Archives for June 4, 2007

Pre-Sentence Reports for Criminal Offenders

This Radio Program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/?p=17

[Audio Begins]

Leonard Sipes: Hi, and welcome to the radio version of D.C. Public Safety. I ‘m your host, Len Sipes. At our microphones today is Chris Kuhlman. Chris is with the diagnostic unit. Chris, did I get your last name correct?

Chris Kuhlman: That’s close enough, closer than most people.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, what is it, Chris?

Chris Kuhlman: Kuhlman.

Leonard Sipes: Kuhlman, okay. Chris, you’re with the diagnostic unit, and what do you do?

Chris Kuhlman: I write pre-sentence investigations.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, and what does that mean?

Chris Kuhlman: Well we collect information on recently convicted offenders, the investigation starts from the day the person is born and goes to the day that we interview them.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. So you’re talking about in many cases a lifetime, not in many cases, all cases you’re talking about if that person is 32 years-old, you go all the way back from day one when he was born, where he was born, what the situation was when he was born in terms of the economics, whether it was a single-parent family or not-I mean, you go that far back.

Chris Kuhlman: We do everything-education, his family history, employment history, whether he has any job skills, his criminal history, everything about that person is put into that report.

Leonard Sipes: And how long does it take to do a report like that?

Chris Kuhlman: It depends, if they have a long criminal history, that itself can take days.

Leonard Sipes: Now you go into all arrests as well?

Chris Kuhlman: We go into all arrests from all over the country-every arrest that we can find we put into that report.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. So we not only take a look at the criminal justice system in the District of Columbia or the surrounding area, we go to what is known as NCIC, the National Crime Information Center, and take a look at if that person was arrested in California, if that person was arrested in Mexico or Canada-it doesn’t matter, that goes into the report.

Chris Kuhlman: Yes, if we can find it, it goes into the report. The big problem with that is that a lot of these other jurisdictions don’t report a lot of the dispositions.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Chris Kuhlman: Then we have to try to find out what these dispositions are in the other jurisdictions.

Leonard Sipes: Do you really? I mean, to go back just to get the dispositions-I mean, that’s an immense job. One of the problems, and for the listeners of the program, one of the problems that we have in the criminal justice system is just that, we can pretty much get arrests, but we really don’t have a lot of disposition information. And what we mean by disposition is that whether or not the person was convicted and whether or not the person was assigned to a probation or whether he was sent to jail or sent to prison, right?

Chris Kuhlman: Yeah, that’s correct. There’s-for example, I had somebody who was arrested 57 times in Maryland, and out of those 57 arrests-

Leonard Sipes: 57 times? Were these 57 separate incidents or 57 charges?

Chris Kuhlman: 57 separate arrests.

Leonard Sipes: Wow.

Chris Kuhlman: And they were all for types of fraud.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Chris Kuhlman: And out of those 57 arrests, there were three dispositions.

Leonard Sipes: Right. And you have to go back and spend an endless amount of time going back in and checking those dispositions.

Chris Kuhlman: Yes, I had to actually go to P.G. County, that’s where the majority of the original charges were.

Leonard Sipes: Right. Did you go to the court system or did you go to the Maryland Criminal Index System?

Chris Kuhlman: Well I tried that and that was difficult getting information from them also. But I went to the state attorney’s office in Maryland and they printed up, after some coercion, they printed up all the dispositions for me.

Leonard Sipes: But that’s what the judge is expecting. The judge is expecting a complete assessment as to that person-not only their criminal history, their social history, did they drop out of school, what age did they start using drugs, the income level of the family, who this person hung with, what was the social attitude of the person, whether or not he has a mental health history-I mean, that’s just an enormous amount of information to compile for one human being.

Chris Kuhlman: Yes it is, but all those-we call those criminogenic and noncriminogenic risk factors.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Chris Kuhlman: And that’s very important, that’s basically-that sums up our report.

Leonard Sipes: Right. And what does a judge do with this?

