lincoln County Economic Development representative Elaine Henderson, Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jeremy Ketterer, Senator Roy Blunt’s field representative Jennifer Meyer, Sheriff John Cottle, Senator Josh Hawley’s Field Representative Ben Gruender and NECAC Deputy Director of Housing Development Carla Potts.



Last week, Donald Patrick the President and CEO of the North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) along with Carla Potts the NECAC Deputy Director for Housing Development kicked off their newest partnership with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office…the future construction of tiny homes.

Part of Sheriff Cottle’s Workforce Reentry program for inmates and Lincoln County residents, this joint venture is also aligned with the Saint Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program to provide the skills necessary for meaningful employment.

Members from Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley and Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer’s Office were in attendance to provide their continued support to see the workforce initiative grow. Elaine Henderson with the Lincoln County Economic Development team was also in attendance and spoke on the importance of education and workforce reentry for inmates and all Lincoln County citizens.

“We have been arresting people and putting them in jail for 200 years,” said Sheriff Cottle. “Then in a few weeks or months we arrest them again and the cycle continues with no hope of any future or change. This program will help inmates find meaningful employment and move toward a better life.”

Sheriff Cottle, local businessmen and women, the Governor of Missouri, along with members of Congress believe this program will improve the life of every Lincoln County citizen who wishes to enter into the program. The Workforce Reentry Program is expected to reduce recidivism by 30​ percent​.

 
​Lincoln News Now​

Southern District OKs Lengthy Sentence for ‘Board Bills’ Defendant

The Court of Appeals Southern District ruled June 30 that a judge didn’t abuse his discretion in sentencing a high-profile but low-income defendant to more than two years in jail on a variety of charges.

George Richey had argued on appeal that St. Clair County Associate Circuit Judge Jerry J. Rellihan entered the hefty sentence in retaliation for Richey’s role in a landmark 2019 ruling that forbade local courts from imposing jail “board bills” as court costs.

In State v. Richey, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, while counties can charge criminal defendants for the costs of their incarceration, circuit courts have no statutory authority to impose board bills as courts costs. Instead, counties must use a separate process to recover the money. As a result, defendants can’t be brought back into court monthly to review their payments for that debt, nor can the court put them back in jail for failure to pay it.

Six months before the March 2019 ruling, Richey had been arrested on separate charges of drunkenly threatening his neighbors. The following June, Rellihan acquitted Richey of the most serious of the three misdemeanors he faced and sentenced him to 180 days and 15 days on the remaining two charges.

Rellihan also revoked Richey’s probation for three unrelated convictions and ordered him to serve all of his sentences consecutively, totaling 755 days in jail.

Jedd C. Schneider, a public defender representing Richey, argued on appeal that Richey’s stiff sentence was imposed “because he dared to challenge being jailed for debt.” Schneider estimated that Richey would accrue $26,425 in jail board debt during this sentence, an amount he will be “unlikely to ever repay . . . during his lifetime.”

“Did the trial court learn nothing from the Supreme Court’s Richey opinion?” Schneider wrote in a brief. “The answer is seemingly no.”

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office, which defended the case on appeal, argued that Richey’s two new sentences were within the allowable range of punishment and that setting all of the sentences consecutively was at the judge’s discretion.

“The record amply supports the sentences given, including Defendant’s aggressive incorrigibility, lack of rehabilitation, and indifference to the law,” Gregory L. Barnes, an assistant attorney general, argued in a brief. “There is no evidence that the court took his previous appeal into account in determining to run the sentences consecutively.”

According to transcripts quoted in the briefs, Rellihan’s only comment on Richey’s sentencing was: “So he’s had many, many, many opportunities to become an active and good member of this community and he’s chosen not to.” Writing for the Southern District, Judge Daniel E. Scott, wrote that the trial judge “did not directly, or even indirectly, link Richey’s sentencing” to any right Richey had exercised or to the Supreme Court case.

The record, Scott added “forecloses Richey’s retaliation claim, and with it, all of Richey’s consecutive-sentencing challenges.” Chief Judge Jeffrey W. Bates and Judge Mary W. Sheffield concurred.

In an interview, Schneider said he doesn’t plan to seek further appeal in the case. However, he is separately representing Richey in an ongoing declaratory action seeking credit for Richey’s earlier improper incarceration for failure to pay the board bill. As part of the Richey ruling, the Supreme Court had thrown out a $2,275 bill Richey received after spending 65 days in jail for failure to comply with an order to pay an earlier board bill.

In addition, St. Louis-based ArchCity Defenders in February had filed a civil rights lawsuit on Richey’s behalf, alleging that St. Clair County’s practices amounted to a “modern-day debtors’ scheme” to raise revenue. The suit, which had been removed to federal court, was voluntarily dismissed on May 6. Corrigan L. Lewis, the ArchCity attorney who filed the case, couldn’t be reached for comment.

That suit also has alleged that the consecutive sentences were retaliatory. At the time of dismissal, Rellihan, one of the defendants in the suit, had argued that judicial immunity protected his actions. He also pointed to the then-pending appeal in the Southern District, arguing that it gave Richey an adequate remedy at law for “any rulings or allegedly unlawful actions taken in his criminal case.”

The appeal is State v. Richey, SD36153. The declaratory action is Richey v. St. Clair County et al., 20SR-CC00008.

 
By Scott Lauck | Missouri Lawyers Media molawyersmedia.com

Jackson County Detention Center To Offer Mental Health Services

From Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté and Jackson County Jail Administrator Diana Turner:

We are pleased to announce that by unanimous vote the Jackson County Legislature approved a contract yesterday for comprehensive mental health services at the Jackson County Detention Center with Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc.

For the first time in the jail’s history, mental health services for the population will be provided to national standards. We regard this as a crucial step in the direction of becoming a premier agency.

“This mental health service contract is a significant step toward our commitment to provide our inmate population a resource for their overall mental health needs,” Sheriff Forté said.

We want to thank the County Executive’s team for their support in this endeavor and the members of the Legislature who continue to make the well-being of our inmates, and the safety and security of our facility, a priority.

Christian County Promotes Two

Christian County Sheriff Brad Cole (center) promoted two members of his jail staff on Tuesday, April 22.

Jason Applegate was promoted to the position of jail lieutenant and Krystal Smith was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Jason Applegate began his career with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office in February 2015 as a corrections officer. He quickly moved up through the ranks to corporal over Transport then later to administration sergeant.

“Jason is a dedicated and hardworking employee. The hard work and dedication he demonstrated is why he was he was promoted to the position of lieutenant over the jail,” the sheriff said.  

Krystal Smith began her career with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office in March 2007, handling many roles during her 13 years of service with the sheriff’s Office.

“She has been a role model and a team player since day one. Her latest assignment was corporal over Transportation. The hard work and dedication of she demonstrated during her time here earned her rank of sergeant within the jail,” Sheriff Cole said.

Photo provided.