Archives for 2008

Lie Detector Tests for Sex Offenders

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(Audio Begins)

Leonard Sipes: Hi and welcome to D.C. Public Safety. I’m your host Len Sipes. Today’s guest is Matt Kiely. Matt is a supervisor with my agency, The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. He deals with sex offenders and I think we’re gonna talk about a very interesting topic today. We’re going to talk about poligraphy; polygraph tests for sex offenders. Most people are not going to understand what a polygraph test is. It’s basically a lie detector test. We use lie detector tests for sex offenders to be sure, as one tool to increase our level of supervision and increase the level and truthfulness and, if I understand this correctly, to really help the offender confront his own reality and to help in terms of his own treatment process. And with that long introduction, Matt Kiley. Hi. How you doing?

Matt Kiely: Len, good morning. How you doing?

Leonard Sipes: I’m fine. Now, did I get it right Matt in terms of my description or did I mess it up.

Matt Kiely: Correct. It’s an investigative tool which we use in part of to design the treatment plan of the offenders. It’s not trying to catch the offender in a lie, but more so trying to obtain information to deal with his sex offender treatment plan and sex offender treatment contract.

Leonard Sipes: But a lot of sex offenders, and let me state this for the audience because they’re going to ask; why are you supervising them out in the community. These are individuals either coming out of the prison system, the federal prison system, and they’re now under mandatory supervision or their under parole and they are ours to supervise at the end of their sentence. So say the person has a 10 year sentence and he serves 70 percent of it. Well the three years left of his sentence, he is accountable to us. If he gets a term of probation, which means he is under our supervision but didn’t go to prison at least this time, he’s still under our supervision for whatever amount of years the judge gave him. So, we get a certain amount of sex offenders. How many sex offenders do we currently supervise? It’s within the hundreds right?

Matt Kiely: Right. Currently in my unit we have about 198 total, that includes active, monitored and some warrant cases. There’s two other units, so roughly about 400 I believe.

Leonard Sipes: Total.

Matt Kiely: Total sex offenders that we supervise. There’s well more than that on the registry which is a separate issue.

Leonard Sipes: Right and that’s the sex offender registry and here in the District of Columbia and that is indeed a separate issue. But we did that an entirely different show on that.

Matt Kiely: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: On the sex offender registry. We had the Metropolitan Police Department and our own people in to talk about the sex offender registry. So here we’re talking about the supervision and treatment of sex offenders. But sex offenders are in essence, a lot of them are pretty much in denial. Correct?

Matt Kiely: Correct. Some offenders have been denying the crime for years. I mean you’re talking about some offenders who have been locked up 15, 20 years come out and they reach a point where they actually believe that they did not commit the crime.

Leonard Sipes: Well and also at the same time whatever crime they committed was justified within their own mind in the context she was my girlfriend or this was a consensual relationship or this was in her best interest or I was just simply trying to be her friend. But the hard cold reality that this is obviously illegal act against generally speaking women, in a lot of cases minor children. You’ve got to sometimes pound it into their heads of “look buddy you committed a crime, in fact you’ve committed a series of crimes and if you continue committing those crimes, we’re gonna put you back in prison.” I mean that’s the hard cold reality in terms of getting through that denial. Correct?

Matt Kiely: Right. It’s a long process, certainly isn’t overnight. It’s similar to drug treatment, most treatment providers agree that treatment cannot be successful until the offender breaks his or her denial.

Leonard Sipes: And that becomes a good segway into a lot of different arenas because when people, when we talk about community supervision; I did a talk radio show years ago and somebody said the first time the person screws up, put him back in prison and my response was you’d have to put everybody back in prison because these aren’t boy scouts and girl scouts in many cases. Some come out with immense problems, mental health problems, substance abuse problems, domestic violence problems and in this case– sex offender problems. And in some cases, the process of relapse in terms of all of these issues, whether it be domestic violence, whether it be mental health, whether it be drug treatment or whether it be sex offender treatment is part of our day -to-day reality. Correct?

Matt Kiely: Correct. It’s almost inherent in the system there’s gonna be failures, but it’s what you do when they do fail kind of dictates where you go from there.

Leonard Sipes: Right. Now, if there’s sufficient failures, needless to say, if we catch a child sex offender stalking another child or engaged in the process of trying to entice that person, we’ll put the person back in prison. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But there’s all sorts of other levels in between that we have to deal with and we cannot just send every person back to prison. The prisons would explode tomorrow. We would overload the prison instantaneously. Within a month we would overload the prison system. So we have to maintain these individuals in the community and protect public safety and at the same time to give him or her a opportunity to, whether it be a substance abusing offender, domestic violence, it doesn’t matter, mental health, we have to give them some opportunities to correct bad behavior.

Matt Kiely: Correct. And based on the levels of severity, we apply graduated sanctions. Like you said an offender alone with a minor who has an offense history against minors, who may be in violation of no contact with minors

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Matt Kiely: We have requested warrants; we have had warrants issued and quickly executed so we deal with the severity

Leonard Sipes: So public safety becomes first. I mean it’s our first objective needless to say. But, dealing with sex offenders, we are talking about a extraordinarily complex world because we started off the conversation that they make these endless rationalizations in their own minds in terms of their behavior and getting beyond those rationalizations and getting to the point where we know what he did in the past and we know how he is now, is an essential ingredient not only in terms of the supervision, but in terms of the treatment process.

Matt Kiely: Right. You need to confront the offender with that and we need to get to the point that we all agree that the offender takes responsibility for what he did. Not that he had sex with the 15, 16 year old, that he actually caused the harm in having sex with her because as you know, some offenders will cognitively distort their crimes, their violations indicate they cause no harm.

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Matt Kiely: You know.

Leonard Sipes: Yeah. Understood. Now Matt, before you go into this whole issue poligraphy or polygraph tests or lie detector tests and we understand from the conversation that had at the beginning of the program is that they are not really lie detector tests, we have to explain that to the audience. How did you get involved, number one, in community supervision? Most people throughout the country that do this sort of job are called parole and probation agents. We call our folks community supervision officers. You’re a supervisory community supervision officer.

Matt Kiely: Right.

Leonard Sipes: You have a team of people who you supervise. But how did you get involved in this business?

Matt Kiely: I did my undergraduate work at a small school in western Maryland. Then right afterwards went into grad school up at University of Baltimore. I was lucky enough to catch this agency in its infancy in 98 as part of the first CSO class.

Leonard Sipes: Right. It’s a brand new agency and most people don’t understand that. we’re a brand new federal agency.

Matt Kiely: Right, so in 1998 was the first CSO class, was a CSO and general supervision for four years. Was promoted in 2002 initially was assigned to the diagnostic unit doing pre-sentence report on offenders, supervising a team over there and then I think it was in 2003 when they created a third, due to the numbers, a third sex offender unit that I took over the sex offender unit.

Leonard Sipes: By the way I graduated as well from the University of Baltimore as well.

Matt Kiely: Good school.

Leonard Sipes: It is a good school. It’s a wonderful school, wonderful experience, one of the best collegiate experiences I had. Okay, so you got involved in the sex offender unit why? Tough, tough, tough crazy unit to be in.

Matt Kiely: Right. Well I was asked. The Associate Director was creating a third unit, was asked if I was interest in leading that. I knew it would be an experience and something that I really wanted to eventually get into. I dealt with the general supervision offender, dealt with diagnostics and I wanted something more, somewhat of a tougher challenge, if you will.

Leonard Sipes: And it’s interesting because we have a high risk drug offender unit. We have the mental health unit. We have a sex offender unit. These are fairly small caseloads, generally speaking, and it’s always interesting that everybody wants to be in these units because they want the challenge and, my heavens, in terms of high risk drug offenders, people have had a long history of drugs and substance abuse and the mental health folks, the sex offender folks. People within the criminal justice system, throughout my years in the system, they just gravitate towards the hardest possible jobs. I’ve had wonderful conversations with police officers here in the District of Columbia as well as Baltimore City who patrol the highest crime neighborhoods because that’s where it’s really interesting.

Matt Kiely: Right.

Leonard Sipes: That’s where the challenge really is. And so you take on willingly this extraordinarily difficult group of offenders to supervise.

Matt Kiely: You deal with all types of offenders in the sex offender unit.

Leonard Sipes: Explain that, all types of offenders.

Matt Kiely: Well basically we want to cast a wide net in making sure that we’re supervising every type of sexual offender out there. So, for instance, if an offender has a previous rape conviction, does his jail time, gets off supervision and then 10 years down the road gets convicted of drug dealing, he gets assigned to our agency for supervision.

Leonard Sipes: Really.

Matt Kiely: That offender will be supervised by the sex offender unit.

Leonard Sipes: Interesting.

Matt Kiely: At that time, we want to have him assessed to see if he needs sex offender treatment. See if conditions are modified. So, we not only supervise those offenders who are currently on supervision for sex offense, but if they have a past

Leonard Sipes: If they have a sex offense in the past

Matt Kiely: In the past, we will also do that.

Leonard Sipes: When we’re talking about sex offenders, are we, and again I apologize for asking you this, I didn’t tell you before hand I would be asking you these sort of statistical questions. But in terms of what we call sex offenders, is our universe mostly of individuals who commit predatory attacks on adults or are we talking about principally people who are involved with children or those under the age of 18?

Matt Kiely: Probably say half and half.

Leonard Sipes: Half and half.

Matt Kiely: What’s more concerning once they get involved in treatment, you get those unreported crimes that no one ever knew about. He’s before us for rape of an adult, but you find out that he had three or four instances where he has had sexual contact with a minor.

Leonard Sipes: Right and that’s the controversy involved in all of this because you know, years ago when I left the Maryland State Police and went to college, one of the things that we were taught is that it’s all interconnected in one way, shape or form. I don’t know what the state of the art is now, but even pedophiles, the people who are just, I’m sorry not pedophiles, what am I talking about? The people who look in windows, the peeping toms.

Matt Kiely: Peeping toms, right.

Leonard Sipes: And the people who are exhibitionists, to expose themselves to other people. You take a look at a rapist and you take a look at a child sex offender and once you get into their psyches, you find an array of behavior that touches, in many cases, all of these things. Is that true or is there a way of stating that definitively or is that still in flux?

Matt Kiely: Well, you’re dealing with different types of offenders in our unit. You’re dealing with, as you mentioned, the pedophile who is probably the highest risk offender that we supervise.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Matt Kiely: Those offenders who have victims

Leonard Sipes: Well, it doesn’t strike me that the pedophiles may be involved in adult rape because his sexual disposition is towards children.

Matt Kiely: Correct and that’s what he focuses on. Then we have the offenders who are rapists and that’s all they’ve ever done is rape adults unknown to them. As you mentioned before, we have the exhibitionist, they are also at a high level to re-offend.

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Matt Kiely: It’s a behavior that we see repeatedly. It’s not just one exposure. It’s multiple times, multiple places.

Leonard Sipes: And not to get too graphic about this, the sense here is that if you have a sexual predisposition and to me it doesn’t really matter what that sexual predisposition is, but if you have that predisposition, I’m assuming it is sort of like heterosexual disposition. I don’t think you’re gonna change your heterosexual predisposition. If you are predisposed towards children, I would imagine that’s pretty much a lifelong issue.

Matt Kiely: For some offenders yes and that’s what we hope in the course of treatment that by focusing on cognitive behavioral controls, i.e., where we’re trying to modify their behavior, modify their thoughts. Offenders recognize when they may be in a lapse so they avoid re-offending by recognizing their own cycle of abuses.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. But they recognize their own cycle of abuse from the standpoint that they really understand that it’s wrong and they’re not going to do it again or do they simply know how to control it?

Matt Kiely: I think it varies. Some offenders realize it’s wrong through the course of many months and particularly many years of treatment and I think other offenders are along for the ride.

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Matt Kiely: Have no intention of changing.

Leonard Sipes: Which brings us right back to the topic of the program in terms of poligraphy/polygraph tests/lie detector tests.

Matt Kiely: Right.

Leonard Sipes: Now, lie detector tests are not, even though I titled the program lie detector tests for sex offenders, you explained to me at the beginning of the program that’s really a misnomer, that it’s not so much a lie detector test.

Matt Kiely: Right.

Leonard Sipes: And that’s the difficulty in terms of explaining this. But if I called the program poligraphy for sex offenders, nobody’s gonna understand what we’re talking about.

Matt Kiely: Right. No one’s gonna click on that.

Leonard Sipes: So I called it lie detector tests for sex offenders. What is the reality of these tests?

Matt Kiely: Well basically as noted earlier, it detects changes in one’s body. You’re not dealing with detection of lies, but you’re dealing with detection of indications of stress.

Leonard Sipes: Yeah. When I took lie detector tests when I was joining the police department, I took 2, one as a cadet and one before entering as a trooper. It was explained to me that you simply measure certain, I forget the word that they said, but physical responses to your questions. So in other words if I’m there and I’ve got these diodes or whatever the heck they are around my body and if my body gives off these impulses when you say Mr. Sipes have you ever committed a felony. Well then obviously I just had this huge reaction to that question so that leads the investigator to ask additional questions. Is that basically what we’re talking about?

Matt Kiely: Correct. Your body’s gonna react to something you know is incorrect. Similar story in researching this matter. You’re walking down the hall. You and me are walking down the hall having idle conversation. Someone reaches around the corner and fires a gun. Your body’s automatically gonna react.