Chris Kuhlman: He uses all the information combined and puts it together which helps him decide what type of a sentence to give this person-whether he should just get straight jail time and also take into consideration the sentencing guidelines.

Leonard Sipes: Now they all go to federal in district code violations-violations are the code in the District of Columbia go to federal prison?

Chris Kuhlman: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. So my understanding is the federal prison system also uses this as an entree into their system. In fact, quite frankly regardless of how long that offender is there, this may be the most complete assessment of that person even if the person’s in federal prison for three or four years and they document everything that happens to that person in there, the best assessment may be that pre-sentence investigation.

Chris Kuhlman: Yeah that’s true, they use our reports to help them classify people when they come in. It let’s them know what their substance abuse problems are, their mental health history, whether they need help with their education, vocational training-things that can help them prepare for when they leave prison.

Leonard Sipes: Chris, do you have a sense after doing all of these-and how long have you been with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency?

Chris Kuhlman: I’ve been with Court Services for three years.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. Is there a sense that you get after looking at all of these? I mean, at this point you’ve done hundreds or thousands of these things, do you get a sense as to the difficulty that we have in crime and criminal justice? Does anything after doing all these reports, does anything jump out at you in terms of anything at all?

Chris Kuhlman: I think there’s three major things, that’s drug use, lack of education, and lack of job skills that I had no idea when I was in a regular supervision position, how important all those things were. But after doing these PSIs, just over and over and over again, I would say that 90% of the people that I interview lack education, lack a high school diploma or a GED, and have absolutely no job skills. I’ve interviewed people who are 30 to 35 years old that haven’t worked a day in their life.

Leonard Sipes: That’s amazing. And that’s the heart and soul of the difficulty in terms of the federal prison system trying to assist them while they’re in federal prison and when they come back out, they come back to Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency where we continue to use your pre-sentence report, your diagnostic report and again, it shows the gravity and the difficulty in terms of trying to change the lives of the individuals who we deal with.

Chris Kuhlman: Yep. Our supervision officers-that PSI is in our computer system already, when they get these cases they can review it, they can see like I said, all his criminogenic and noncriminogenic needs, what his education level is, whether he should be referred for a GED, his vocational training, whether he has a history of mental health issues-all those things are a huge help to the supervision officers.

Leonard Sipes: Chris, thanks for being here today.

Chris Kuhlman: Thank you.

[End Audio]

Information about crime, criminal offenders and the criminal justice system.

Meta terms: crime, criminals, criminal justice, parole, probation, prison,
drug treatment, reentry, sex offenders.

Share

Offenders Returning from Prison

This Radio Program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/?p=16

[Audio Begins]

Leonard Sipes: Hi, and welcome to the radio version of D.C. Public Safety. I am your host, Len Sipes. At our microphones today is Mike Hilliard, he is a Community Supervision Officer with the TIPS Unit. Michael, did I get your last name correct?

Michael Hilliard: That’s absolutely correct.

Leonard Sipes: All right, good. What is the TIPS Unit?

Michael Hilliard: Transitional Intervention Parole Supervision, it is the unit that is setup to help offenders releasing back into the community from the bureau prisons or detention status, and we help them to make that transition back into the community.

Leonard Sipes: All right, so everybody coming out of the prison goes through the TIPS Unit-everybody coming out of federal prisons because again, as I said on other shows, as of August 2000, all D.C. code violators do now go into federal prison. There is no D.C. prison, it’s all federal prison, correct?

Michael Hilliard: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: All right, so the person comes out of federal prison and supposedly, theoretically at least, about six months before they come out you’re supposed to get their case file.

Michael Hilliard: Ideally yes, six months prior, sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way.

Leonard Sipes: Yeah, I’ve talked to some TIPS folks who got the file like two days before the person’s coming out. But ordinarily you get it a couple months ahead of time?

Michael Hilliard: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: All right. And what do you do with that file?

