American Probation and Parole Association-Update-35th Annual Training Conference

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[Audio Begins]

Len Sipes:  From the nation’s capital, this is D.C. Public Safety.  I’m your host, Leonard Sipes.  Today’s guest is Diane Kincaid.  Diane is the Deputy Director for the American Probation and Parole Association.  They are the leading organization promoting the issues in parole and probation in this country. They are at the forefront of virtually everything that’s going on throughout the United States, and for, to some degree, throughout the world in terms of anything involving community supervision services.  Their website,  Before talking to Diane, our usual commercials.  We’re up to 200,000 requests a month for D.C. Public Safety, radio, television, blog, and transcripts.  Once again, we are really appreciative of all the guidance that you give us, and we will take it all, criticisms and guidance, whatever is on your mind, please get back in touch with us.  If you want to get in touch with me directly, it’s Leonard – L-E-O-N-A-R-D – dot-sipes – S-I-P-E-S,  CSOSA is the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, a federal parole and probation agency in Washington D.C.  You can follow us via twitter at, or you can comment, as most of you do, within the comment boxes of, again, D.C. Public Safety at Media, M-E-D-I-A,, the radio show, television shows, blog, and transcripts.  Back at Diane Kincaid, Diane, how’ve you been?

Diane Kincaid:  Good, how are you, Len?

Len Sipes:  I’m fine, fine, fine.  Diane, you know, one of the things that I said when you, I’m a member, by the way, of the American Probation and Parole Association, and they were kind enough to give us, Tim Barnes and myself an award for our community outreach efforts, and from the podium, what I did was to thank Diane Kincaid because there are people all throughout the United States who depend upon Diane Kincaid to answer their questions and provide them with information and feedback about parole and probation, so she’s probably better known than anybody in the country in terms of parole and probation issues, and I thanked Diane from the podium, because she’s been there for years, and she really does know more than anybody else in the country regarding parole and probation efforts, so Diane, once again, thank you for everything that you do for those of us in the corrections community.

Diane Kincaid:  Thanks, Len, I really appreciate that, and I want to say, too, that doing what I do.  I truly appreciate the job that you do as far as outreach, because that’s not easy, and you do a wonderful job, so our association certainly appreciates it.

Len Sipes:  Well, compliments are going both ways, but without APPA, we wouldn’t exist.  We wouldn’t be there, and we wouldn’t have the strategies that we have today.  A variety of things that we want to talk about today, the 35th annual training institute coming up in Washington D.C. on August 15-18, that’s why I’m going to be repeating the website address throughout the program,, and talking about the training institute, talking about the marketing strategies, talking about a variety of resolutions that the American Probation and Parole Association has on their plate.  Parole and Probation Officer Week is coming up on July 18 through July 24.  A force for positive change is a logo that APPA produced a couple years ago to help the rest of us out in terms of our public relations effort, and also support for the second chance act, so that’s a long list of different things we have to do within a half hour.  First of all, let’s talk about the 35th annual training institute in Washington D.C. on August 15 and 18.

Diane Kincaid:  Yeah, we’re really excited about being in the capital.  We’ve never had one of our annual institutes in the capital of our nation, so it’s going to be really exciting.  We have a lot of wonderful activities planned, and CSOSA, as co-host agency is doing a wonderful job in helping us bring in some wonderful workshops and good presentations.  It’s going to be really good.  You know, we’re hoping to have a good crowd.  With the travel situation the way it is for many agencies, it’s difficult, and we understand that.  You know, it can be hard to have a budget for training, let alone for travel as well.  Hopefully, the location there in D.C. is going to be easy enough for people all along the east coast to get to, many people are going to be able to drive in, so that’s going to help out a whole lot.

Len Sipes:  If people have an opportunity to come to Washington D.C., bring your family if at all humanly possible, there are, you can spend days and days and days in Washington D.C. going to all of the free events, the Smithsonian, the Air and Space Museum, the World War II Memorial.  My wife and I, just the other day, were talking about going down and seeing the Holocaust Memorial.  I mean, there are an endless array of things and events that are all free.  D.C. is a very family oriented place, and did I say free?  So if you come to D.C., there is just a ton of things to do, cultural and historical and otherwise, it’s just an amazing city, and I’m privileged to work here, so I really encourage anybody to, who’s listening to this program, to pay attention to the website, in terms of the 35th Annual Training Institute.  Diane, I think one of the real wonderful things about your training institutes are the courses, but more importantly, just the ability to network with other people just like yourself.

