Women Offenders – DC Public Safety Television 2011

Women Offenders – “DC Public Safety”

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Television Program available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/video/2011/05/women-offenders-%E2%80%93-dc-public-safety-television-2011/

We welcome your comments or suggestions at leonard.sipes@csosa.gov or at Twitter at http://twitter.com/lensipes.

[Video Begins]

Len Sipes: Hi and welcome to DC Public Safety.  I’m your host, Leonard Sipes.  Today’s program is on women offenders, and one of the reasons we’re doing today’s program is the fact that there are more women coming into the criminal justice system, both in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country.  Now the other issue is the fact that women offenders have higher rates of HIV, of substance abuse, of mental health problems.  But the thing that really astounds me is the difference between sexual violence when they are directed towards women offenders as children.  There’s a huge difference between the women coming into the criminal justice system, and male offenders.  To talk about what we’re doing here in Washington, D.C., and the what’s going on throughout the country, we have two principals with us today.  From my agency, we have Dr. Debra Kafami.  She is the Executive Assistant for my agency, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.  We also have Ashley McSwain, the Executive Director from Our Place, DC.  And to Debra and Ashley, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Dr. Debra Kafami: Thank you.

Ashley McSwain: Thank you.

Len Sipes: All right.  Well ladies, we have this issue of offenders coming into the criminal justice system, and of greatly concern to us.  And they’re different from male offenders, and we need to say that straight from the beginning, that there’s a big difference between male and female offenders, people caught up in the criminal justice system.  Debra, our agency, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, we’re reorganizing everything that we do around women offenders.   Why are we doing this?

Dr. Debra Kafami: Well, CSOSA is an evidence-based organization, and a lot of research coming out has shown that women are very, very different from male offenders.  And we started to look at what were we doing for female offenders. And they were kind of like just in with the men, and we weren’t doing a whole lot of specialized programming for women, yet they have very different needs and they have very different pathways into crime.  So we started to realize that the numbers are also increasing.  We had probably about 12% of our population ten years ago that were female offenders, and now we’re up to around 16%.  And nationally, the women entering the criminal justice system have outpaced the men.

Len Sipes: Right.

Dr. Debra Kafami: From 5% to about 3.3% since 1995.

Len Sipes: Right.  Now on the second half of the program, we’re going to have Dr. Willa Butler, she runs women groups for us, and we’re going to have an individual currently under supervision.  So she’ll talk more about the practical reality of what we do at CSOSA in terms of dealing with women offenders.  But one of the things that Willa’s group has been able to demonstrate is that they have a pretty good success rate, once you take women offenders, put them into a program, put them into a group setting where they can talk through these issues, where they can sort of help and heal each other.  So we’re reorganizing in CSOSA, in Washington, D.C., around these groups, correct?  And we’re going to add a day reporting component, and all women offenders are going to be reporting to one field agency.

Dr. Debra Kafami: Exactly.

Len Sipes: So we’re just reorganizing everything we do!

Dr. Debra Kafami: Yes.  What we decided to do was to create three teams at one of our field sites, centrally located near Union Station and have the women report there.  We’re establishing a day reporting center, just for female offenders, so they can come in one place and get services.  And their programming will be completely separate from the male offenders, which we did not have before.  Women behave differently even when they’re in groups, and they’re less likely to open up when they’re in groups with male offenders.

Len Sipes: Yeah, I’ve attended a couple of Willa’s groups, and I have to ask permission to come in, and the women have to get to know me and like me before they even allowed me inside the group.  But once there, it was a really extraordinary experience.

Dr. Debra Kafami: We’re also especially training our staff to work with female offender.

Len Sipes: In terms of the gender specific?

Dr. Debra Kafami: Yes.

Len Sipes: Okay.  Ashley McSwain, Executive Director of Our Place, DC.  First of all, Our Place — and I’ve said this constantly — is maybe the most comprehensive one-stop service for women coming out of the prison system anywhere in the United States.  It’s amazing!  Instead of sending the people coming out of the prison system over here for legal assistance, over there for clothing, over there for HIV, you’ve got all of these services under one roof.  I have no idea as to how you do it.  And I’ve heard so many women caught up in the criminal justice system speak so highly of Our Place, DC.  So tell me a little bit, what is Our Place, DC?

