This Television Program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/video/2014/11/comcast-interview-nancy-ware/
Yolanda Vazquez: Hello, I’m Yolanda Vasquez, and welcome to Comcast Newsmakers. I am joined now in the studio by Nancy M. Ware, she is the Director of the Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency. Nancy it’s a pleasure to have you here in our studio.
Nancy Ware: Thank you, Yolanda.
Yolanda Vazquez: So, I was asking you earlier to give us a little brief history of CSOSA as you call it, and I was saying you established in 1997 by the US Congress but you said actually, that was part of an Act. You were established a little bit later. Tell us a little bit about how you were formed initially.
Nancy Ware: Sure, well originally in 1997 actually, we had the Revitalization Act at Washington DC, which federalized a lot of the law enforcement agencies. And CSOSA was one of those agencies. So they moved probation and parole from the courts and from our parole board, which was in DC, over to this federal executive branch agency. And that’s how CSOSA was formed and we were formally put in place as an executive branch agency in 2000.
Yolanda Vazquez: And the reasoning behind that was to kind of lift some of the burden from the state level agencies?
Nancy Ware: That’s right. That’s correct. And also to consolidate a lot of the functions under one branch, one area of government. We also have other parts of the federal government that have take over responsibility like the prison system which is under the Federal Bureau of Prisons and our US Parole Commission which is part of the Federal US Parole Commission now. So we have a number of functions that have been federalized.
Yolanda Vazquez: It’s good to get a good overview like that. So tell us a little bit more about CSOSA, and what are some of the things that you do and the population that you serve?
Nancy Ware: Well, we’re responsible for supervising men and women who are on probation/parole. We supervise release in the District of Columbia. So although we’re a federal agency, we’re focused specifically on DC code offenders. And although we also have responsibility for interstate, which means that we also work with other states who have people who are on probation/parole or who are also in the District of Columbia, so we have relationships with other states. But primarily we’re focused on those individuals who live in the District of Columbia. And we have about fourteen thousand individuals under our supervision on any given day, and about twenty-four thousand throughout the course of a year.
Yolanda Vazquez: How do you go about prioritizing your list of services to the various populations?
Nancy Ware: Well, we really use a lot of research and evidence based practices in our practice throughout CSOSA, so what we do each year is to take the pulse of emerging trends and emerging issues across the population and also across the District in law enforcement. And as a result of that we’ve put in place specialized units throughout our agency to focus on emerging trends like mental health issues, which we’re finding to be more and more a concern among our population. Mental health and substance abuse have become an issue as well. Well, substance abuse has always been an issue, but we also have co-occurring disorders that we’re working with. And so we’ve put in place specific units and well-trained staff and contractors to work with that population. We also have units for women, domestic violence, we have specialized units working with youth and that’s a new one.
Yolanda Vazquez: Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Nancy Ware: Yeah, that’s one that’s particularly of interest to me because we were having a lot of challenges with our young men in particular under twenty-five. And it was very difficult to get them to comply with their conditions of supervision. So we formed two campuses we call them, the Northwest and then Southeast and Southwest to serve that population better.
Yolanda Vazquez: And it’s been a wonderful experience, the past two or three years for you, working with this?
Nancy Ware: It has. It’s a great agency.
Yolanda Vazquez: It sounds like it is. Well Nancy, we really appreciate you coming in. We had the Director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Thank you so much for your time and explaining so much to us about what you do.
Nancy Ware: Thank you.
Yolanda Vazquez: Thank you so very much! And that’ll do it for this edition of Comcast Newsmakers. I’m Yolanda Vazquez. Thanks for watching everybody. We will you see you again real soon.