Diane Kincaid:  Absolutely.  You have multiple opportunities at our conferences to go into the expo hall, to look at some of the new technologies coming out for supervision, just to talk to people, just to meet people, just to make contacts from people across the country who, more than likely, are facing some of the same situations that you are.

Len Sipes:  I spent time at the last training institute that I was at, I spent a half hour with an individual who was involved in promoting their parole and probation agency and representing that agency, and I just sat there and listened to this person for a half hour talk about his experiences, and it was just fascinating in terms of the different things that he was doing and employing, and I came out of that with, wow, saying to myself, wow, if I would just have this opportunity more often, just to talk to different people and pick their brains for ideas, the exhibitors area is always amazing, because you have people who set up their wares, commercial companies and otherwise, who set up the different booths, and talk about the technology and how it’s having an impact on parole and probation, correct?

Diane Kincaid:  That’s correct.  We generally have a couple or three new ones come in, the technology is always advancing, so there are a lot of new things coming out, and our exhibit hall, unlike some other conferences, is not huge.  Attendees absolutely have every opportunity to visit every booth and speak to the representatives of those companies.  So it’s not overwhelming, it’s not a huge crowd, we have a very friendly crowd, and what amazes me is how excited people are about the work that they do.  That really helps people do my job, just to see how involved they are, and how much they do really want to help people.

Len Sipes:  Well, this is a hard job.  I mean, working directly with offenders, working with people under supervision, it’s a hard job, and sometimes you come out of it reinvigorated when you talk to other people and strategies that they’re using and listen to their experiences, I think sometimes it’s an opportunity to recharge your batteries when you go to an APPA conference.

Diane Kincaid:  I think so, and you know, we have the opportunity as well, joining committees on a number of different topics.  Our website will give you an idea of the different types of committees that we have, just join up, get involved, and you can get a lot of information in our conferences.  It’s only a few days long, but you meet a lot of people, and you get a lot of new ideas.

Len Sipes:  And it’s in Washington D.C. which, boy, if you bring your family and you bring your kids, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime in terms of seeing everything that D.C. has to offer.  Again, all of this is on the website,  Also wanted to tell you that we will be on the floor doing recordings, radio recordings of people on the floor of the conference, who are going to be, in essence, asking people why are they successful, or why their program is successful, or why their programs contribute to public safety, and so we’re just going to have a smorgasbord of people on the front lines, the parole and probation agents, and the other people who work on the front lines of community supervision and just get a sense as to why they’re successful, so if you want to be included in that, please show up and track us down.  Also, what we want to do, Diane, is talk about the marketing strategies part of it, the fact that we have a force for positive change as being the logo, and we have a website, an entirely different website.  Now you can gain access to the website, the marketing website, through the main website of APPA, or you can go to, and I’ll repeat this a couple times, – one word – dot-org, that’s I would imagine CC is Community Corrections?

Diane Kincaid:  Correct.

Len Sipes:  Okay.  And why did we do this, Diane?

Diane Kincaid:  Well this is a project that began several years ago, and of course, you remember being a member of the working group that got together to decide how we would best approach marketing community corrections as an outreach activity for agencies across the country, and one of the final deliverables that we had on this project is this website.  We have a number of different target groups that we use examples of tools that you can use for these groups to create outreach opportunities for your agency.  We also were able to produce a number of really nice videos.  There are videos of officers speaking about their job and what they do.  There are other videos of offenders speaking about their experience being on community supervision, so we were real excited to get those out, and we hope that people will take an opportunity to look at it.  I want to mention to that this entire project was funded through the bureau of justice assistance.  It was a small grant that we received to do this work for them, because they realized that outreach for community corrections agencies was sometimes difficult.  You simply don’t have time or the budget to have a full time public information officer, and many smaller agencies simply don’t have that.

Len Sipes:  And in essence, the website makes it easy for you to gain new ideas and to, more or less, figure out for yourself what it is that you can do within your agency.

Diane Kincaid:  That’s correct, and alongside that, as a sort of partner project, we did one on our own where the force for positive change came from.  That’s also available on our website with other tools.  They’re kind of linked projects, but they are pushing that same idea that you want to be prepared in your community for questions about the job that you’re doing.