Ashley McSwain: Okay.  We work with women who are currently and formerly incarcerated.  So we actually go into the facilities and we offer employment workshops, legal clinics, HIV programming, and we offer case management prior to women ever being released.  So we have really good relationships with the prisons, the jails, the half-way house.  In addition, when a woman is released, she can come to Our Place and we have a drop-in center where she can just drop in, and we offer her tokens for the metro.  We offer birth certificates, identification.  We have a clothing boutique where she can get clothing.  We have HIV prevention and awareness programming, so she can get condoms, and we have a HIV 101 that every woman is subject to.  We have an employment department to help women get resumes.  We actually have a legal department, so we have two full-time attorneys on staff, which is one of our biggest programs.  We take collect calls from women.  We get five hundred calls a month.  We have a case management program so we work with women four months before they’re released, and then we work with them after they’re released.  So it’s very, very comprehensive.  We have a visitation program where we take family members to various facilities to visit their loved ones.  So, yeah, we do quite a bit at Our Place.

Len Sipes: That is amazing.  We did a radio show a little while ago, and I said, during the radio show, that if anybody out there is looking for a wonderful 501c3 tax exempt organization where they can donate money, they need to look at Our Place, DC.  And the website for Our Place DC is going to be shown constantly throughout the television program.

Len Sipes: All right, so CSOSA, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, Debra, our agency, we’re a Federal Parole and Probation Agency.  Women are a part of who we supervise, Ashley.  Women come into Our Place, D.C. and get all of these comprehensive services.  I love the fact that you’re inside the prison system, making contact with women long before they come out.  So let’s get to the broader philosophical issues of women offenders, if we could for a second.  There’s a huge difference between men and women.  Certainly one of those issues is the fact that the great majority of women coming out have kids.

Ashley McSwain: Yes.

Len Sipes: And so, I don’t want to be overly stereotypical, and I’ll probably get phone calls, but the sense that I get from a lot of the male offenders is that they don’t see themselves as responsible.  The sense that I get from the women offenders is they want their kids back.

Ashley McSwain: Yes.

Len Sipes: How do you do that?  How do you come out of the prison system with all the baggage that you have to carry, in terms of finding work and re-establishing yourself, and taking care of a couple kids?  That, to me, almost seems to be impossible.  Ashley?

Ashley McSwain: Yes, it’s extremely difficult.  And one of the things that’s happening now, since we’re looking at gender-specific issues, is this idea that women have to not only build a foundation for themselves when they’re released, but they also have to build foundation for their children.  And acknowledging that as being their reality is helpful, as we help them prepare for their future.  It’s very difficult.  What we do at Our Place is try to build some of the basic foundations, you know, so housing, and dealing with whatever the underlying legal issues are, and helping them identifying jobs.  And then we tackle this issue of getting custody of children and identifying visitation, and those kinds of very serious issues.

Len Sipes: We talked about higher rates of substance abuse, Debra.
We talked about higher rates of HIV.  We talked about higher rates of mental health problems, and this astounding issue of the rate of sexual violence being directed towards them when they were younger, a lot of cases by family members and friends.  Most of the women offenders that I’ve come into contact with throughout my career have got a rock-hard crust.  If we’re going to have any hopes of — I mean, public safety is our first priority.  We’re not going to hesitate putting anybody back in prison if that’s going to protect public safety.  But if we’re going to really succeed in terms of getting these individuals through supervision successfully, we have to have programs.  For the programs to be successful, we’ve got to break through that hard crust.  How do we do that?

Dr. Debra Kafami: Well it’s not an easy job, that’s for sure, and that’s where our specialized programming comes into play, with our specially-trained staff that we have.  I know Dr. Butler will talk about the Women in Control Again Program, but that’s just one example.  We also want to address the substance abuse issues.  Many of them don’t get enough treatment while they’re incarcerated, and they need that.  We also work with them on traumatization and victimization issues.  Housing — housing is another big issue for the women, trying to find stable housing.

Len Sipes: Especially in Washington, D.C.!

Dr. Debra Kafami: They face, really, an insurmountable — almost — number of problems. — And family reunification is another very big one.