Leonard Sipes: Right, your body’s gonna react. But lie detector tests are not used as admissible evidence in court correct? That is something that is a finding throughout the country. Do I have that right or wrong?

Matt Kiely: It’s actually incorrect. It is used in some jurisdictions.

Leonard Sipes: Really.

Matt Kiely: Both sides have to agree to it and both sides have to agree on the scientific reliability of it.

Leonard Sipes: Wow. But we do know that in general there are a lot of false positives regarding lie detector tests. To some degree?

Matt Kiely: To some degree certainly. That’s why it’s not on a wide scale approved in every courtroom in this country. Correct.

Leonard Sipes: And that’s simply because if somebody is polygraphing me and they’re basically saying Mr. Sipes have you ever broken the law. Everybody has broken the law at some point either by speeding or when you were 13 years old you took a candy bar or whatever. None of us lives perfectly clean lives. So I could have a response to that, a physiological response. That’s the word I was looking for. I could have a physiological response where I would jerk and move and my eyes would get big or whatever because I’m worried as to how to truthfully answer this question. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m lying. It’s simply means that I have a strong physiological or physical reaction to that question.

Matt Kiely: Right and one of the important parts of the polygraph is the pretest. During the pretest, the polygrapher will over an array of questions with the offender. They could deal with supervision conditions, could deal with your sexual history or could specifically deal with the, as they call the incident of offense, could deal with the offense of record. What the offender was convicted of.

Leonard Sipes: And there what we’re asking are very straightforward questions, what is the time of day, is your name John Doe, were you convicted for this offense. These are pretty much yes or no questions. Correct?

Matt Kiely: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: And you setup that baseline.

Matt Kiely: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: And from that you can judge whether or not there’s a strong physiological reaction to the question that we ask.

Matt Kiely: Right. It will tell us in what areas that the offender is being deceptive and generally the contractors we use will run these reports, will forward their reports to us whether a deception was indicated or a deception was not indicated. If, in instances where deception is indicated, the polygrapher will confront the offender after the polygraph and say question number 1, question number two show signs of deception, do you have anything to say.

Leonard Sipes: Right. Is he still hooked up?

Matt Kiely: No. At that point, it’s basically a post test interview.

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Matt Kiely: The “polygraph is done”.

Leonard Sipes: Okay.

Matt Kiely: It’s over.

Leonard Sipes: Alright.

Matt Kiely: With deception indicated or no deception indicated or in some cases inconclusive where the polygrapher could not get a good judge on the reading, which happens sometimes. But at that point the offender gets a chance to respond. For instance, if the polygrapher said there was deception regarding the number of minors, the polygrapher will kind of dig a little deeper as far as are you sure there were only two in history versus three or 4.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Matt Kiely: And in many instances the offender will admit additional victims. Which basically validates the polygraph test indicating that’s the reason why the deception indicated because it wasn’t two, it turned out to be five or six.

Leonard Sipes: So Matt, how many different kinds of polygraph tests are we talking about.

Matt Kiely: Len, we usually have three. We have the instant offense history which addresses the offense of conviction in conjunction with the official version. We have the sexual history which looks at the entire sex offending behavior of the offender. Then we have the maintenance or the monitoring polygraph which is given to those offenders already on supervision and during the course of supervision to review issues concerning compliance with treatment, compliance with supervision and may adjust supervision controls on the offender should new information come to light.

Leonard Sipes: That’s a lot of polygraph tests.

Matt Kiely: Correct.

Leonard Sipes: Can somebody beat the polygraph test. Now that’s the question inevitably that somebody is going to be asking themselves as their listening to this program. They’re gonna say, I can beat that polygraph test or I’ve heard of people beating the polygraph test.

Matt Kiely: Right.

Leonard Sipes: Can a person beat a polygraph test?

Matt Kiely: Yes anybody can do anything they see fit. We did have one offender that discussed his concerns about the polygraph in the pretest. Admitted that he purchased the book on how to defeat the polygraph. And again that showed his intent was to try to defeat the polygraph. Whether he could have or could not is a different issue.

Leonard Sipes: But somebody told me and this is, I think the advantage that we have in terms of a parole and probation organization, is that it’s not a one shot deal. We polygraph, as you just said, we polygraph these individuals in a variety of different ways. We put them on GPS monitoring which is satellite monitoring. We, in some cases, will have people follow them after hours, at night, that sort of thing. We work with local law enforcement. They’re in a treatment process. We use a, I can never say it correctly, a pisme.

Matt Kiely: Plethysmograph.

Leonard Sipes: Plethysmograph, which is designed to focus on the offender’s arousal mechanisms when he sees certain stimuli. So there’s a whole mess of things that is basically going to tell us whether or not this person is telling the truth and whether or not this person is being honest with us. We don’t rely upon on particular thing. We rely upon a totality of technology to figure out whether or not this person’s a straight shooter. Am I right?

Matt Kiely: Yes. Like you said, we rely on a whole bunch of things. The offender’s autobiographies, you know investigative interviewing, contact with family in conjunction with GPS, surveillance

Leonard Sipes: And in conjunction with his own criminal history.

Matt Kiely: Right.

Leonard Sipes: So we have a pretty dag gone good idea as to who this sex offender is, who this person is as a human being through polygraph tests, through lie detector tests and through all the other technology that we employ because he could lie to us all that he wants. But if he’s hanging out at a school after work, that GPS device is gonna tell us that he’s there and we go back and we find out why he’s there. We can also go in and take a look at his hard drive on his computer correct and we can do that remotely. We can do that from our own offices. So that’s another piece of technology. But I think there was an example one time of an offender who went to a local library and we come to find out that’s where he was trying to log on to sexual related databases. So, there’s a wide variety of tools at our disposal to figure out, you know, whether or not this person’s a straight shooter. Whether or not this person is trying to do the right thing or whether or not he is just another criminal trying to re-offend.

Matt Kiely: Right. And that offender Len, years later gets released, comes back out in the community. This time has additional special conditions placed on his certificate. One of which he could not access the internet. We questioned him in connection with GPS; the CSO questioned him about his location in Maryland. The offender admitted he was visiting an uncle. The CSO followed up, spoke with the uncle, spoke with the niece. They had a computer. Found out it had internet access. They both stated that the offender was on the computer. We brought our IT department up there. Could not find any internet access activity, but we did find a letter in which the offender was writing an inmate which is another violation of his conditions which clearly stated that he was about to give up and run. He was tired of the GPS tag on his ankle and so forth. Eventually that evidence in conjunction with everything else supported revocation which the offender was sentenced to two more years in the institution.

Leonard Sipes: Good. Good for us. Anything else that I have forgotten because part of the discussion has been on sex offenders generically, part of it has been on the lie detector process. So I guess I should ask am I missing anything regarding lie detectors or the larger issue of supervising sex offenders.

Matt Kiely: No, we kind of covered it. It is probably one of the best tools we have and I can show you in another quick example. When an offender who had completed treatment, he had gone through two plus years. He was a pedophile so he was extremely high risk. But he had gone through the whole treatment and part of treatment after care is maintenance polygraphs every six month.

Leonard Sipes: Oh really.

Matt Kiely: So he’s referred back to treatment.

Leonard Sipes: We don’t give up do we?

MATT KIElY: No. We continue to work with them because we realize this is with some offenders, it’s a cycle.

Leonard Sipes: Yes. It’s a sexual predisposition.

Matt Kiely: Right and the offender was referred back to the treatment provider for a few meetings with the psychologist to go over a pre-polygraph interview and when questioned if he would be able to pass the polygraph, the offender hesitated and said I don’t know. And this is an offender who had previously passed his two previous polygraphs which is a big sign of a problem. He engaged the offender in conversation and we learned through the psychologist later on that basically the offender had communicated with a 17, 18 year old on the internet. That was that Thursday. That Monday we conducted a search at the offender’s apartment. Found 150 individual MySpace page photos, pornography. Found a photo of the offender in New York City which is a violation of his conditions. We wrote the violation report on a Wednesday; the commission issued a warrant on Thursday. The offender came into the office on a Friday for his regular visit and the warrant was executed.

Leonard Sipes: Sure. Sure. So I guess the lesson is that you can fool us every once in a while, but you’re not going to be able to fool us consistently.

Matt Kiely: Certainly.

Leonard Sipes: Matt Kiely, supervisory community supervision officer with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, thank you, and ladies and gentlemen thank you for listening to D.C. Public Safety. Look at our website if you will,, for TV shows, other radio shows, and articles about our sex offender unit. Please have yourselves a very pleasant day.

(Audio Ends)


Education Programs for Offenders

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Leondard Sipes: Hi and welcome to D.C. Public Safety. I’m your host Len Sipes. Our program today deals with educational programs for offenders and their families. It’s an effort to reach out not only to offenders but their family as well and provide a holistic approach to the issue of education whether that is purely an education program and starting to teach a person how to read, an 8th grade certificate, a GED or vocational programs. At our microphones today is Christine Keels. Christine is the executive assistant for the vocational opportunities, education and employment program we call it VOTEE. Letressa Early is here and Letressa is a learning lab specialist and Bonnie Andrews is a victim services program manager. Christine and Letressa and Bonnie, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Christine Keels: Thank you.

Leondard Sipes: Okay the first questions are going to go to Christine Keels and by the way ladies and gentlemen, Christine has been involved in the criminal justice system. She and I came from the Maryland system before coming over to work for the federal government. Christine has been involved in these sort of endeavors for a long time. She is one smart son of a gun who really knows the subject well and an honor to finally have Christine Keels at our microphones. Christine, give me an over view of todays program. Educational programs for offenders and their families. What’s that all about?

Christine Keels: Well, today we are proud to be able to have the opportunity to come and share this information about a very important program in VOTEE called the adult family literacy program and the goal of that program is to bring together ex-offenders and their families in a holistic education process. So, we focus on adult based education and GED for the adult ex-offender and then we focus on tutorial services for the children of the ex-offender while also incorporating parenting skills and pro-social cultural excursion types of activities.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, so give that all in a layman friendly point of view. So, we’re helping people coming out of the prison system. People who are on probation learn how to read, learn how to write, getting their GED, and we’re involving their families in these endeavors as well.

Christine Keels: It’s family reintegration and it’s community preservation.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, so why families? I mean, there is a lot of controversy in the United States about programs for ex-offenders. We believe in a programmatic approach. I mean we supervise offenders very very strongly. There is a lot of accountability here at CSOSA. We have some of the lowest case loads in the country, some of the highest levels of contact in the country, we have a ton of community contact with individual offenders, we drug test the dickens out of them, but at the same time we state that we believe that it’s just not an issue of holding them accountable and just not an issue of watching them; you’ve got to have programs for the mental health offenders for example. Does anybody really doubt that a person coming out of prison who has a mental health problem and the research now indicates that over 50% of offenders are claiming mental health problems. Does anybody really believe that a person with schizophrenia is not going to go out and re-victimize somebody without treatment? So this whole concept of programs, this whole concept of doing other things besides watching them, besides holding them accountable, is important not only to us but it’s important to public safety, correct?

Christine Keels: That’s correct. As stated, in the criminal justice system, there has been a movement towards looking at ways to reintegrate; reenter is the popular term now, ex-offenders into their communities and their families. As you know CSOSA is not always going to be around in that person’s life. Eventually they will finish supervision and so we need to be able to bridge that gap so that when they leave our custody and care, they have reintegrated back into their community and they have restored their relationships with their family. We hope to be able to find a comfort zone in the family and community which will help them to be able to find the right path.

Leondard Sipes: And that comfort zone involves your particular program. You have learning labs through out the city of Washington D.C. and what you do is to involve that individual from an educational point of view and from a vocational point of view. The thing that really impresses me about your operations is that you assess the dickens out of them. You sit down and do a complete workup so you know who that person is and where that person is educationally and vocationally so you can design a program to meet his or her specific needs correct?

Christine Keels: That’s correct. That’s correct and in doing that assessment we’re focusing on education and employment but of course we learn about other variables which might include housing and may include healthcare issues or it may include victimization which is one of the important reasons why we connected our victim services program to our vocational opportunity training education and employment system.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, well that’s the perfect segway to go over to Bonnie Andrews and Latresse, I’m going to get to you in a second but Bonnie, and you’re the victim services program manager for us. We are the court services and offender supervision agency. We are the federal agency. We are the parole and probation authority if you will for the District of Columbia. Now, you are a victim services program manager. You’re also I must say before we go on that you are the employee of the year?

Bonnie Andrews: Yes.

Leondard Sipes: And so you’re not only the victim services program manager, you are employee of the year. Now you do 2 things. You help individuals outside of our system who have been victimized by the offenders who we supervise but you’re also providing victim services to the offenders that we supervise, correct?

Bonnie Andrews: That’s correct.

Leondard Sipes: That’s an interesting position on victim services.

Bonnie Andrews: Well, some of the offenders that we supervise at CSOSA, they have been victimized prior to coming on probation or prior to being incarcerated.

Leondard Sipes: Explain to me victimization because the research will say that the great majority of them have been victims of crime themselves but are we talking about them being victims of crime or are we talking about childhood abuse and neglect when the grew up?

Bonnie Andrews: Well, that’s a crime in itself.

Leondard Sipes: Right, but there’s a difference between being robbed and not being properly parented when they were 8 years old.