Len Sipes:  Now it strikes me that the most important part of all this, because I’ve talked to, and you’ve talked to a lot of people throughout the country, and we’ve had people throughout the world, I mean, we’ve had a big contingent from England to come in and take a look at what we were doing with radio shows and the television shows and the blog, and talking about, this is something that we want to do.  But two things come to mind, it strikes me, in terms of marketing, community corrections, and marketing parole and probation.  Number one, most of us don’t do it, and I would like to ask your opinion as to why we don’t do it, and I suppose the second part of it is, well, let’s just stick with that for a moment.  Why don’t we market?

Diane Kincaid:  Well, it’s a difficult job to market yourself in a profession where it sometimes is difficult to actually explain what you do, and the professionals who do this type of work, for the most part, are just too busy to do outreach.  They keep their heads down, they take care of their clients, they report to a judge, they’re going to court, they just don’t have time to sit down and think about what they need to tell the community, or what they need to tell the media, but it’s very important that they do that, because unfortunately, situations will arise where something happens.  You may have an offender who does something on supervision, and everyone will turn around and look at that probation or parole department and want to know, you know, how did this happen, why did this happen?  But if you have that background, if you have that support of your community or support of the media.  They understand more about what you’re trying to do, and they understand that, while you’re trying to help offenders straighten out their lives and get a second chance, some people just have a lot harder time doing that than others.

Len Sipes:  Well, look.  Parole and probation agencies, it’s difficult.  You and I are going to agree to that, and everybody else listening to the program is probably going to agree to it, because it is inevitable that people coming out of the prison system, whether by parole or by mandatory release, are people who are on probation, they’re going to go out and do some terrible things.  It’s been that way in the 20 years that I have been associated with community corrections, and so it really doesn’t matter.  It, from the standpoint that, whether you want to market, or whether you want to work with the media or not work with the media, about 5 or 6 times throughout the course of the year, the media is going to say, why did that parolee, that parolee who committed that murder, was he properly supervised?  How many times did you come into contact with the individual, did he go to drug treatment, I’ve read his pre-sentence report, and he was supposed to get treatment for mental health treatment, did he?  I mean, that’s a difficult process for most parole and probation agencies, and what we’re saying is transparency is probably the best way to go, and there’s nothing more transparent than to explain what it is that you’re doing throughout the course of the year rather than what you’re doing within the context of something terrible happening.

Diane Kincaid:  That’s true, and in the community, and policymakers need to understand that none of this happens in a vacuum.  Funding must be provided for programs to help offenders.  You can’t simply release someone out into the community who has a substance abuse problem, who may have a mental illness, and expect them to just, do just fine.  They do need services, and the funding for that has to be provided.

Len Sipes:  Right, but I mean, to explain that whole process, it’s a lot better to explain that process in the context of, not being in the context of all heck breaking loose.  When a parolee goes out and commits a series of murders, and he may have been properly supervised, not properly supervise, to explain all of this in that context, your message never gets across.  All people want to know is, are you protecting my safety.  Where there are hundreds of other issues that we should be talking about throughout the course of the year, so the media and the public has a better understanding of what it is that we do on a day to day basis.

Diane Kincaid:  Well, and a lot of times, reporters will write these stories without speaking to anyone, any of the officials, or any of those authorized to speak to the media from community corrections.  They assume they know facts that may not be true.  They glean reports from here and there, but they really need to have that contact to get the correct information.

Len Sipes:  Diane Kincaid is the deputy director of the American Probation and Parole Association.  She’s been with the organization, how long, Diana?  150 years?

Diane Kincaid:  I’m not quite that old!

Len Sipes:  No!

Diane Kincaid:  But about 10 years or so.

Len Sipes:  But you’ve been there, you’ve been there for a solid decade, and she is, in essence, what all of us need information as I needed information yesterday, somebody was asking me what the average caseload of parole and probation agencies throughout the country was, I said contact Diane Kincaid.  I don’t know if the person has contacted you as of yet, but Diane is the, when somebody says, I need to know this information, my response is, Diane Kincaid, and here’s her telephone number. is the website.  Again, we’ve been talking about the 35th annual training institute coming up in Washington D.C., August 15th through 18th, and we’ve also been talking about the new website APPA has put up in terms of promoting community corrections,, all one word,, or to access the site through the website address that I’ve given probably now a dozen times, but I mean, a force for positive change.  What that says from APPA and for the rest of us is that we’re there to improve your life.  We’re there to have a positive impact on the community.

Diane Kincaid:  And to also support public safety.  That’s one of the primary functions of community supervision.