Michael Hilliard: Well first of all, you have to understand that not all offenders coming through TIPS come out directly from the prison –

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Michael Hilliard: Some have the benefit of a residential reentry center.

Leonard Sipes: Right, so they go to community corrections facility here in the District of Columbia first?

Michael Hilliard: Yes, a small segment of people do have the benefit of the halfway house.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, so some come through the halfway house, some come straight from prison.

Michael Hilliard: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. And at least at the halfway house you have time to deal with them while they’re in the District of Columbia, but if they come straight from the prison, that becomes a bit more difficult, doesn’t it?

Michael Hilliard: It does, we basically do a paper assessment and a lot of our referrals and the information that is utilized is information that has been documented. In some of your other segments, I think people talked about the pre-sentence investigation report-again, this is a vital tool that we have that is already been completed, and we review this in addition, but it talks about what happened before the person went into the prison. We also require the bureau prisons to forward us information documenting what has taken place-why he was incarcerated.

Leonard Sipes: Right, so if the person got drug treatment in prison, if the person completed their GED in prison, if the person completed a welding certificate while in prison-you know about all that information.

Michael Hilliard: Yes and that would be very ideal. In an ideal world, these needs are identified when they first go to prison. In an ideal world, these needs are treated or enhanced while they’re in prison and those are the more favored offenders, they have a higher degree of success.

Leonard Sipes: Right. But like any other prison system in the country, not everybody gets what they need while they’re in prison, especially if they go to some prisons because the resources just aren’t there.

Michael Hilliard: And that is one of the things that we do in TIPS, we try to identify the needs of the persons that are being released and we try to match those with the resources that are in the community based on where we assess their needs to be at the time of release.

Leonard Sipes: Now we have general supervision-community supervision officers, other people throughout the country would know them as parole and probation and agents, and they’re the person responsible for supervising the person in the community. You’re sort of like the air traffic controllers, you take all the incoming air traffic and organize it and try to do the best you can to prepare that person for supervision before handing them off to the community supervision officer, correct?

Michael Hilliard: To get them off to a good start, one of the important things that many of those people released – we identify where they’re going to be living, do they need housing, do they need drug treatment –

Leonard Sipes: I want to stop you right there. In terms of housing and drug treatment, housing in the District of Columbia – I mean, this is a hyper expensive real estate market. In many cases in my years of working with offenders, when that person comes back, mom and dad don’t want them. Brother and sister feel equally adamant that they don’t want the individual and you’re stuck with this person who doesn’t have housing. How do you find this person housing?

Michael Hilliard: Well again, recognizing that some people do get the benefit of a halfway house or residential reentry center.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Michael Hilliard: Those people, assuming they have an opportunity to win employment opportunities, there are opportunities for them to develop independent living.

Leonard Sipes: That’s correct. So through the halfway homes, they have a chance to line up employment, line up housing?

Michael Hilliard: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, but for everybody else?

Michael Hilliard: For those people releasing directly into the community, we’ll check in with their significant others, their family members, and finding out if it’s a suitable plan for them to return to that. In those instances where those people are homeless and do not have that family support, there is a provision put for by the U.S. Parole Commission-public law release, this gives a person an opportunity to still be released consistent with his release date or parole date, but he goes to a community corrections center and he can stay for a period up to four months in a public law status.

Leonard Sipes: You know, this program could easily go a half an hour or an hour because we just barely scratched the surface-drug treatment beyond housing, employment, trying to act as a bridge between the offender and their families. You have an extraordinarily difficult job to try to package this individual, if you will, to the best of your ability to hand them off to that community supervision officer. There’s so many things involved in that process, it’s almost impossible to take care of everything in the small amount of time that you have.

Michael Hilliard: That is correct. And so again, using the paper documentation that we have, our primary goal is to deal with those immediate needs. Far too many people drop off because of the high drug treatment needs, so a large number of people that we deal with, we refer them into our reentry sanction center.