Bonnie Andrews: Well if a person is identified to our program as being a victim in crime regardless of whether they are the defender or the victim of the offender, they are processed the same in the same manner. We do complete needs assessment and try to determine what type of needs will help them with the healing process and being a victim of crime. The crime may be being a childhood victim of abuse, neglect, to being an adult victim of domestic violence or armed robbery, car jacking, the survivor of a homicide, or seeing on of their loved ones killed in front of them so the crime, those types of crimes may vary from person to person and it really doesn’t matter what type of crime that person has experienced, we will service that person regardless of whether their an offender or.

Leondard Sipes: I had a conversation with another employee of the court services and offender supervision agency describing high risk drug offenders and what she said to me was that these individuals are battled, scarred veterans. They’ve seen so many of their friends victimized, they’ve seen so many of their friends injured, knifed, shot at, shot, and murdered that in many cases the people caught up in what we call the game or caught up in criminality or caught up in the lifestyle come away from that experience almost like a victim of a war.

Bonnie Andrews: PTSD, that’s what you’re referring to.

Leondard Sipes: Yes, and lets explain what PTSD is or I’m not quite sure I said that correctly. Post traumatic stress syndrome.

Bonnie Andrews: Exactly.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, and so this whole issue of being involved in the lifestyle takes a toll regardless of where they came from.

Bonnie Andrews: From our perspective, any time a person has had a life altering or has been involved in a life altering situation whether they witnessed a crime or they had been directly involved in a crime or the victim of a crime, it’s going to change their life drastically. The different between myself and someone else that experiences the same crime will be our skills, our coping skills and our ability to get through that crime or maybe our support systems that we wrap ourselves or that’s wrapped around us.

Leondard Sipes: A part of this discussion on programs, not only educational and vocational programs, but programs in general is trying to I guess get across to the public and in many ways a very skeptical public because a lot of people out there say whoa wait a minute, you know, we can’t afford programs for our schools. Money should be going towards our kids and the people who listen to my podcast here hear this refrain a lot. Money should be going to the elderly. Money shouldn’t be going to “criminals”. I’m trying to make a case here.

Bonnie Andrews: But we can’t afford not to.

Leondard Sipes: Well why is that?

Bonnie Andrews: Either we put the money into these offenders now or we’ll do it later.

Leondard Sipes: Meaning what?

Bonnie Andrews: Either way we are going to have to find a way to rehabilitate offenders in order to keep our community safe.

Leondard Sipes: Right, okay.

Bonnie Andrews: So we can do it up front.

Leondard Sipes: If they don’t get the programs they need, they’re going to go out and do these crimes again.

Bonnie Andrews: More than likely.

Leondard Sipes: But again, in terms of this victimization issue and how it pertains to educational and vocational programs, the research I’ve read, and probably the great majority of offenders that I’ve talked to, especially the female offenders, tell me that they’ve basically raised themselves and they come from a background of childhood abuse and neglect. Woman offenders have higher rates of substance abuse. Women offenders have an astounding higher rates of sexual violence directed towards them as children. Not necessarily by family members but it’s not unusual for it to be by family members. The individuals who we deal with are complex and multifaceted and they need this multifaceted help that we’re talking about today and I’m not making excuses for them for the public who are listening to this program. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to prison for 20 years because you’ve committed a series of armed robberies, but I’m simply stating what I believe is true. That they come from extraordinary and troubled backgrounds.

Bonnie Andrews: A lot of the offenders that we see in our parenting group have come from either single family homes or homes that were inundated with drug use or alcoholism. They’ve been victims of childhood, some type of childhood crimes.

Leondard Sipes: Right.

Christine Keels: Whether it’s sex abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and they have virtually as you’ve said, have raised themselves.

Leondard Sipes: And what I always refer to as self raised issues, this is my own personal opinion, you all can feel free to agree or disagree, but in many offenders there’s that sense of anger. There’s that deep seated sense of anger and I think most of that deep seated sense of anger comes from raising themselves.

Bonnie Andrews: Well let me share just real quick one story that I have, one offender that was in a recent group of mine. This person was only, I think, maybe in his early 20s and his father had been incarcerated for most of his childhood and everytime his father would go in and out of prison, his mother would become very sick, as he described her being sick, but when he went onto describe her illness, she was actually depressed and she wouldn’t get out of bed for weeks and months at a time so other family members, the extended family had to come in a provide these children, I think it was 4 or 5 children, with resources like food, money, things of that nature. Well after a while the extended family got tired of doing this. You know the first time the father went in, the second time it was okay, but by the third time, so this very young boy, he may have been 12 at the time when he started selling drugs because he felt it was his responsibility to take care of his family. So at 12 years old you have this child out on the streets selling drugs trying to make money to buy food, keep the lights on, keep the water on. Now this is not just one story. I hear this story over and over and over again in our group.

Leondard Sipes: Oh, so have I. Let’s get this back to the issue of programs, and we’re going to go to Letressa Early. Letressa, have been pronouncing your name correct? I’m not quite sure if I have or not. Letressa? We go back to this whole issue of programs Letressa from the stand point that people say, I don’t want to give a dime to criminals. Give it to the elderly, give it to the school kids, give it to whoever but without these programs, without your programs in particular, the educational and vocational programs along with the drug treatment that we do, along with anger management that we do, and along with lots of other programs that we offer. As well as the extraordinarily intense supervision and drug testing, these individuals are not going to do well. Correct? They’re not going to do well under supervision without your programs?

Latressa Early: Exactly.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, now give me a sense of your program. What you do is that you bring individuals in for educational and vocational assessment and assistance and at the same time, on a Saturday we provide educational services to the entire family, correct?

Latressa Early: Yes we do.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, now why do we do that?

Latressa Early: We want to create a holistic approach as far as the family is concerned. We want to be able to allow the family to participate in some of the activities that the children are doing. We want to bring them together by, we’re working with them as far a educational levels. We want to increase the math and the reading levels for the students as well as increasing those levels for the parents as well.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, so the parents and the 2 kids and the mom because 85% of our offenders are male. I’m not be stereotypical, I’m simply saying that 85 % are male, so does the mom come as well?

Latressa Early: Yes, anyone is invited to come.

Leondard Sipes: So the father, the mother, and the 2 kids come in on a Saturday and do what?

Latressa Early: Well it truly depends. They can spend up to 2 hours. They can spend up to a half a day. We try to do this work with them in the beginning on academics. So, we work with them and with reading and math and trying to increase their educational levels while our community based partners work with the children doing the exact same thing to tutoring the children as far as increasing their reading and math levels.

Leondard Sipes: Are we seeing this obviously as not an individual offender, but we’re seeing this as a family?

Latressa Early: Yes we are.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, and that is so incredibly important, the research, in terms of the kids getting involved in criminal activity when a parent is incarcerated is considerable. I’ve seen ungodly percentage increases of the kids being involved in criminal activity when the parent goes to prison and there’s a lot of acting out on the part of both girls and boys because of the anger that they express that the parent is not in the house. So, this brings the entire family together, not just from the standpoint, I’m guessing, from an educational point of view, it’s as if you are saying that this is a family problem and we have to solve this problem as a family.

Latressa Early: Exactly. We not only concentrate on the academics part, we concentrate on parenting, we do mentoring, and then we bring the parents and the children together at the end.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, mentoring meaning who? Who mentors them?

Latressa Early: Our community based organization.

Leondard Sipes: Is that part of our faith based operation?

Latressa Early: Yes it is.

Leondard Sipes: Now who is working with the kids?

Latressa Early: Concerned Black Men.

Leondard Sipes: Concerned Black Men is working with the kids and what do they do?

Latressa Early: Well they provide programs. What they do, I know, is that they recently had a daddy day out program where the fathers and the children went to the blacks and wax museum and kind of gave the mother a break. You know, if the mother is the primary care taker, and they sponsor those free of charge. They also provide counseling for the family as a whole and they do other activities even in the city, going to Anacostia Park, you know, just a day for the family.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, so this is pretty neat I would say because it’s just not us, it just not the federal government if you will doing this but we have faith based mentors doing this on a volunteer basis, we have Concerned Black Men of D.C. who are doing this on a volunteer basis, and is anybody else involved in it?

Latressa Early: Covenant Baptist Church.

Leondard Sipes: Covenant Baptist Church is where it’s being held.

Latressa Early: And they do the Saturday mentoring.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, so they do the Saturday mentoring. So, its faith based from the fact that it’s at Covenant, the fact that we have our faith based mentors, Concerned Black Men of D.C., they’re doing it, and anybody else? Christine Keels?

Christine Keels: Of course we have a focus with the school system in South East Washington. We’ve met with the principles over a year ago and received buy in from the principles that they would work with the offenders and with the children and that’s a real big plus for us to know that the D.C. School System is committed to supporting the project.

Leondard Sipes: And if we’re talking about educational endeavors, I would imagine that D.C. schools would have to be involved.

Christine Keels: Of course.

Leondard Sipes: Do we use their curriculum by the way?

Christine Keels: No, at this time we’re not using their curriculum but we’re using a curriculum that Covenant Baptist Church has purchased.

Leondard Sipes: Wow, I didn’t know that. So Covenant Baptist Church purchased a curriculum and they’re using the curriculum.

Christine Keels: Yes.

Leondard Sipes: That’s quite a commitment.

Christine Keels: And the children are integrated in with the general population. Anyone can walk into Covenant Baptist Church and be a part of the Saturday school program.

Leondard Sipes: Okay, so it’s a Saturday school program for our offenders or is it just our offenders participating.

Christine Keels: It’s our offenders participating.

Leondard Sipes: So this is an existing program on the part of Covenant?

Christine Keels: Exactly, as I said early, we want our offenders when they walk away from CSOSA to have some programs in the community that they’re already familiar with and begin to network and begin to use the resources that are available in our community.

Leondard Sipes: Tell me about some of the actions on the part of offenders because you know it’s a double edged sword when we talk about offenders. Yeah, they’ve committed lots of crimes, they have in many cases considerable criminal histories, they have considerable psychological issues for all the different reasons that we talked about, so part of me says, yes, we have to be honest about that and talk about that because that’s the heart and soul of the problem we’re dealing with and part of me has to say, and again nobody’s disagreeing that individuals who do crimes do time. Nobody’s disagreeing with punishment. Nobody’s disagreeing with putting them in the prison system if necessary, but in the same time, many offenders when they come out do come to that point in their lives where they say, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Especially the heroine addicts as you and I knew about in Baltimore

Christine Keels: That’s correct.

Leondard Sipes: That’s the term that they use all the time. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and they want to change and their anxious to change. I’m guessing that the offenders that you’re dealing with in many cases are anxious to change. If they’re willing to bring their kids, if they’re willing to being their spouse, my guess is, and if they’re willing to approach this problem as a family, my guess is that these particular offenders are ready for change.

Christine Keels: That’s correct. Let me first talk about an environmental change. Coming to Covenant Baptist Church gives them an opportunity to see a community based program that’s committed to working with them. Covenant Baptist Church is a unique church in the district because they’re entire sanctuary is of a stained glass décor is all around African America History so those persons who are a part of our program get a chance to get in touch with their African American culture while being in the church. Everyone of the church staff is very supportive. The parenting class that Ms. Andrews offers is actually held in one of the youth rooms so what it does is begin to help the offender expand their mind to see that here’s a church that offers a youth program so my teenage child has a place to go rather than hanging out on the street so an environmental change. Then the second thing is to see governmental workers in a different format. Seeing government workers coming out at night, teaching a parenting class, sharing some of their personal experiences.

Leondard Sipes: Are we talking about your staff?

Christine Keels: I’m talking about my staff, Bobbie Andrews, employee of the year.

Leondard Sipes: They don’t have to come out at night do they?

Christine Keels: That’s right. In fact this is not even…

Leondard Sipes: People need to understand this that that’s done on a volunteer basis.

Christine Keels: That’s one of the reasons why she’s employee of the year is that she made this commitment to see this program get started and has really committed to using her social work background to ensure that we have the best therapeutic care.

Leondard Sipes: There we go.

Christine Keels: And also I think when we move beyond environment, we look at support groups, we see governmental officials in a different light, there’s also the important thing of seeing Concerned Black Men. A community program that’s committed to helping build families. I don’t want us to brush over this cultural excursion piece because it’s important to understand that for families who have grown up perhaps in a very tight community where they’re weren’t opportunities to be able to leave their particular community. To have a program that’s willing to invest money that they have received as a nonprofit, to be able to expand horizons, is very important. To know that one can live beyond Southeast D.C. or Northwest D.C., that there’s a greater world out there. So what it does is helps the family, particularly the parents, begin to vision what they want their children to do in the future.

Leondard Sipes: Now, people listening to this beyond the District of Columbia are going to wonder what the heck you’re talking about. It’s a different world out there. This is the nations capital. This is the world’s capital. Are you suggesting that there are 2 D.C.s?

Christine Keels: No, what I’m suggesting is perhaps a child in the district may not realize that there are corn fields out in Iowa and that this gives them a chance to be able to see through all of our museums here in the city, what the rest of the world looks like.

Leondard Sipes: What a beautiful answer.

Christine Keels: Yes and also I just want to say to that, I just really feel that this cultural excursion piece along with holistic education which includes parenting skills, adult basic education, looking at some of what our issues are. You know you talk about why would an average citizen or person in this world want to invest money into an offender? You’ve already invested money in public education, maybe they didn’t take advantage of it, maybe there were learning disabilities, maybe there were issues that prevented them from being able to take advantage of it.