Len Sipes:  Right.  And that’s one of the things that I find most difficult, because when our response to practically everything, why are you doing this, and why are you doing that, it’s all a matter of public safety, it’s all a matter of keeping people safe, how many times throughout the 20 years that I have been speaking for both, you know, in some cases, both law enforcement and correctional, and community correctional organizations, I mean, the common theme is safety.  I mean, reporters want to know what you’re doing to keep them safe, their families safe, their communities safe.  Everybody wants to know what you’re doing to create a safer environment for them, correct?

Diane Kincaid:  That’s right, and they really need to understand that community corrections does provide that function.  You know, without them, I can’t imagine what types of things would happen, and how ill people, some of those offenders may be, and you know, it’s keeping the community safe, but also providing opportunities for offenders to change their behavior.

Len Sipes:  And the weird thing about it is, I think there’s research from the bureau of justice assistance – I’m sorry, statistics, bureau of justice statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, talking about the fact that I think one in every 40 Americans is under some form of community supervision, either probation, which is probably 85% of them, or parole or supervised release, which means you come out of the prison system, or on pre-trial, or on some sort of juvenile supervision.  I think it’s 1 out of every 40, now that’s currently under supervision.  If you count everybody who’s been in contact with the criminal justice system, it’s got to be at least 1 out of every 20, so the point is that anybody living in any metropolitan area anywhere within the United States or anywhere in this world, they’re going to encounter on a day to day basis a lot of people who are either currently caught up in the criminal justice system or been somehow some way have had contact in the past with the criminal justice system, and I suppose the question is, is that if that person has a mental health issue, do you want that person under treatment being, you’re interacting with that person every day, or do you want that person who needs treatment without treatment?  Isn’t that the question?  Isn’t that the inference that with these programs, we are safer?

Diane Kincaid:  That’s absolutely true.  For those people with mental illness, unfortunately, a lot of times, they are caught up in situations where they’re arrested for a crime, they’re jailed, if they were on some sort of medication, they’re more than likely not going to have that when they go to jail, so their situation deteriorates.  Back and forth, that entire process of going through the criminal justice system is difficult for a lot of people, so having that support system in between, you know, we’re talking about pretrial supervision, investigations, all the way through, they need that support to help them as well as to help the community.

Len Sipes:  I’ve seen a variety of research on drug treatment, and it’s not encouraging, that out of people caught up in the criminal justice system, I have seen figures ranging from 1 in 11 to 1 in 20.  I’m sorry, let me go back.  Either 11% get drug treatment, ranging from between 11% and 20% of people who need drug treatment caught up in the criminal justice system get drug treatment.  So what that’s saying is, very clearly, is that the overwhelming majority of people who need drug treatment don’t get it, and I think that’s one of the reasons why the bureau of justice assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice funded the American Probation and Parole Association to create, so it’s just not them who are talking about these issues, it is us here at Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, it is the people in Albuquerque, the people in Amarillo, the people in San Francisco, the people in Minnesota, all of us collectively are talking to our media about the need for programs.

Diane Kincaid:  True, and you know, a good place to find out about these programs are in, our website has some examples of these things, there are a number of federal websites for all sorts of programs that have been, they’re evidence based, they’ve been proven to work, and can be altered if they need to be for various agencies across the country.  It never hurts to ask questions.  You know, it goes, everything from technology and information sharing, the global justice information sharing project is a fabulous place if someone is looking for sharing offender information across jurisdictions with law enforcement, with, from community corrections to jails and prisons, there’s so much information out there that all you need to do is look for it or ask for it.

Len Sipes:  And I think that’s one of the interesting things, because we have you, and now you’re a membership based organization, and I am a member, have been a member for the last couple years, but so, you don’t have to be a member to go to the website, and to take a look at either APPA’s website, or the marketing strategies website, and to glean an awful lot of good information just from the websites.

Diane Kincaid:  Right, and I provide information to nonmembers as well as members.  I don’t, when somebody gives me a call, I don’t look them up and say, oh, you’re not a member, I can’t help you.

Len Sipes:  There you go, and that’s what I like about APPA.  You help everybody, but I did not want to put those words in your mouth, so I appreciate the fact that you guys do that, believe me.  Okay, so the parole and probation officers week, I’m, do I have that correctly, July 18-24, that’s what I call it, but it’s had another name?

Diane Kincaid:  We refer to it as the probation, parole, and community supervision week.  We want to include as many groups involved in a very detailed profession as we can.