Leonard Sipes: Sanction center, right.

Michael Hilliard: Which does a 28-day assessment –

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Michael Hilliard: To look further into their drugs and try to identify residential or outpatient needs.

Leonard Sipes: And it’s extraordinary for a parole and probation agency to have what we have which is basically a hospital wing of 100 beds on any given day devoted to people coming out of the prison system. And we do provide drug treatment for about 25% of the people who need it, but still, the majority don’t-we don’t have money for the majority of the individuals who need drug treatment.

Michael Hilliard: That is correct. So again, we make a lot of referrals to our central intervention team and they again, assess a lot of people who their drug needs can be met on an outpatient basis. So they again, try to match those people with resources in the community and the different various programs. But another thing that TIPS do, we have mental health people, we have sex offender people-it’s very critical for us to identify what unit of supervision these people will require, and that is one of our primary goals in transitional intervention parole supervision.

Leonard Sipes: Mike, thanks for being at the microphones today.

Michael Hilliard: Thank you.

[Audio Ends]

Information about crime, criminal offenders and the criminal justice system.

Meta terms: crime, criminals, criminal justice, parole, probation, prison,
drug treatment, reentry, sex offenders.

Share

Supervising Mental Health Offenders

This Radio Program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/?p=15

[Audio Begins]

Leonard Sipes: Hi, and welcome to the radio version of D.C. Public Safety. I am your host, Len Sipes. At our microphones today is Robert Evans. Robert is from the Mental Health Unit of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. And Robert, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Robert Evans: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: All right, the Mental Health Unit-I’ve been waiting for you.

Robert Evans: [Laughs]

Leonard Sipes: I’m interviewing a lot of different people today to do podcasts for CSOSA’s website, and I interviewed a lovely young lady before you talking about the high risk drug offenders and how they are some of the most difficult offenders that we have within Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. But the Mental Health Unit is probably in my mind as difficult or more difficult than the high risk drug offenders, correct?

Robert Evans: Absolutely. In my opinion, I feel like I deal the most difficult offenders because not only are they mentally challenged, but the majority of them have substance abuse issues. And of course the mental health is going to come before the substance abuse, and so they send them right over to us. And so they have not only the mental health issues, but also the substance abuse issues.

Leonard Sipes: We do a complete diagnosis of the individual here at Court Services and Offender Supervision, correct?

Robert Evans: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. So we do a complete diagnosis then we send them to D.C. government where they get counseling and or medication, and then the person is on our caseload where we have a rather low caseload of about 25-30 to one, correct?

Robert Evans: Okay. I’m sorry, let me backtrack-now when you say complete diagnosis, are you referring to-

Leonard Sipes: Yes, a complete assessment of the person’s mental health problems.

Robert Evans: Okay. A lot of our assessment comes from the history that we’re given when we get the case-

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Robert Evans: Which is in their pre-sentencing report.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Robert Evans: So that aspect of supervision is very important that we get that presentence report because that lets us know the history, it lets us know their mental health history and their background.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Robert Evans: Based on that, nine times out of ten, that’s why they come to our unit-based on their history.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Robert Evans: Then we send them to our CSOSA psychologist.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Robert Evans: One of the few that we have and they do what’s called a psychiatric screener.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Robert Evans: Which is not a complete diagnosis-

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Robert Evans: But what it is is in combination the history they have and the questions that they have that they ask the offenders-they come up with a recommendation.

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Robert Evans: From that recommendation they’ll refer them to the Department of Mental Health or an agency within D.C. that will give them further assessments to see what their needs are.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. Now but the interesting thing is that the system that I came from, which was a rather large state system before I came here to this agency, if you had a mental health problem you were simply referred to the local mental health department or the health department and that was it. I mean, that person could sit there for months before they ever received any treatment at all and he was part-or she was part of a regular caseload, which at the time was well over a hundred offenders to every parole and probation agent. Here it’s a lot different, correct?