Leondard Sipes: And by the way, we haven’t touched that. That issue we talked before the program and the connection between substance abuse, the connection between not being properly parented and learning disabilities which makes your job, providing that 8th grade certificate, that reading certificate, that GED even more difficult.

Christine Keels: Right, but it would make it difficult for any citizen in that particular situation.

Leondard Sipes: Right, exactly.

Christine Keels: But for the ex-offender I want to say, you know, in our society we’re willing to reinvest in everything but another human being. We’ll reinvest in our cars, we’ll reinvest in our homes, we’ll reinvest in our property, and we see it as a burden to be able to reinvest in a human being but what a great investment. So we pay for public education, they didn’t get everything they needed at that level, so now we’re paying with federal dollars to ensure that they get what’s needed on an adult level but look at the adult literacy concept. What it does is helps us to do that double investment and then have that investment pay off in the life of that child. We don’t want that child to go down the same path. We want that child to see their parent seeing to get a good education, to get skills, to get a career, to move to a better neighborhood, to buy that car that they’ve always envisioned. We want that child to see that parent be progressive so that that child will learn how to critically think and live in a progressive world.

Leondard Sipes: And the bottom line that I like is once again, it is a family endeavor.

Christine Keels: Yes.

Leondard Sipes: We always talk about the offenders, but those offenders, 9 times out of 10, 8 times out of 10, are connected to kids.

Christine Keels: That’s right.

Leondard Sipes: They are legally, ethically, morally responsible for, so by helping him or helping her, you in many cases help 2 or 3 kids along the way as well.

Christine Keels: That’s right.

Leondard Sipes: So a rising tide lifts all boats if he does well, if she does well, then they can take care of their kids and then it solves a broader problem, solves a broader issue.

Christine Keels: Well my vision is out of this parenting class and as adult learning center, that we might see the next future president and so we may be grooming the next president for the United States of America without realizing that. We may be grooming the next ambassador. We may be grooming the next head of the UN so we want to be able to give that child everything that we can give them and if it means giving the parent the kid of tools that they need to be the most effective parent, to be the most effective provider.

Leondard Sipes: Because we teach them that.

Christine Keels: That’s right.

Leondard Sipes: We never got onto that I think throughout the entire program and we’re running out of time. We do parenting skills. We teach them how to be a better parent.

Christine Keels: Excellent parenting skills and I’d like to turn to Bonnie Andrews so she can talk a little bit about her therapeutic approach. Lens looking at his watch.

Leondard Sipes: Well Bonnie’s going to have to address it in about a minute or so because we’re running out of time. Bonnie parenting skills.

Bonnie Andrews: For the most part we use realistic therapy, reality therapy. We gage that person where they are, we encourage the offender to bring their children with them so that we can see who they interact with their children and address their parenting skills. Not necessarily about how to be a better parent but to teach better parenting skills.

Leondard Sipes: To teach what they may not have gotten at home.

Bonnie Andrews: Exactly. To break that cycle. It wasn’t at home because it wasn’t there to be gotten. For whatever reason, they had a missing parent.

Leondard Sipes: That’s my point. Anything else?

Bonnie Andrews: Yes, it is a lot.

Leondard Sipes: Well save that for another because I do want to have you Bonnie back for a specific program on the victim services part here at CSOSA but I think, Christine, do you think that does it, Letressa, do you think that does it?

Leondard Sipes: Okay ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to wrap up. This is D.C. Public Safety. Our guests to day have been Christine Keels the Executive Assistant for the Educational Opportunities, Vocational Opportunities, Educational Employment Program, Letressa Early who is a Learning Lab Specialist and Bonnie Andrews Victim Services Program Manager. I’m Len Sipes, I am the Senior Public Affairs Specialist. Look at our website if you would please, for all of the radio and televisions shows that we do and for additional information about the court services and offender supervision agency. Please have yourselves a pleasant day.


Partnerships With Law Enforcement/CSOSA Awards Ceremony

This Radio Program is available at

See for “DC Public Safety” Radio and Television Shows, Blog and Transcripts

See for the web site for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency

(Audio begins)

Leonard Sipes: Hi and welcome to D.C. Public Safety. I’m your host Len Sipes. The annual CSOSA award ceremony is taking place today, on November 13th, 2007. We’re in a big downtown hotel in Washington, D.C. Principle speakers today are Paul Quander, the Director of CSOSA and Winston Robinson, the Deputy Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department. Now, we have an array of award winners recorded today and the primary emphasis of the show is the variety of tasks that Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency is involved in; in many cases within partnership with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department so sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Paul Quander: One of our main partners is the Metropolitan Police Department. A couple of weeks ago, this agency along with a number of other agencies both local and federal, took part in an event called Fugitive Safe Surrender and what that event encompassed was a whole group of agencies and let me just give you the agencies. From the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Superior Court Pretrial, the Public Defenders Service, also the Attorney General, the United States Parole Commission, the Metropolitan Police Department, OCTO, which is the Officer of the Chiefs Technology Office for the District of Columbia, the United States Marshall Service, Department of Corrections, and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Counsel, along with a faith institution, Bible Way Church decided that it would be a very good idea to do a joint effort so that we can get men and women or were on the fugitive status to come in, off of the street, out of the cold, and to come on back in and because of this agency commitment, because of this agency’s ability to make it all happen, it was a resounding success. You’re some real bad people because no event like this has ever been undertaken before in the history of the District of Columbia and there were a lot of people that said, no it can’t be done. You can’t get a church to open its doors. Now, churches may talk a good game but it’s one thing to talk and it’s another thing to actually open their doors to men and women who really need the service on the day other than Sunday, but we were able to do that. They said that you can’t get all the computers and the IT system together in order to make it all work, but I had a little secret. I’ve got a mean IT department here at CSOSA and I knew that if we gave them the challenge that they could put it together, and they did. They said you won’t be able to coordinate all the facilities and everything else that needs to be done to make this work but I had another little secret, I’m the Director of a great agency and we can do anything that we put our minds to. And then they said you won’t be able to get the men and women to come in but we do that day in and day out with the CSO and CSS so I knew in the back of my mind that we could do this. The only trick was to convince all the others that we could but when that door opened on that Thursday and those men and women started to come in and people from the Superior Court and all of our other partners were there working as one, then I knew that this agency had hit it’s mark and hit its mark in a very big way and the only way that we could have succeeded was because of all of you in this room because you didn’t ask any questions, you didn’t give any doubt, when I called you just said Mr. Quander, we’re going to be there and we’re going to do this and you did. You have to remember that this agency is only 10 years old. Only 10 years old and you have demonstrated throughout the course of this year and others, just how significant you are to criminal justice in this city. Take a moment and think about that. 10 years back, we weren’t even here and now this agency, because of you, are major players and that’s significant because a lot of you got into this work to make a difference in the lives of men and women in this city. A lot of you went to school to say, I want to come back to my community or to a community and to help out and very rarely do we get the opportunity but you’ve taken that opportunity, you’ve seized on it, and you make a difference to the lives of the men and women that come across our doorsteps everyday but more importantly, to their parents, their children, and to our community and it’s a wonderful thing. You don’t get rich financially in this type of work. It helps every now and then when you’re acknowledged and you get a couple of dollars in your pocket, but the thing that is everlasting is that spirit and that feeling that you get in your heart when you know that you’ve done a good job and you know that your fellow man is in a better position because you have taken that extra step and this award ceremony today is to acknowledge that extra step that you have taken throughout this year and often times we’re not there to say thank you when you do the work, when you put in the long hours, when you go home and you have to unload on your family, and they have to listen to that days work. We’re not there in the evenings to early mornings when you get up because you want to get to work a little early to do what you have to do, to get your day started but we are here today to say thank you and to acknowledge all that you have done. This has been a dream job for me because I enjoy coming to work everyday because I know what it is that we do and I know the value that we bring but it also gives me a good place in my heart to be surrounded by men and women who exemplify professionalism, who exemplify getting their job done, who exemplify being the best that they possibly can be. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel proud to be the director of this agency so as a director; I just need to give you a simple word. Thank you. Thanks so very much for all that you do day in and day out. I’m going to take a minute and talk about one of our partners in particular and that’s the Metropolitan Police Department because we realized early on that we could not do the work that we have to do by ourselves and we reached out and we reached out to the big boys on the block because we talk about criminal justice in this city, you have to talk about the Metropolitan Police Department and as a new agency, when we reached out to them, they said yeah. Let’s do these accountability tours. Let’s meet with the commanders regularly so we can exchange information. If you have a problem, then we have a problem and they’ve been right there by our side day in, day out, so please give them a round of applause for what they’ve done. And recognition of our partnership and the efforts that we have made to move public safety to a new direction, I would like to ask Assistant Chief Winston Robinson to come forward and to accept on behalf of Chief Cathy Lanier this award for our partnership efforts to further public safety in the District of Columbia.

Winston Robinson: I’m glad to be here today. I’m looking at all these faces. I remember 10 years ago, there weren’t that many faces. My district at that time was 7D and we were a pilot district for CSOSA to begin the new venture of community policing with us and our PSA we selected was 704 and I’d like to tell you 704, the first year had a 45% decrease in crime followed by a 21% the next year. So, I know first hand the success that CSOSA has made in the lives of its citizens and I know a lot of the inmates who are returning now. Some we arrested some I went to school with and grew up with and their lives hopefully will improve with your help. The work you do is invaluable, I mean, you make a difference in a lot of folks lives so keep your work going. The Chief is committed to CSOSA. Mr. Quander is an outstanding U.S. Attorney. He’s an outstanding Director of CSOSA, is that right? Give him a round and we’re committed to work with CSOSA to do whatever we can to improve the lives of the citizens and of the returnees and of course to make your work safe for you so thank you.

Interviews with award winners:

Leonard Sipes: Hi, could you give me your name please?

Catherine Terri Crusor: Hi, I’m Catherine Terri Crusor.

Leonard Sipes: And Catherine Terri Crusor, why did you win today’s award ceremony? Why were you recognized?

Catherine Terri Crusor: It’s great to be appreciated first of all for the work that we do. In the last year, I’ve been reassigned to manage the Sex Offender Supervision, General Supervision Service’s branch and during that year, I have been successful in coordinating initiatives within the 5th district, sex offender supervision activities, and the GPS monitoring unit in terms of efficient operations of those programs so I was acknowledged today for that accomplishment.

Leonard Sipes: Now, you now have over 600 individuals on a daily basis involved in GPS. You have been involved in one of the most difficult units in terms of the sex offender unit and you’re also instrumental about putting on an extremely well-attending conference on special supervision including sex offenders, mental health offenders, and domestic violence offenders.

Catherine Terri Crusor: Yes, that has been some of my accomplishments over the year and with the efforts of my colleagues, and very dedicated community supervision officers and other partners within the agency, we’ve been able to achieve a great deal in the last year and particularly in the area of GPS, we’ve done a great job in building up that program and now we service as you say in excess of 300 offenders with the success of the managers and programs so it’s been a good run this year. I look forward to continue work with CSOSA. It’s a great organization and agency and to know that they take time out of their busy work to acknowledge us is very appreciated.

Leonard Sipes: Thank you very much.

Catherine Terri Crusor: Thank you Len.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, give me your name.

Christine Keels: Chris Keels.

Leonard Sipes: And Chris why did you get the award today?

Christine Keels: I received an award for a special act which was involving, developing, employment partnerships for our agency for the offenders that we supervise.

Leonard Sipes: And one of the key ingredients of successful community supervision is to do exactly that, is to find employment opportunities for them and to provide training correct?

Christine Keels: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: And give me a little bit about the unit that you were involved in, VOTTE?

Christine Keels: VOTTE is a vocational opportunities, training, education, and employment and in this past year, we’ve had a wonderful opportunity with Giant Supermarket to provide 100 opportunities for offenders to be employed and so we were able to fill 92 of those positions, and we’re very proud of that.

Leonard Sipes: Now you’ve sense left VOTEE and went over to another unit correct?

Christine Keels: Yes, now I’m working with a faith based initiative which means helping to provide mentors for ex-offenders from the faith based community and so we’ve developed a work team and our work team received an award today so we’re very proud of that. We’re responsible for reaching out to the community and developing relationships and resources for ex-offenders. Of that includes mentors.

Leonard Sipes: And both key ingredients with jobs, job training, and mentors for offenders from the religious community, from the faith based community, those are 2 extraordinary big challenges.

Christine Keels: Yes, and I’m excited to be a part of both programs. It’s been a very good year. I think CSOSA has really put itself on the map in terms of innovative and creative ways to meet the needs of ex-offenders as they reenter into the community.

Leonard Sipes: Chris Keels, thank you very much.

Christine Keels: You’re welcome.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, could you give me your name please?

James Lanier: I’m James R. Lanier.

Leonard Sipes: And Jim, you gave out awards today to your team for what reason.

James Lanier: We have teams that really deal with the offenders in terms of reentry and so the folks who had done a great job for us got awards. We gave them awards for their work on reentry in terms of substance abuse and criminality.

Leonard Sipes: Now, you’ve run the reentry and sanction center. It is now a national if not internationally renounced organization. We have an entire building that we rehabbed in Washington D.C. that takes individuals with extremely long criminal histories and also drug histories and we try to help them when they come out of the prison system, we try to help them adjust to the realities of their substance abuse and start the treatment process, correct?

James Lanier: That is correct. We have offenders who are returning from incarceration, from all across the country who have to have an adjustment period to reenter into the community and so we spend that time doing an assessment, a needs assessment, a risk assessment, and then make recommendations as to how they can successfully reenter into the community.