Len Sipes:  Right, because you have pre-trial, you have juvenile.

Diane Kincaid:  Right, right.

Len Sipes:  Okay, and what is that all about?

Diane Kincaid:  Well, we celebrate a week every July, it’s generally the second week in July, second or third week, looks like.  We produce a website, we produce a new poster every year with a theme, this year’s theme is support for a second chance, reflecting, you know, all of the funding that has come from the federal government into the second chance act, and it’s, you know, most people think of the second chance for parolees, but unfortunately, there are a number of people who need a second chance who have been in and out of a jail, a community jail, or community transitional housing, so those services are needed for others besides just parolees.

Len Sipes:  Well, the second chance act, did you want to explain what the second chance act is?

Diane Kincaid:  The second chance act is a federally legislated funding program, was first passed through Congress, and then a year or so later received some funding from the U.S. Congress to provide grant funds for various agencies for things like jobs programs for offenders, treatment services for offenders, mental health programs, just a myriad of programs to assist offenders coming out of prisons and jails, just to get their lives on track and to make sure that they are getting the services that they need to become law abiding citizens.

Len Sipes:  And I think that that’s an amazing thing, because you have legislation from the federal government.  We’ve had bits and pieces of it in the past, but certainly this is significant.  There are hundreds of millions of dollars involved for community organizations, for parole and probation agencies, for a wide variety of groups to actually apply for funds, and to do reentry programs, offender reentry programs in their own communities, and it doesn’t, to my knowledge, I don’t think it has to be limited to solely to people coming out of the prison system, although I may be wrong about that.  IT has to do with community supervision across the board.

Diane Kincaid:  Pretty much.  I mean, they, the first set of funding proposals that were sent out, have covered a number of different programs.  I think, like I said earlier, most people do think about parole, parole release as that second chance, and giving services to parolees to get back into the communities, but I don’t know that it is specifically limited just for that.  It’s a pretty wide net.

Len Sipes:  But I think it is significant that there are hundreds of millions of dollars now coming from the federal government that weren’t there before, and hopefully, we can evaluate some of these programs and get a sense as to, a) do they work as well as everybody suggested that they do, and b) what are the specific strategies that make programs, some programs stronger than others?

Diane Kincaid:  Right, and what the federal government also urges is that these programs be evidence based, so that they are replicated, they can be replicated across different agencies and different areas, different jurisdictions.  You know, there are some pretty stringent rules on when they hand out money, and what the reporting process is for that.

Len Sipes:  Diane, we only have a couple minutes left in the program.  I did want to touch upon the resolutions.  You have one, on pre-trial supervision, victim restitution, restitution of voting rights, and felony tax refund intercept.  These are four resolutions that are going to be sent out to the membership of APPA?

Diane Kincaid:  We have recently had several of these resolutions passed on and reviewed by our executive committee and board of directors.  There are a number of different things that come out of federal initiatives that we support, oftentimes, our representative or a senator at the federal level will introduce a bill, and we will see that as something that is encouraging for community corrections, and we will write a resolution for our membership supporting that.  That happened for restoration of voting rights, and actually, our executive director was in D.C. a month or so ago, actually a couple months ago, and presented testimony in front of a House subcommittee supporting that legislation and emphasizing how important restoring rights is to offenders.

Len Sipes:  Sorry we didn’t get to the other three in terms of an explanation, but we are out of time, and I would, Diane, again, I want to thank you for all of the services that you provide to thousands of individuals every year, simply in terms of answering the questions and being sort of the front person for the American Probation and Parole Association, so we are grateful.  Ladies and gentlemen, today we’ve been talking to Diane Kincaid, the Deputy Director of the American Parole, Probation and Parole Association, two websites, is the principal website.  The marketing website is  Ladies and gentlemen, like I said before, we’re up to 200,000 requests on a monthly basis for D.C. Public Safety.  For the television shows, for the radio shows, for the blog and the transcripts, you can go to media – M-E-D-I-A – dot-csosa – C-S-O-S-A – dot-gov to access those four services.  You can comment in the comments section, and we do get about 10-12 comments out of the comments section every single day.  You can contact me directly, Leonard, L-E-O-N-A-R-D – dot-sipes – S-I-P-E-S –  You can follow us on twitter at, L-E-N-S-I-P-E-S one word, we’ll take all of your comments, whether they are positive or negative, and we appreciate your suggestions in terms of future programs, and you have yourselves a very pleasant day.

[Audio Ends]

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