Robert Evans: Well that’s correct. Right now I have about 60 offenders and we’re working very diligently to reduce those numbers. They have brought new mental health teams and new mental health CSOs to try to reduce those numbers, but right now the caseloads are fairly high for what we’re expected to do.

Leonard Sipes: And that makes it even more difficult because you’re almost the lifeline for that individual. That individual, if he comes out of prison-now I know you have probationers in your caseload as well, right?

Robert Evans: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: So if the person comes out of prison and he has a mental health problem, and I’m not quite sure if anybody can accept that a prison experience is going to assist the person with their mental health problems, in some cases it makes it more difficult. But you have a person-let’s just say he’s a schizophrenic and he comes out of the federal prison system, if hits the street without support and without guidelines, it is almost in my mind, and you correct me if I’m wrong, inevitable that this person is going to reoffend.

Robert Evans: Absolutely. Absolutely, that transition from jail to my office is very critical. I’m sure you’ve interviewed someone who’s in the TIPS Department.

Leonard Sipes: Yes.

Robert Evans: That process is critical for supervision because that person has to be assessed, their needs have to be assessed to assure that they’re receiving-they’re connected to the right treatment program.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Robert Evans: They should have medications, they should have some form of treatment already setup so that when they hit the streets there are connected. Unfortunately, there are a handful of people who miss out on that assessment and they do hit the streets and it’s our job to assess them as soon as possible and get them connected as soon as possible. And that gap in between time is critical so that’s where we come in and we have to make sure they’re in front of us.

Leonard Sipes: You’re the lifeline for the offender. I mean, I understand the person could be in treatment. I understand if the person’s a vet, the person could go to VA. I understand that we refer them to D.C. government for mental health treatment, but I have talked to so many community supervision officers who tell me that they are indeed the lifeline for that individual. Again, in many cases they’ve burned their bridges with the family, they’ve burned bridges with friends-that having that constant presence to talk about their issues, to talk about their struggles, or in some cases to call you and say, ‘look, I’m thinking about going back to drugs,’ or, ‘I’m thinking about beating the crap out of somebody, help me.’ You’re the lifeline.

Robert Evans: That’s absolutely correct. It’s very important as a CSO in the Mental Health Unit-it’s very important to be knowledgeable about mental health, about the needs of the population. And it’s true, a lot of them are rejected by family, they have no place to turn, and so it’s important that we’re there for them that they’re able to sit down and able to communicate with us, and we have to be knowledgeable about mental health needs so that we can assess their issues, we can see whether they’re about to relapse or about to go into a state of depression where that’s when we have to more intensively supervise them, so it’s very important.

Leonard Sipes: You have not just life experiences-I mean, the process of going through prison, and I’m not making any excuses for any offender, but the process of being incarcerated, going through the prison experience, coming back out trying to reintegrate, trying to reconnect with family and friends, trying to find some place to live, trying to find a job, trying to maintain your mental stability in a big city-a hustling bustling big city, which basically doesn’t care a whole heck of a lot about you as an individual- any city. I mean, that’s just-it’s almost as if the cards are stacked against that person, it’s almost inevitable that that person’s going to reoffend and go back to prison. And again, not to beat the point to death, but that means that you have to be that person’s lifeline, in some cases his only lifeline.

Robert Evans: And that’s absolutely correct. Unfortunately, a lot of people just don’t have the resources that they need and I really believe that that’s the number one thing that will make someone successful-if they have a family to come home to, that makes so much difference. If they have support when they-that support network is key. If they don’t have that, they’re almost just left out there just to go reoffend.

Leonard Sipes: Robert, do you think through your efforts and through the efforts of the other community supervision officers dealing with the mental health caseload, do you think that you can cut back on recidivism? Do you think that you can help this person maintain their sanity and be a productive
citizen?

Robert Evans: I think that our presence is definitely important and I think that our presence does make a difference, but I don’t think it’s enough just to have me and no one else. I think that it does make an absolutely difference, but that’s why it’s very important for us to be able to connect with other resources in the community because when that person leaves my office, he needs to have somewhere else to go.