Leonard Sipes: And from there they go to, ordinarily, they go to an inhouse drug treatment program and then outpatient drug treatment, correct?

James Lanier: That is correct. We try to get them stabilized to a drug treatment program. We have those needs assessed and those risks that we have identified, we try to give them wrap around services that will address their substance abuse and their criminality.

Leonard Sipes: And a couple earlier evaluations of this program indicate a substantial reductions in terms of arrests, correct?

James Lanier: That is correct. In fact, I’m so happy to report that last week, we got the results from our 2002 recidivism program and we reduced recidivism by 67%.

Leonard Sipes: Now, that’s amazing. Reducing recidivism by 67%.

James Lanier: That is correct. That is a study that will be released officially next week but it was released last week to us.

Leonard Sipes: Great. Thank you Jim.

James Lanier: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, and give me your name please?

Mary Anderson: Mary Anderson.

Leonard Sipes: And Mary Anderson, what do you do?

Mary Anderson: I’m the web content manager.

Leonard Sipes: And that’s a really really really modest because what you do is redesign websites, a new redesign website for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency as well as doing the website for Fugitive Safe Surrender. You got an award today. Why did you get the award for today?

Mary Anderson: Well actually I got a performance award and I got a special achievement award for my help with the special observances committee.

Leonard Sipes: And how long have you been at work for CSOSA?

Mary Anderson: Since April 99.

Leonard Sipes: And what do you think? I mean you are the heart and soul of the technological public face of CSOSA in terms of the websites that you developed, in terms of the special website that you developed for Fugitive Safe Surrender. I mean your contributions are endless.

Mary Anderson: Well, thank you. It’s just part of my job.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, well thank you. Hi, can you tell me your name please?

Paul Washington: My name is Paul Washington.

Leonard Sipes: And Paul why did you get the award for today?

Paul Washington: My team, team 43, diagnostic received an award today for team service.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, now what is the Diagnostic Unit and what do you do?

Paul Washington: The Diagnostic Unit creates the PSIs for the agency.

Leonard Sipes: And PSI is presentence investigation.

Paul Washington: Presentence investigation, correct.

Leonard Sipes: So most of the offenders in D.C. Superior Court, when they are to be sentenced, do get presentence investigation, investigative reports, correct?

Paul Washington: Yes they do and the presentence report is a report that’s prepared to get a background history of the offender, kind of assess the offenders risks and needs to the community and provide the judiciary with a recommendation for sentencing.

Leonard Sipes: Which is the backbone of the whole sentencing process?

Paul Washington: Exactly, exactly because most of or all of the supervision officers, they rely on the presentence report prior to seeing the offender in order to manage the offender and determine how that offender is supervised.

Leonard Sipes: Thank you very much.

Paul Washington: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, could you give me your name please?

Tasha Trotter: Tasha Trotter.

Leonard Sipes: And Tasha why did you get the award for today?

Tasha Trotter: The award I just received is a special achievement award for the branch 2A supervisors.

Leonard Sipes: And why was that? Why did you get the award?

Tasha Trotter: Well, I think it was working as a team and supervisors in branch 2A coming up with different ideas to better help the teams ban together and better help to come up with programs to help the offenders. We do things all year. We did a conference in Las Vegas at the National Association Forensic Counselors and we worked on that as a team. Various ones worked on the PowerPoint’s, worked on the presentation, but we all worked together so that the branch remained in really good standing.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, so the bottom line is what the branch is being recognized for is finding new and unique ways to make sure that the offenders under our supervision get the services they need.

Tasha Trotter: Well said Len, well said. That’s exactly what we do.

Leonard Sipes: Also, I wanted to point out the fact that you were a public affairs officer at the Fugitive Safe Surrender program and you were there among 6 others to help handle the media. How did you feel about that?

Tasha Trotter: I really enjoyed the experience. I really enjoyed it. I did a lot. I had one of the reporter from the Washington Post call since then to ask about some of the things CSOSA does and a lot of the things that we were spearheading in the community.

Leonard Sipes: And you are a supervisory community supervision officer and you’ve been a supervisor for how long?

Tasha Trotter: Gosh, I’ve been a supervisor for maybe 2 years, 2.5 years.

Leonard Sipes: Right, and before that you were a community supervision officer out in the field working directly with offenders both on parole and probation.

Tasha Trotter: Yes I was.

Leonard Sipes: And what are your general reflections about dealing with offenders?

Tasha Trotter: I love it. I love it. Everyday, I love it, that’s why I do it.

Leonard Sipes: And it’s one of the most difficult things, jobs, anybody could possibly have.

Tasha Trotter: You know, difficult or challenging. It’s a challenge. It’s never boring. There’s always something and someway that you can help somebody’s life. I don’t care if it’s the individual, the offender, their family, the children, it’s always some way you can help somebody and it’s always challenging to come up with those kind of creative ways.

Leonard Sipes: Thank you very much.

Tasha Trotter: Anytime Len.

Leonard Sipes: Gentlemen give me your names please.

William Ware, James Epps: I’m William Ware. James Epps.

Leonard Sipes: And both of you received award today at the awards ceremony from CSOSA correct?

William Ware, James Epps: Yes we did.

Leonard Sipes: And why did you get these awards?

William Ware, James Epps: Hard work and dedication.

Leonard Sipes: No, no a little bit more than that. I mean what are the specific nature of what it is that you do and why you’re being acknowledged.

James Epps: I’m a Community Supervision Officer and the award for me today is Employee of the Year and it’s for the hard work that I do for my offenders.

William Ware: And I received a team awards. I think the unity that we have on the team and trying to ensure that we do reduce recidivism and along with the agency’s mission, insure public safety, and to do our best to try to help our offenders succeed. I think that’s why we got the award.

Leonard Sipes: And what is it like working with the offender population. I’ve done sort of some of this work in the past and I’ll tell you, it’s one of the toughest jobs that I’ve ever had but one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had but again, the whole idea of being out there in the community supervising offenders, that’s tough. That’s a tough job.

William Ware: Absolutely. It’s definitely a challenge but like you said, I think it’s a very rewarding job. I think it’s excellent.

James Epps: Very rewarding job especially when you’re helping others to achieve something that we’re all trying to achieve here in society and that’s to get ahead.

Leonard Sipes: Gentlemen, thank you. Hi, give me your name please?

Dana Anderson: Dana Anderson.

Leonard Sipes: And Dana you have been a community supervision officer for how long?

Dana Anderson: 1 year.

Leonard Sipes: And you got a couple of awards today I can see. 1 award? Okay you got 1 award. Now, let me ask you a little about community supervision officer. What does a community supervision officer do?

Dana Anderson: As a community supervision officer, we’re dedicated to assisting our offenders with gaining reentry back into the community.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, so what does that mean to the general public? It’s both a supervision role and at the same time an assisting role?

Dana Anderson: We assist them with gaining stable employment and maintaining sobriety, finding suitable housing, and helping them adjust to the community and becoming positive citizens.

Leonard Sipes: Right and at the same time you supervise them to make sure that they adhere to the orders of the court or the orders of the parole commission?

Dana Anderson: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: And that’s a big part of the public safety as well?

Dana Anderson: Yes.

Leonard Sipes: And also I wanted to point out the fact that you were a public affairs officer at Fugitive Safe Surrender, a volunteer public affairs officer, and you escorted medial throughout the process. Can you tell me how that process went?

Dana Anderson: It was actually wonderful. I got to meet a lot of individuals and tell them the wonderful things that CSOSA does on a day to day basis and also introduce them to various individuals of CSOSA and other government agencies who they can talk to.

Leonard Sipes: Dana, thank you.

Dana Anderson: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, can you give me your name please?

Faola Wolf: My name is Faola Wolf.

Leonard Sipes: And, Faola, you are with the mental health team and you won an award today at CSOSA’s award ceremony, correct?

Faola Wolf: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: Now, I’m really interested in the fact of why you won the award but more importantly about the mental health team. That is one of the most difficult assignments in the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, correct?

Faola Wolf: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: And tell me a little bit about what you do?

Faola Wolf: Well, on a mental health team, what we do when the offenders are assigned to the CSO’s, we first link them, if they’re already receiving mental health services, we link them or make sure that they continue those services with the mental health service provider in the community. If they’re not linked, they first get a mental health evaluation to determine whether or not those services are needed and if so then they’re linked with those appropriate community service providers and as CSO’s on a mental health unit we have to make sure to keep in contact, close contact with their case managers at those community service providers to make sure that they’re receiving the services, they’re taking their medications, and their compliant with their mental health services.

Leonard Sipes: You know, I can’t think of a more difficult and challenging population to deal with.

Faola Wolf: Yes, it’s difficult because you have to spend so much extra time. It’s not just the criminal aspect but their situation or housing, or employment. You also have those mental health issues, sometimes, most of those times it’s often substance abuse issues that come along with that and those mental health community service providers also provide substance abuse treatment also such as groups and NA and AA meetings so they may be able to provide both those services at the same time.

Leonard Sipes: Thank you very much. Hi, can you tell me your name please?

Ravila McMillen: Ravila McMillen.

Leonard Sipes: And Ms. McMillen you got an award today and do you know why.

Ravila McMillen: Yes, I got an award for my achievements in the interstate compact branch and the community supervision that I’ve done here in interstate.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, now tell me a little bit about the interstate compact. What that means is offenders who come from outside of D.C., into D.C. you supervise them correct?

Ravila McMillen: Yes, I supervise offenders. Well actually I supervise offenders that live outside of the district, so Maryland, Virginia, anything outside and we do transfer packets for them so that they can be supervised in their states so that even though they’re not in D.C., they’re able to be supervised in their jurisdiction.

Leonard Sipes: And you know that’s an important issue because a lot of people don’t understand how many offenders come into D.C. and how many people leave D.C. and all that has to be coordinated and your one of the people that does that coordination.

Ravila McMillen: Right.

Leonard Sipes: How’s it like? What’s it like? Challenging, difficult?

Ravila McMillen: It’s challenging but it’s worth while. It’s a lot of paperwork. A lot of packets that go out day to day and day in, day out and it’s overwhelming but we get the job done and we do what we have to do to make sure that offenders get supervised properly and where they need to be.

Leonard Sipes: Thank you very much.

Ravila McMillen: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, can you give me your name please?

Kenny Freeman: My name is Kenny Freeman.

Leonard Sipes: And Kenny, what is it that you do?

Kenny Freeman: I’m a drug testing technician with the illegal substance collection unit.

Leonard Sipes: And you got an award today, correct?

Kenny Freeman: That is correct.

Leonard Sipes: And why did you get the award?

Kenny Freeman: We got an award today for our performance as far as monitoring offenders in the collection process. I received this award on behalf of my unit for my performance as well as my attendance as well as our overall accuracy when it comes to the testing procedure.

Leonard Sipes: Now, a lot of people as we talk to various award winner throughout the course of the day, you know, it’s an opportunity for the public to understand what it is that you do. The overwhelming majority of the offenders, 15,000 offenders in any given day, undergo drug testing and they undergo drug testing on a regular basis.

Kenny Freeman: That is correct. In the drug testing process, we have to insure that all of our offenders who are under supervision remain drug and alcohol free so as part of that procedure we do monitor the samples and make sure that it is an accurate sample that’s collected.

Leonard Sipes: And they have their own tricks in terms of trying to water down samples or to being in samples from their kids sister, but you can figure that out correct?

Kenny Freeman: That is correct. A lot of times unfortunately we do see individuals who do attempt to circumvent the collection process, however, as law enforcement, we do report that and we do take the necessary steps.

Leonard Sipes: Thank you for being with us today.

Kenny Freeman: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, can you give me your name please?

Carlton Butler: Name is Carlton Butler.

Leonard Sipes: And Carlton you are one of the principles involved in GPS or satellite tracking of offenders, correct?

Carlton Butler: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: And you have an award today from the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Why did you get the award?

Carlton Butler: Well we got the award because of the significant improvement in the program in the last year or so. Actually, when I started, I recently came with CSOSA in December of last year. There were 98 offenders in the program. We improved the program and now today we have 600 offenders in the program.

Leonard Sipes: Now is that 600 offenders on any given day?

Carlton Butler: Yes, the total number as of today.

Leonard Sipes: Now, that’s amazing 600 offenders on any given day or under Global Satellite Positioning or under satellite tracking, that’s correct?

Carlton Butler: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: And there are a variety of offenders ranging from sex offenders to people violating their domestic violence court orders to violent offenders coming out of the prison system.

Carlton Butler: That’s correct. It’s a wide range of sex offenders as you said, domestic violence, we also have general supervision, people that need a little more supervision and the curfew violators, that’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: And there are times when the individual does not comply with the rules of the program and you put them under a curfew through the Global Positioning System Tracking.

Carlton Butler: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: Carlton, thank you.

Carlton Butler: Your welcome.

Leonard Sipes: Gentlemen, can I have your names please?

Kiplin Carter, Christopher Woodfield: Kiplin Carter, Christopher Woodfield.

Leonard Sipes: And gentlemen, why did you get the award for today?

Christopher Woodfield: Received the award for law enforcement partnership.

Kiplin Carter: The apprehension of outstanding warrants and sharing information with NPD.

Leonard Sipes: Wonderful, and?

Christopher Woodfield: In addition, we also have done accountability tour initiatives.

Leonard Sipes: And what is an accountability tour initiative tour?