Leonard Sipes: Robert, thanks for being with us today.

Robert Evans: Thank you.

[Audio Ends]

Information about crime, criminal offenders and the criminal justice system.

Meta terms: crime, criminals, criminal justice, parole, probation, prison,
drug treatment, reentry, sex offenders.

Share

Supervising High Risk Drug Offenders

This Radio Program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/?p=14

[Audio Begins]

Leonard Sipes: Hi, and welcome to the radio version of D.C. Public Safety. I am your host, Len Sipes. At our microphones today is Kim Cooper. Kim is a Community Supervision Assistant with the High Risk Drug Unit. Kim, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Kim Cooper: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: And what does a community supervision assistant do?

Kim Cooper: Well I’m responsible for a lot of activities and duties. My number one duty is to greet and to assign the new coming offenders into the agency.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: A CSA’s job is to prepare the offender to come in contact with-

Leonard Sipes: To be supervised.

Kim Cooper: To be supervised or to come in contact with a parole officer.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. Let’s explain to the public-we have community supervision officers, which in most jurisdictions throughout the country are referred to as parole and probation agents. So you’re not a community supervision officer, you’re a community supervision assistant.

Kim Cooper: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: So you’re the community supervision officer’s right hand person.

Kim Cooper: Absolutely. I’m the first point of contact.

Leonard Sipes: You’re the first point of contact, so that means you do most of the work then?

Kim Cooper: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: [Laughs]

Kim Cooper: That means-[Laughs]-yeah.

Leonard Sipes: Yeah, but you do. I mean, you’re the person who the offender comes into contact first.

Kim Cooper: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: And you’re the person who does all the preparation.

Kim Cooper: Absolutely. When the offender comes in, I greet the offender and I let him know exactly what in fact our unit does and what is expected of them.

Leonard Sipes: I did an article on your unit and interviewed a lot of people in your unit and wow. I mean, the high risk drug unit are probably some of the more difficult offenders that we have in Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency because they’re just not people with substance abuse backgrounds, they’re people with very, very, very lengthy substance abuse backgrounds.

Kim Cooper: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: And in many cases, very lengthy criminal histories.

Kim Cooper: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: So you may be dealing-outside of the mental health unit-you may be dealing with the toughest offenders we have here at Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.

Kim Cooper: Correct, yes.

Leonard Sipes: That’s a daunting prospect, isn’t it?

Kim Cooper: Yes it is.

Leonard Sipes: I mean, how difficult are they?

Kim Cooper: Actually it’s not very difficult, every individual is different. Everyone wants to be treated with respect and as a human.

Leonard Sipes: They haven’t gotten a lot of that in life, right?

Kim Cooper: Absolutely. A lot of them have not been taught manners, and there’s always been just-a lot of offenders really haven’t had anyone to steer them in the right direction.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: So when they come into my unit, I always practice my human side and I treat them with respect.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: And in turn, they treat me with respect.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: I demand it, they give it, and we get along just fine.

Leonard Sipes: Right. But it is a matter of expectations, right?

Kim Cooper: It’s a matter of a expectations, absolutely.

Leonard Sipes: Now you prepare the caseloads and you prepare the community supervision officer for that supervision experience by interviewing them, correct?

Kim Cooper: Well no, actually they’re assigned by the PSA, which is the area of the city that they reside in.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: If they’re-we have-like Michael Hilliard spoke up before, the RSC-

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: Which is a treatment center.

Leonard Sipes: The Reentry and Sanction Center, right.

Kim Cooper: Correct. And-

Leonard Sipes: And most of your offenders go, or all of your offenders go through the Reentry and Sanction Center, correct?

Kim Cooper: Not all of the offenders.

Leonard Sipes: Not all?

Kim Cooper: There’s quite a heavy load that does.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, because you do have some parolees, and you have probationers as well, that’s right, because the probationers won’t go through the Reentry and Sanction Center.

Kim Cooper: Absolutely.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. And I should explain to the public, the Reentry and Sanction Center is sort of like a hospital wing that we control at Court Services and Offender Supervision, and it’s really amazing that parole and probation entity has its own hospital wing devoted to the assessment and treatment process of criminal offenders where they live there for 28 days and go through that assessment. We figure out what really makes them tick in terms of their substance abuse.

Kim Cooper: Correct, it’s an excellent program.

Leonard Sipes: Right, and that’s an amazing program.

Kim Cooper: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, so the people coming out of prison go through the Reentry and Sanction Center, the people on probation don’t.

Kim Cooper: Uh-huh.

Leonard Sipes: Now are you in a position to see who does better on it? [Laughs] Because I’m assuming the people who are going through the Reentry and Sanction Center are prepared for the treatment process, and the people who go through probation are not.

Kim Cooper: Well it just-in my own opinion, it depends on the individual.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: A lot of times we have a lot of offenders that come out of the program and they just fail.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: It just doesn’t click.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: We have a lot of offenders that-

Leonard Sipes: And let me go into that too, we expect relapse in drug treatment.

Kim Cooper: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: We expect problems.

Kim Cooper: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: We do not expect a person to come out of the prison system without issues.

Kim Cooper: You have a handful that-you know, they’re on one, they’re doing well.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: And they go on with their lives and they’re happy-everything’s normal.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: We have another handful that it just wasn’t enough-

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: And we have to find another form of treatment center for them.

Leonard Sipes: The ones that are successful and the ones that aren’t successful, do you ever sense as to why that is?

Kim Cooper: Personally, I believe that everyone has to hit a rock bottom.

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Kim Cooper: There are different forms of rock bottoms. When I talk to a lot of the offenders, some things that wouldn’t necessarily be a rock bottom for one, is a rock bottom for the other.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: And I just think it’s not based solely on the program or-it’s just the individual.

Leonard Sipes: And that’s one of the reasons why we designed drug assessment and drug treatment and supervision in your unit around the individual because no two individuals are going to be alike in terms of their substance abuse history or the reasons for being involved in substance abuse.

Kim Cooper: Correct, absolutely. And a lot of times it depends on what exactly this offender dealt with in his life.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: You know, it’s different. It’s different for everyone.

Leonard Sipes: A lot of your people who I interviewed for this article simply told me that it was to mask a lot of pain in their lives.

Kim Cooper: Absolutely, that’s where a lot of the drug performance comes into play.

Leonard Sipes: Right, these big tough guys who are basically doing all this posturing-

Kim Cooper: They bigger they come, the harder they fall.

Leonard Sipes: They are nothing more than people in an immense amount of pain that use drugs to cover up that pain.

Kim Cooper: Absolutely. Absolutely, we have a handful that have succeeded the program, and we have a handful that hasn’t. And a lot of times if they don’t come to terms with what the real problem is, it’ll continue.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Kim Cooper: Once they come to terms with what the real problem is, then they can sort of get a hold on it.

Leonard Sipes: But coming to terms with the real problem means examining your life for the first time, and that could be one of the most painful episodes in any human being’s life, to go through that level of examination.

Kim Cooper: Absolutely. We have excellent CSOs, which are the parole officers. We have some that get right to the heart of the problem, they don’t take no for an answer, and it’s just push, push, push. And some of the offenders really, really appreciate that-

Leonard Sipes: And some are scared to death by it.

Kim Cooper: Some are scared to death, but we have a lot that are appreciative, and they really excel.

Leonard Sipes: Kim, thank you for being at our microphones today.

Kim Cooper: Thank you very much.

[Audio Ends]

Information about crime, criminal offenders and the criminal justice system.

Meta terms: crime, criminals, criminal justice, parole, probation, prison,
drug treatment, reentry, sex offenders.

Share