Christopher Woodfield: We go out with NPD often detectives, sometimes the uniformed officers and do the home visits unscheduled and scheduled with offenders.

Leonard Sipes: Now there is a pretty good amount of cooperation between the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency in the Metropolitan Police Department, correct?

Kiplin Carter: Yes there is. Most recently we’ve taken up an initiative with the homicide tours. When a recent homicide happens, we come out with the Intel officers and we basically check in with our offenders first to see if there is any information that we can gather so we can work in a collaborative effort to try to you know bring the people to justice.

Leonard Sipes: And that’s a pretty interesting part of what it is we do because we also provide services to offenders but we also provide supervision and we take whatever action is necessary to protect the public and that’s part of what you’re doing.

Kiplin Carter: Yes, that’s correct. When we go out, the offenders do get to see us in conjunction with NPD. It presents an image to them that we are unified and I think it has a good impact on the community.

Leonard Sipes: Gentlemen, thank you.

Kiplin Carter, Christopher Woodfield: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, can I have your name please?

Alex Durand: Alex Durand.

Leonard Sipes: And Alex, you got an award today for what reason?

Alex Durand: I got the foreign language award and I’m a _____ community supervision officer and I assisted with the Fugitive Safe Surrender program. I also did some translations throughout the year assisting Latino speaking offenders.

Leonard Sipes: Now you have a regular case load of Latino offenders, correct?

Alex Durand: Actually I supervise a Diagnostic Unit and we don’t normally get Latino offenders but we periodically get some and under those circumstances, I kind of rotate and assist all of the different teams when they need translations as well as any efforts to contact family or collateral contacts.

Leonard Sipes: Now you mentioned Fugitive Safe Surrender. One of the things that I was to emphasize is that you did the 30 second radio commercials. You did the 60 second radio commercials for Fugitive Safe Surrender. You also have done podcasts on what it’s like to be supervised for the Latino community. You did 3 of those and you also did a whole heck of a lot of national Latino television and radio interviews for Fugitive Safe Surrender, correct?

Alex Durand: Wow, I didn’t know I had done all that but you’re right, I have done all that work throughout this year.

Leonard Sipes: So, it’s sort of interesting if you went from being a person within a large bureaucracy to a voice of a major agency.

Alex Durand: Well, it’s an honor just to be able to serve the community as well as the agency with these skills.

Leonard Sipes: Thank you very much.

Alex Durand: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, could you give me your name please.

Kim Barry: Kim Barry.

Leonard Sipes: And Kim, you are what? What do you do for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency?

Kim Barry: I’m a treatment specialist with Central Intervention Team.

Leonard Sipes: And what does that do? What does that entail?

Kim Barry: What we do on CIT, for short, is we do assessments for offenders, but my specific core function is facilitating groups and management substance abuse education groups for all of our offenders.

Leonard Sipes: And you have a couple very special awards today. In fact, you have a letter from President Bush, correct?

Kim Barry: That’s correct, yes.

Leonard Sipes: And tell me why you got a letter from the President of the United States?

Kim Barry: Because this is the first time that the President has allowed such opportunities for persons to volunteer and receive awards for volunteer service, so I received this award because of the fact that I’ve volunteered over and above the amount required to receive a goal award and that’s 500 hours, but I actually have over 700 hours of community service so that’s why I received an award today.

Leonard Sipes: And we thank you for your service to the district and to the metropolitan area.

Kim Barry: Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, could I have your name please?

Diane Harper: Hi, my name is Diane Harper.

Leonard Sipes: And Diane you received what the unsung hero award, is that it?

Diane Harper: That’s correct.

Leonard Sipes: And tell me a little bit about that. You have a wonderful crystal statue or award sitting there and why did you get that award?

Diane Harper: I got it because I go above and beyond. I am the Community Supervision for team 20. I am detailed to the management analyst office, Dr. Deborah Kafame. I am detailed to the US PC reprimand sanction here where I am responsible for the transcripts in the docket and I’m just well-rounded and I go above and beyond to get the job done.

Leonard Sipes: We thank you for your service today.

Diane Harper: Thank you.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, give me your name please?

Jennifer LaPointe: Jennifer Lapointe.

Leonard Sipes: And Jennifer you have a huge crystal award today that says employee of the year 2007, Jennifer Lapointe, and congratulations.

Jennifer LaPointe: Thank you very much.

Leonard Sipes: Now, why do you think you got this award?

Jennifer LaPointe: For the work that I’ve been privileged to do with the Reenter and Sanctions Center for the Office of Community Justice programs with CSOSA.

Leonard Sipes: Now, the Reenter and Sanctions Center is that brand new building that we have in Northwest District of Columbia that basically takes offenders coming out of the prison system and does a complete and thorough analysis and gets them involved in very comprehensive drug treatment.

Jennifer LaPointe: This is correct and in support of that mission, I’ve been involved with the procurement, the personnel, the equipment, technology, just all aspects of the program and I’m honored to have an opportunity to serve those that are at most risk to the community and the staff that goes so diligently and dedicated towards making sure that those offenders and defendants reenter into society prepared to remain drug free.

Leonard Sipes: You put it perfectly Jennifer. Thank you for being our employee of the year.

Jennifer LaPointe: Thank you. I’m honored and surprised.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, can you give me your name please?

James Epps: James E. Epps.

Leonard Sipes: And James, once again, you have this gorgeous large crystal award, employee of the year 2007 to James E Epps. Now you are with the Community Supervision Services Branch, correct?

James Epps: Yes I am.

Leonard Sipes: And why did you get this award?

James Epps: For performance dedication and hard work for the offenders that I work for or have been working for the past 15 years in the community.

Leonard Sipes: Now, 15 years of supervising offenders in the community. I mean there is a marine corp hem that says you’re guaranteed heaven because you’ve served your time in hell. I mean that’s a difficult, challenging, but a very rewarding job, correct?

James Epps: Yes it is but most of all I get the mind gratification and appreciation from just helping others.

Leonard Sipes: And what do you do to help others?

James Epps: Sometimes, find them employment, try to teach them the right way to go and get up out of poverty, and help them get housing and things of that nature.

Leonard Sipes: Congratulations. We’re all very proud of you.

James Epps: Thank you very much.

Leonard Sipes: Hi, let me have your names please.

Linda Mayes: Linda Mayes.

Leonard Sipes: And what do you do Linda?

Linda Mayes: I’m the Associate Director for Human Resources.

Leonard Sipes: And?

Fran Hagan: I’m Fran Hagan and I’m a Human Resources Specialist.

Leonard Sipes: Now both of you were in charge of putting this ceremony on today and I’m assuming that this is the best way of ending a glorious ceremony. We had hundreds of people here in this huge ballroom in downtown D.C. to give recognition to employees who work in difficult dangerous situations and often times they don’t get the recognition they’ve received. You 2 were the people in charge of making sure that this happened.

Fran Hagan: That’s correct and we’re just so delighted to be able to support this great effort. You know, Human Resources if very important in the background for getting people paid and helping them get their awards on time and they’re so deserved and our agency is really wonderful to put on an event like this so that everyone can come up and shake the directors hand and get a picture made and just a time out when we can acknowledge the great work they do all year.

Leonard Sipes: Linda, I need you to add to that.

Linda Mayes: Well, I just want to say that Fran worked so hard. It takes a lot of work to put this on and she did a tremendous job.

Leonard Sipes: It really is interesting. Again, large huge ballroom in downtown D.C., hundreds of award winners, people who got trophies, people who got beautiful crystal awards, people who got individual awards ceremonies and recognitions. I mean this was really difficult to put on.

Linda Mayes: Well it does take a lot of work, but it always gets done every year and when we need help, people pitch in and it’s a great effort for human resources. Everybody comes together.

Leonard Sipes: Ladies, thank you.

Linda Mayes, Fran Hagan: Your welcome and thank you.


Women Offenders-National Institute of Corrections

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Leonard Sipes: Hi and welcome to D.C. Public Safety. I’m your host, Len Sipes. Our show topic today is about women offenders and we have an extraordinarily interesting experience for everybody. We have 2 experts from the National Institute of Corrections. The National Institute of Corrections, I think those of us in the correctional and criminal justice system, we have huge respect for them. They are the premier source of information on correctional programs, not only in this country, but throughout the world. People I spoke to when I traveled to France and England and when I went to Amsterdam, have all made reference to the National Institute of Corrections. They are part of the Bureau of Prisons and they are part of the Department of Justice. Maureen Buell is a correctional program specialist and Phyllis Modley, another correctional program specialist and ladies welcome to D.C. public safety.

Maureen Buell : Good morning. Thank you Len for that very positive introduction.

Phyllis Modley: It’s great to be here.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. First of all, for the audience who may not be as familiar with the National Institute of Corrections as I am, give me a short synopsis of what the National Institute of Corrections is and does.

Maureen Buell : The National Institute of Corrections or NIC as we call it actually came into being in 1974. After the riots in Attica in 71, there was a major focus on corrections and the practice of imprisonment and as a result, NIC was created. Our function essentially is to provide training and technical assistance and information to the criminal justice entities across the country, so we work with state and local jurisdictions on issues related to pre-trial, jails, prisons, and community corrections.

Leonard Sipes: So the bottom line is that if people want to know does incarceration work to reduce crime, what is the state of the art in terms of reentry, or offenders coming out the prison system and reintegrating back into society the best use of staff time in terms of supervising offenders either on probation or while in prison, you’re the people that people come to to get those answers.

Maureen Buell : Exactly, we have terrific information resource folks at our information center and through out website You can also get to anybody on staff in a whole set of specialty areas.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, and there’s an 800 number?

Maureen Buell : There’s an 800 number, it is 1-800-877-1461.

Leonard Sipes: Okay, 800-877-1461?

Maureen Buell : Correct.

Leonard Sipes: Okay ladies, today’s show is about women offenders and you and I were talking, we were all talking before the show about an experience that I had in terms of training public affairs officers when I was with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and I went out to a pre-release system we had our training in a prison, a pre-release women’s prison or center because they have a culinary arts program there and it was a very new and modern and so it was a great place to hold training. And I set this individual up to go and teach for an hour, so I had an hour with nothing do. So, I went out to the courtyard in those days when you could still smoke and I had my cigar and I was surrounded in about 5 minutes with about 30 female offenders who told me about their experiences. It was very interesting as to how quickly they became involved in the conversation with me. And some of the stuff that they told me was astounding. As one woman put it, she wants to stay in that prison and she wants to stay in that pre-release center. The whole concept is that she’s safe there, she’s not being beaten up by anybody, she’s getting her GED, she’s learning culinary arts, she’s getting ready for a job, she’s getting drug treatment. This is a safe world for her. Other women offenders were nodding their heads up and down saying that this was a safe existence for them. So what I learned from that is that there’s a difference between women offenders and male offenders and that difference in many cases is profound. Correct or incorrect?

Maureen Buell : We think that’s correct and I think that’s a very important observation and I think what that points out is that not only do we need to pay attention to the services for women when they’re incarcerated, but I think that it’s very significant for us to really be thinking about preparing women adequately and the community for their reentry.

Leonard Sipes: What’s the difference between male and female offenders?

Phyllis Modley: Right. We have done some work to assemble the characteristics of men and women along a number of different dimensions and they’ve helped us look at the unique aspects of women. One of them right off the bat is that they are much less involved in violent crime. Typical crimes are drug and property crimes, survival crimes, if you accept that, welfare fraud, writing bad checks. Also a great deal of prostitution. So on the whole they are less violent and involved in crimes in which arguably well there’s a public victim there themselves victims as well.

Leonard Sipes: Interestingly enough, what I’ve been told by people in the prison system in community supervision, the people who work directly with women offenders, is that in many cases, and I’m not making excuses for them at all, in any way, shape or form, but it is nevertheless true, it seems to be true that in many cases with female offenders that they are involved with significant others, principally a guy who convinces them either, just talking to them, threatening them, whatever it takes for them to engage in drug trafficking. A lot of women who, when I was a state trooper, who we would arrest trafficking in drugs up and down the interstate in 95, it was take these drugs in New York or I’m gonna to beat the dickens out of you. How true was this?

Phyllis Modley: I think that’s very true. I think that’s reflected in some of the anecdotal stories and some of the research that is emerging. I think it’s a true in observation and practice and I think that what was important for us at NIC is that we were hearing these stories and our focus has really been not only taking this information, but we really began to dig very deeply in the available research that supports the fact that there are some differences between male and female offenders.

Leonard Sipes: And tell me those differences because in many cases, female offenders have higher rates of substance abuse, they claim higher rates of mental health problems, emotional problems. I’m astounded that just about every index that I read in terms of comparing male and female offenders, it seems as if the female offenders have higher rates of whatever it is that were measuring. Correct?

Phyllis Modley: For the most part I think that’s true. A couple points I wanted to make. One is that the premise of our work again is that we do need to hold women accountable for their behavior that brought them in the criminal justice system, but I think that it’s also incumbent upon us to really focus on the behaviors that underlie that criminal behavior. So, when you ask the question is that true, I think what we are learning is that in fact some of those behaviors are happening with both men and women, but what we’re seeing is that the frequency of substance abuse, the frequency of trauma is significant higher for the most part in the female offender population.

Leonard Sipes: Especially what in terms of sexual violence. The sexual violence figure is astoundingly high for female offenders compared to male offenders.

Phyllis Modley: That’s right. What we’re finding is that yes, both young boys and young girls experience childhood abuse and trauma, but the rates of sexual abuse among girls are higher and the abuse continues into adulthood for women.

Leonard Sipes: Yes

Phyllis Modley: So that they continue to be victims from adult partners.

Leonard Sipes: So what do we do? The bottom line in all of this is that we have a unique difference between male and female offenders. We speculated back in Maryland by the way, and you don’t have to respond to this directly, but we speculated that we could probably take up to half of the female population that we had incarcerated and if they had sufficient programs on the outside in terms of housing, in terms of childcare, in terms of drug treatment, in terms of mental health treatment, in terms of GPS tracking, if you will, we could probably safely take half that population and put them out in the community and probably not have an adverse impact on public safety. Again, because the sense was that for many female offenders they’re “not as dangerous” as the male offender. Correct? I mean, am I in the ballpark?

Phyllis Modley: I think you are definitely in the ballpark. There are women certainly who do have that are a risk to public safety, but that percentage compared to men is significantly smaller and so again, instead of just relying on some of those anecdotal observations, we really began to pull together the research and one of the things I wanted to mention and these documents are available from our website, is that we began to look at what some of the differences were between men and women and we actually had a project that over a period of about two years, we pulled together national researchers, practitioners, not only criminal justice issues significant to women, but we also looked at issues external to criminal justice, like mental health issues, substance abuse, medical issues, and we began to cull together that research and as a result of that work we created a product called gender responsive strategies and there are six principles that we have begun to build our work on when we provide assistance to state and local jurisdictions on women offender issues. We really work around these six principles in helping jurisdictions improve their outcomes with women offenders.

Leonard Sipes: And they are? Those six principles?

Phyllis Modley: The six principles are, very quickly:

1. Gender makes a difference.
2. Create an environment based on safety, respect and dignity.
3. Develop policies, practices, programs that are relational and promote healthy connections to children, families, significant others and the community.
4. Address substance abuse, trauma, mental health issues through comprehensive services and appropriate supervision.
5. Provide women with opportunities to improve their socioeconomic conditions.
6. Establish a system of community supervision of reentry with comprehensive collaborative services.

So, these principles don’t let women off the hook, but it really helps us focus our interventions with the issues that have brought them into contact with criminal justice.

Leonard Sipes: The reality is that you were involved in trafficking drugs, you were involved in this, you were in involved in that sort of behavior, it is purely illegal, it’s dangerous to a larger society and if you do the crime you are going to have to be held responsible for that crime. But, once again, we’re saying that there are differences between male and female offenders and I think your six principles comes down to if we had sufficient programs in place, would their rate of recidivism, their rate of coming back to the criminal justice system, their rate of criminality, would decrease.

Phyllis Modley: That’s right. What we are discovering is that those factors in the women’s lives that some people look at as needs for programming, we are learning that those needs also predict their re-involvement in recidivism. So we have been able through recent research and gender informed risk and need assessments for women to understand that an issue like housing safety creates risk for women and that is,

Leonard Sipes: Housing safety means what?

Phyllis Modley: Housing safety means a safe and sober home where someone is free from continued abuse.

Leonard Sipes: Okay. They’re not going to be beaten up.

Phyllis Modley: Where they’re not going to be beaten up. If a woman goes back into abusive relationship when she gets out and she is trying to go to substance abuse treatment, she is trying to access mental health services, and she has an argument with her husband and her husband or her partner beats her up, she is going to go back and take drugs.

Leonard Sipes: Right. Right.

Phyllis Modley: And that creates risk for her.

Leonard Sipes: Right.

Phyllis Modley: So housing

Leonard Sipes: And creates risk for the entire society in terms

Phyllis Modley: exactly

Leonard Sipes: of her continuing criminality.

Phyllis Modley: And it makes housing in absolutely essential for women offenders. And anecdotally, we understood this, that where we had the access to housing for women, we got much better results. But now we also have some data that shows that this really does produce risk, if they’re not in safe housing settings. Another area is that the mental health screens have looked at really primarily mental health issues from men and among women, serious depression and psychosis are more frequent as a mental health diagnosis and those are not always tapped by the current array of assessment. So we are now recommending that we actually assess for those factors and so we are doing a much better job of identifying what the current circumstances of the women are.

Leonard Sipes: And I think what I hear both of you say is that is has to be a comprehensive package. So many times that we in the criminal justice system and people outside the criminal justice system who fund us have this sense that oh, okay, fine we did drug treatment so this person’s going to be fine. It’s really a matter of addressing her housing issues, her reality that she has children on the outside in the vast majority of cases, that she has mental health issues, she has drug treatment issues, she has employment issues and these things must be addressed concurrently, that it’s just not one or two, but it’s a package.

Phyllis Modley: I think that’s really true Leonard and one of the other things that you point out, you mentioned earlier if we had more programs that were more focused on the needs of women, I think programs are important, but what you’re talking about is systemic kinds of issues that we have to look at our supervision practices with this population. You bring up a very good point. When a woman leaves a facility, if she immediately gets her children back and has not a safe place to live, but has to be concerned about going to her own drug treatment, getting the children in school, being sure that they’re fed, she’s got to get to her probation and parole meetings. I think that again we don’t want to not hold women accountable, but we really need to look at our systems, what we’re asking of people. Can they really accomplish these things? So there are some distinct difference sometimes in community settings for women.

Leonard Sipes: I’m going to tell two stories and them I am going to go and give the 800 number again and give your names once again. We did a conference here at the court services and offender supervision agency for women offenders and one woman stood up and said that she was living with a friend of a friend and that this woman had pulled a knife on her and she had to pull a knife back and that she desperately needed housing. She had her 2 children there. What were we going to do about her housing arrangements and that was the reality of what our parole and probation agents whether there in the District of Columbia, whether there in California, it doesn’t matter, that’s the reality of what it is that we in this system have got to deal with. The other was a woman who I met again on community supervision who went through a variety of programs and, you know, this woman had a lifetime of criminality and drug use. She, through programs, she was had her own home, she was a manager of her own business, she was reunited with her children and that’s fine and that’s good, I asked how many crimes do you think that you committed on a year-to-year basis including all the drug deals and thefts and being involved in the lifestyle and being part of a criminality that was also violent, not necessarily taking direct part in that violence but she was a part of it? And she simply said, oh probably about 1,000. So that’s 1,000 thefts, drug deals, other indiscretions, other illegalities on a year that we as a society no longer have to put up with because she got the programs that she needed. We don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars dealing with her kids from the social services point of view because she was back, she had a decent job, she had medical benefits, the kids had medical benefits. So this is profound in terms of the benefits that it has to our larger society.

Maureen Buell : I’m with you on that and our emphasis in terms of our work in all of NIC is on evidence based practice on effective interventions and what we’re finding is that supervision by itself does not produce the kind of risk reduction, recidivism reduction we want. It has to be linked to targeted programming and we talk about that programming as targeting risk factors and this becomes a critical rationale for reducing risk by looking at each, doing an assessment of each woman and saying what are the primary risk factors for this woman and let’s start working on those. The more we can work on over a period of time, the higher is our opportunity for actually reducing risk. And I think the collateral impact on children, that women in our system, they offer an opportunity to work with the next generation and that makes them doubly important.

Leonard Sipes: The toll-free telephone number for The National Institute of Corrections is 800-877-1461. The National Institute of Corrections Information Center website is When mom goes off to prison statistically speaking, the kids have higher rates of problems, dramatically higher rates of problems, dramatically higher rates of substance abuse, of not doing well in school and of criminality. So it’s just not that woman, those three kids have a much higher degree of involvement in the social services and the criminal justice system.

Phyllis Modley: There is a huge ripple effect when a woman goes to prison. One of the statistics that’s out there and has been out there for some time is that when a man goes to prison about 75 to 85 percent of the time, his children stay with the other natural parent, so there is some continuity. When a woman goes to prison, the converse of that, usually about 75, 85 percent of the time, that child goes with somebody other than a natural parent which means the child goes to a friend, the child goes to Grandma who is struggling day to day herself, doesn’t have the ability to kind of control who comes in and out of the house, so supervision for the children is an issue. A small percentage of children go into foster care. So it’s not that these kids are bad kids or had not been raised right, it’s that there are just so many uncertainties in their lives because their whole world has been turned upside down, so we are concerned about this whole intergeneration cycle of offending.

Leonard Sipes: Where do we go to? I mean we are talking about 10 more minutes in this program and the larger issues here are profound. There is a tremendous amount of abuse and neglect. We’re talking about, in many cases, women being coerced and in some cases violently coerced to get involved and to take part in criminal activities. We are talking about rates of mental health issues amongst women offenders, substance abuse issues that are higher for women offenders and then it’s the prison experience and then it’s the whole issue of transferring or reintegrating back into society. It sounds like the deck is stacked so far against the women offender who really wants to, in many cases, come back out, get her GED, get her plumbing certificate, reunite with her kids, find safe housing. I mean, what are the odds of actually doing that and if they’re so dire, is there any particular sense as to why they’re so dire.

Phyllis Modley. You bring up an interesting point when you talked about the women really wanting to do the right thing, and so I think that they’re, it looks like the decked is really stacked against this population and there are a lot of challenges and barriers, so a couple of things. One is that the work that we do with state and local jurisdictions is really helping folks sort of rethink how they work with this population. But there’s two other things that I think are important to mention. One is that one of the things that’s quite amazing about this population as these women are survivors to have gone through what they’ve gone through and still be upright and standing. You have to give them some credit so, this population really has a significant amount of strengths that a lot of our work has really been trying to tap into. I think another thing that we don’t do in criminal justice is we don’t listen to the voices of the women. A lot of the research that we’ve been accessing and that support the gender responsive strategies project is that we listen to the voices of women who talked about what got them into trouble, what they need in order to support them getting out in the community. They have a pretty good idea what they need to be able to become citizens in their community. I don’t think that as a system we listen to these voices enough.

Leonard Sipes: It’s a tough story to listen to, don’t you think. I mean, when I sit down with women offenders, I just simply find that it’s just a tough story to listen to. You know, when a women offender tells me about being neglected at a fairly early age, of, in some cases being pushed around and then more than just a couple of cases being sexually abused and as you said before Maureen, the sexual abuse continues in many ways. There is a certain point where this is overwhelming, this really is overwhelming yet this is the reality that those of us within the criminal justice system, whether you’re in law enforcement or corrections or in the court system, this is the hard cold reality that we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. But, I think what we’re seeing collectively is that the programs work. Is that, the programs have an impact, that there is lower rates of recidivism and these women have a better chance of going on to be taxpayers instead of tax burdens, if you will. Correct or incorrect?

Phyllis Modley: I think that that’s correct. That’s what we expect and one of the problems that we face is that most of the studies on effective interventions have been done on large samples of men and there’s a dearth of really good evaluative research on women offender programming. This is beginning to come out. What NIC has done has built on the research on effective interventions that’s gender neutral, that it was presumed for men and women and integrated that with research on women and we’ve created a, what I call an aspiration model of improved supervision for reentry and probation and what it does is it, it is strength based, it insists that the woman’s voice be heard and that she be part of a team case management. It is, it builds on a gender specific risk and need instrument so we have a higher change of identifying the real risks for this particular woman. It builds on engagement, which is the motivational interviewing, research that the whole country, in fact, internationally, we are using that motivational process to improve outcomes.

Leonard Sipes: Which is basically listening to what they have to say.

Phyllis Modley: It’s listening.

Leonard Sipes: And encouraging their feelings and their thoughts because that’s how they produce change.

Phyllis Modley: That’s right and it’s getting them step by step to set their own plans for improvement. And it’s building, it’s a strength based model which, from our research, is taking the strengths they do have and building connections in the community that build on that strength. And there’s a lot of promising research going on now about what are called resiliency or strength based factors. So this sort of aspirational model we’re now testing in 2 sites with some good research and I’m very encouraged by what it may offer the field in terms of a good solid example of how we can do a better job here.

Leonard Sipes: You know it’s interesting that we’re all bureaucrats, we’ve all been serving government and serving citizens through government for so long and when I first started doing radio and television years ago, somebody said you never give an opinion. Boy, you’re being a typical bureaucrat. So I’m not gonna ask you guys for an opinion. I’ll offer an opinion. My guess is that if the programs were in place comprehensively, both in the prison setting and in the community correction setting for women, my guess is that you could probably reduce the amount of recidivism, the idea of helping that person not return to the criminal justice system, which means they’re not committing crime, they’re not doing drugs, they’re taking care of their kids, they’re doing the right thing. My guess is that we could probably, oh what do you think, maybe a 40 percent reduction if all those programs were in place. It would be a substantial reduction. That’s my guess. I’m not asking you to give your own opinion in terms of percentage reduction, but I think it would be considerable.

Phyllis Modley: I would add that we know that the dramatic increase in prison population among women has been driven by mandatory sentencing on drug offenses and we also know that women are less culpable in terms of being the kingpins driving the drug trade. They are more likely to be the drug mules, the woman driving the car and so forth. So they are being swept up in a wave of mandatory sentencing, determinate sentencing.

Leonard Sipes: A variety of states now California comes to mind, the state of Washington, Kansas, Texas are using what you’ve referred to as a evidence base approach. They are looking at the research and their proposition is that we can reduce the burden to taxpayers significantly by not building more prisons, not building as many new prisons and in the state of Maryland, it was $25 million on average a year to maintain a prison. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that really do not have to be shouldered by the taxpayer if we had these programs in place and if we had lower rates of recidivism. So it’s just not an issue for the women offender or the male offender, it’s also lessening the burden on the average taxpayer in terms of what they have to pay out for correctional services. Correct?

Maureen Buell : Absolutely and I would add to that a special interest of mine which is that we really need to do better pre-trial screening and reentry at the jail door. And I don’t mean reentry just for individuals serving jail sentences, but for individuals held pre-trial. I’d like to call people’s attention to Hamilton County, Ohio, Cincinnati has developed a women specific, a gender informed screen and has successfully worked to get women out of jail pre-trial and into services and then to continue those services once sentenced to probation.

Leonard Sipes: The contact points for The National Institute of Corrections:, that’s National Institute of Corrections Information The 800 number is 800-877-1461, 800-877-1461. At our microphones today has been Maureen Buell, a correctional program specialist and Phyllis Modley, a correctional program specialist. Ladies and gentlemen, this has been D.C. Public Safety; I’m your host Len Sipes. Please have yourselves a very very pleasant day.


DC Fugitive Safe Surrender Interview from WPGC

This Radio Program is available at

See for “DC Public Safety” Radio and Television Shows, Blogs and Transcripts

See for the web page of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency

See for the web page for Fugitive Safe Surrender in Washington, DC.
Guy Lambert: Hey folks. Welcome back to Community Focus. Thanks so much for sticking around with us this morning. I’m your host, WPGC’s news director, Guy Lambert. Well, it’s no secret a number of people right here in the D.C. area have had a run in with the law. Now in most cases, the issue would be rectified in a court of law. But then there are those who avoid the law and are dubbed as being a fugitive. That’s where the Court Services in Offender Supervision Agency for D.C. come into play. I’m pleased to say that I’m joined during this segment by Mr. Paul Quander. He is the director for Court Services in Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia and he’s here to tell us about the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program. Mr. Quander, got to say thank you so much for joining us and welcome to Community Focus.

Paul Quander: Thanks for having me today, I really appreciate it.

Guy Lambert: Very interesting topic. We are talking about the Fugitive Safe Surrender program which is being implemented right here in Washington D.C. Bring us up to speed. What exactly is taking place?

Paul Quander: Well, what is taking place is a national effort that was started in 2005 in Cleveland, Ohio and essentially in Cleveland, a minister, a prosecutor and a police officer got together and they thought about a way that they could bring the community together. There are a lot of individuals out there in various communities that have outstanding warrants for non-violent offenders and they’re out there, they’re not participating in programs and they’re running for the law. They can’t get their lives back together.

Guy Lambert: Right.

Paul Quander: So, it was thought that there was a way that we can bring people in without having to go and knock on people’s doors at 3: 00 or 4: 00 in the morning, disturbing the family and so what they did is they invited through a church, instead of going and surrendering in the court or with a law enforcement agency, they brought the church in because the church is always been the foundation of our community. And so they got with a local minister there and that minister opened up his door. They were expecting to get maybe 50 people in. They had over 800 individuals that walked in off of the street. And the beauty of the program is that everything that was at the courthouse was there at the church. When I say everything, I mean judges, lawyers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, interpreters, court reporters. Everything that would happen at a courthouse was there at the church. And the real beauty of it was that people came in of their own volition, they came in with their grandmothers, they came in with their children, they came in with their support mechanisms. But the main thing was, they were able to get those warrants resolved that very day and the vast majority, over 90 percent of the people that walked in the front door, walked out of that same front door that same day.

Guy Lambert: Wow.

Paul Quander: So we had those matters resolved and they got on with their lives and we wanted to do that same thing here in the District of Columbia and that’s where we are. We’re excited about it, we’re going to be at Bible Way Church in northwest Washington at 1100 New Jersey Avenue on November 1 through November 3, so that’s Thursday through Saturday from 9 until 5 and we’re hoping to attract as many individuals who have outstanding warrants in the District of Columbia, non-violent warrants, to come in and to turn themselves in and have those matters resolved, right there at Bible Way Church.

Guy Lambert: Okay. First thing, now once again this is taking place at the Bible Way Baptist Church on what date again?

Paul Quander: It will be Thursday, November the 1st through Saturday, November the 3rd.

Guy Lambert: Okay, and that’s located in the 1100 block of what again?

Paul Quander: Of New Jersey Avenue, northwest Washington D.C.

Guy Lambert: And from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., if I have an outstanding warrant in regard to it not being violent, if you will,

Paul Quander: That’s correct.

Guy Lambert: I can turn myself in.

Paul Quander: That’s right. And when we’re talking about non-violent warrants, misdemeanor warrants, traffic warrants. There are a lot of individuals that have traffic warrants that are outstanding and you can get those resolved during this period as well and that’s why it’s called Fugitive Safe Surrender and one of the big things about it is, it’s at the church and you can take care of those matters and get on with your life.

Guy Lambert: You stated that 90 percent of the folk who walked in, now what church was this out in what state, I’m sorry.

Paul Quander: This was in Cleveland

Guy Lambert: In Cleveland.

Paul Quander: Yes.

Guy Lambert: 90 percent of the folks that walked in there that had a warrant were able to walk out.

Paul Quander: Well actually Guy, it’s bigger than that, because Cleveland was just the first site. After Cleveland, it was done in Phoenix and 1,300 people turned themselves in Phoenix. So it’s been in Phoenix, it’s been in Indianapolis, it’s been in Nashville.

Paul Quander: Akron and just 2 weeks ago it was in Memphis, Tennessee and 1,600 individuals walked in, turned themselves in and less than 60 individuals were detained. So, the vast majority of individuals who qualify for this program, they get correct, they get their matters resolved and they go on with their life. One of the other interesting things is that although this is we’re stressing non-violent offenders, some offenders who have violent warrants outstanding turn themselves in knowing that they are not going to be released. But they want to turn themselves in to a safe place and what better place to turn yourself into than a man of God at his church which he is opening up. So, we’re expecting people to come in, many of the people that turn themselves in will have their matters resolved, will have a new court date set, they will get on with their lives and that’s what we want. The community as a whole benefits.

Guy Lambert: Had this event not taken place at a church, would those 90 percent that we referred to earlier, would they have walked out the door at a courthouse, per se?

Paul Quander: Yes. They would have, but the rub is who you gonna believe.

Guy Lambert: Right.

Paul Quander: You gonna believe the law enforcement that says come on in and trust me or are you gonna believe a member of the church who has been in this community for years and that’s why we, we wanted this partnership because that you know there have been many guises, many tricks so to speak and things of that nature and we wanted to make sure that the men and women who have outstanding D.C. warrants knew that this wasn’t a game that’s being played. This is the real thing because what we’re interested in doing is getting people back to doing positive things. Getting them back in their children’s lives, getting them back to going to PTA and Little League and football games with their families. If you have a warrant, you can’t do that. You’re always worried about being stopped. You’re worried about being in the car with your children and running a red light and having an officer pull you over and arrest you in front of your children. And a lot of the warrants that are outstanding again are for non-violent offenses. People who had court dates and didn’t show up for court, people that had probation warrants who walked away from probation and parole warrants as well. All of these individuals are welcome to participate and will qualify.

Guy Lambert: So, once again, anyone that has a non-violent offense and that has a warrant, those are the folks that you are actually looking for.

Paul Quander: Right in the District of Columbia.

Guy Lambert: In the District of okay. Now what about juveniles.

Paul Quander: Juveniles, we could not do it this time because we have to keep the juveniles separate from the adults. But depending on the success of the program, we may offer something in the future for juvenile offenders.

Guy Lambert: Let’s say, quick question here. Let’s say, I did something in the past, not to sure or can’t, it’s been so long ago I can’t even remember. I’m not sure if I have a warrant. How do I go about to find out if I do have a warrant?

Paul Quander: The best thing to do because of privacy issues, because when you call we don’t know who’s on the other end of the line.

Guy Lambert: Right.

Paul Quander: And so there’s no way to verify that. The best thing to do is to come down to the church. We will have the capability of identifying any warrant that anyone may have anywhere in the country. The Unites States Marshals Service which is the founding partner of this, this program will be present and so we’ll be able to identify and amazingly enough, in each of the jurisdictions, the six prior jurisdictions, up to 10 percent of the people that turned themselves in didn’t have a warrant.

Guy Lambert: Wow.

Paul Quander: The warrants had either been expunged, they had expired or, in fact, there just was no warrant. So those people came in thinking that they had a warrant. But just think, they were running around, they were hiding, they were looking over their shoulders for God knows how long, when they really didn’t need to.

Guy Lambert: Can I bring someone with me because I’m nervous, I’m not sure what’s gonna happen and like you said earlier, I would like to bring Grandma or my kids with me.

Paul Quander: Absolutely. We will, we welcome parents, we welcome any support personnel. It doesn’t have to be a family member. If there’s a support person in your life that you would like to accompany you when you turn yourself in, please do so. We have space available. We have 20,000 square feet of space at the church. So Bible Way is perfect in so many ways, the location, just it’s prison ministry history, but also it has a lot of space and we plan on using every bit of it to make sure that family members are comfortable, that children are taken care of, that services will be provided. There will be representatives from Apra, which is the District of Columbia’s drug treatment program there, there will be representatives from the Department of Employment Services which is the District of Columbia’s labor and employment services, so we want people to, to come to be whole again. Not just get straight with the warrant, but if you need drug treatment, we want to sign you up. If you need jobs, we want to sign you up. If there are other services that you need, we want to have that connection right there. So, we’re looking at a holistic approach to dealing with individuals and trying to get them back to where we need them to be.

Guy Lambert: When we’re talking about non-violent crimes, what would be a considered a violent crime?

Paul Quander: A violent crime would be any armed defense. It would be your carjackings, your kidnappings, your robberies, your burglaries, things of that nature that have a pretty fundamental idea of what is a violent crime.

Guy Lambert: What about a, not to get you off, but what about a sex offender.

Paul Quander: A sex offender, that would be a violent crime.

Guy Lambert: Okay.

Paul Quander: And so those individuals would not be eligible for the favorable consideration in a sense of there’s a likelihood that they would be walking out of the front door or released. Those individuals we need to make sure that we have good information and more information then you would normally get in a very quick hearing. That is why we concentrated on the non-violent offenders. But when we talk about non-violent offenders, a large number of those individuals are going to be traffic cases, they’re gonna be drug cases, they’re going to be possession with intent to distribute cases, they’re going to be simple possession. So, a lot of individuals will come in who have that type of offense, who have been running from the law, who can come in and get those matters resolved. We have a website that is at and we have frequently asked questions and we have an entire list of those offenses that are considered violent offenses by statute. So, I would invite the listeners to go to the website, again it’s and take a look at those offenses and all of the other information that we have available. We think that the more information that we can get out there, the more people will take a look at it and more people will decide to come on in and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Guy Lambert: What are people saying. Out of curiosity, those that you have come into contact with that have actually had a warrant and maybe some of their family members. What do they say about this program?

Paul Quander: They say it’s a it’s a Godsend. About 3 years ago, a young man came to me, Chester Hines, who runs a program out in southeast on Martin Luther King Avenue and he said we grew up together right here in D.C. and he knew I was the director of CSOSA and he said look, I have friend, a young lady who has a warrant outstanding on here and she’s been running. She’s been ducking and dodging, but she’s got her life together, but she’s afraid. She wants to get her life back. What can you do for her? So he brought her in, we worked with her, the warrant was from the United State Parole Commission, we talked to the Parole Commission, we verified that she was doing very well and the Parole Commission withdrew the warrant and this young lady got back her life. Unfortunately, she died a short time thereafter. That’s always stayed with me. That this woman did the right thing, she got control of her drug treatment, of her drug issue, she changed her life around, but she still had that warrant that was hanging over her head.

Guy Lambert: Wow.

Paul Quander: So, if we could have gotten to her with a program like this earlier, she could have enjoyed her life more. I got a call yesterday from a young man because we’ve been getting the word out who says look I need to tell myself in now and I can’t wait until Thursday. So, we are working with him and we’re trying to get him in and, in fact, people can turn themselves in now to a superior court pre-trial services at 500 Indiana Avenue. But on Thursday, November 1st, we’ll have everything right there, very convenient for you so you can walk in and get your matters resolved.

Guy Lambert: And once again, that will take place at Bible Way Baptist Church in the 1100 block of New Jersey Avenue from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday, November the 1st through November the 3rd. Is that correct?

Paul Quander: That is correct. But Guy, let me just, one other thing. Sometimes people like to wait till the last minute. Don’t wait. Saturday 5: 00, the doors have to close, so we need people to come out early, people will be there to process ’em, to get them in, get them out, get them back with their families and we want people to take advantage of it as soon as they possibly can beginning on Thursday, November the 1st.

Guy Lambert: And one more time, for more information what telephone number can folks call and is there a website and I know you stated it earlier, what’s that address one more time.

Paul Quander: Well, let me give you the phone number. It’s 202-585-SAFE, S A F E, so 202-585-SAFE or 7233 and the website again is

Guy Lambert: Alright, very good. Once again, Mr. Paul Quander, he is the director of Court Services in Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia. Truly a pleasure to meet you sir, such a great program. I really hope it works out. Please get back to us and let us know how it all turns out.

Paul Quander: Will do. Thank you so much for your support. We really appreciate it.

Guy Lambert: Alright folks. Stick around. We’re going to take a quick break. More community focus coming up next right here of WPGC AM and FM morning side of Washington D.C.