Len Sipes: Right.  But I mean, getting, breaking through that hard crust, I mean, sometimes they can be as hard as nails.  When they come out of the prison system, they don’t trust you.  Why should they trust us?  We just put them in prison.  Why should they trust government?  Ashley, isn’t that one of the most difficult things when a woman comes out of the prison system and gets into Our Place, isn’t that one of the most difficult things that you have to deal with, and your staff?

Ashley McSwain: Well, one of the things that happens is that because we are working with the woman prior to her release, we’re actually establishing a relationship, a trusting relationship, with her before she’s released.  Our Place has a really good reputation of being a safe place, and so when the women come here, there’s this welcoming environment that says that it’s a safe place, a safe space to be.  And not only that, it’s a place where you can trust what it is that you’re sharing is confidential.  We don’t send people back to prison.  We don’t have those kinds of authorities, and so the dynamics are a little different.  So we can build a trusting relationship in a way that CSOSA and other organizations may not be able to.

Len Sipes: Yeah.  We would have a hard time because we’re a law enforcement agency, and at the same time we’re trying to break down those barriers and help them in terms of programs.  We all agree, the three of us agree, that substance abuse programs, mental health programs, HIV programs, and programs to deal specifically with this history of sexual violence, are all necessary if that individual is going to successfully complete supervision.  Am I right or wrong?

Ashley McSwain: Yeah, that’s correct.

Dr. Debra Kafami: Definitely.

Len Sipes: I mean, we’re living in a day and age of cutbacks. We’re living in a day and age of limited government.  So we’ve got to be able to tell people that these programs save tax dollars.  You know, one of the programs that we have, the great majority of people successfully complete the program, which means they don’t go back to prison, which means they save tax-paid dollars, and in some cases hundreds of thousands of tax-paid dollars.  So there’s an economic incentive as well as a social incentive to be doing these things, correct?

Ashley McSwain: Yes.  I would also say that Our Place helps a woman begin to implement a plan.  So many of the women, while they’re incarcerated, they don’t know where to begin.  And so this idea of saving tax-payer dollars, you know, someone has to have a plan in which to begin to develop in order to stay out of prison.  And so that’s one of the really important services I think we offer is the ability to work with a woman so that she has some hope and some ideas about what her next steps are going to be.

Len Sipes: Okay.  And Debra, the national research does show that if you’re gender-specific in terms of your approach of dealing with women offenders, you’re going to have a much higher rate of success in terms of them successfully completing supervision.

Dr. Debra Kafami: Yes, and better outcomes.  And I did want to add that when the offender comes to CSOSA, the first thing we do is a risk-and-needs assessment, and we also come up with a prescriptive supervision or an intervention plan.  We work very closely with Our Place staff too, so our Community Supervision Officers are on the same team, with Our Place staff, to try and help guide the offender.

Ashley McSwain: I just want to say, one of the things we do is that we don’t actually create release plans.  We help implement the plans that were created by CSOSA and the Bureau of Prisons, which is really helpful for the women.

Dr. Debra Kafami: And sharing information.

Len Sipes: And sharing information.  It just strikes me that — and Debra, you and I come from the same system in the State of Maryland — the women offenders just came home and they were home.  That’s all there was to it.  I mean, there were no programs specifically for them.  There were no efforts.  We have CSOSA and we have Our Place DC.  I mean, there really is a focus now on making sure that that individual woman gets the programs and assistance that she needs, and if we do that, fewer crimes are going to be committed and fewer people are going to go back to prison, saving a ton of tax-paid dollars.

Dr. Debra Kafami: Well, not to mention too, that the women, most of them have children, and that separation from their children is not good for the children or the mother, and if we can help the women be successful and not go back to prison, it’s going to only help their children.

Len Sipes: Right, by every woman offender we help, we’re helping two or three or more other individuals have a much greater chance of having a pro-social life.  Research is clear that the rates of the children going into the criminal justice system or having problems in school are much higher if a parent is incarcerated.  So this is not only dealing with her, it’s dealing with three or four other human beings.

Ashley McSwain: Right.  And that also speaks to this issue of gender-specific.  When a woman goes to prison, you’re not only dealing with that person — woman being a mother, she’s someone’s daughter, you know.  So all of these people are impacted when she’s incarcerated, and also they’re impacted when she’s released.

Len Sipes: Right.  So I think we’re going to out the program with that.  I really appreciate the fact that you two were here and set up this whole program.  On the second half, ladies and gentlemen, what we’re going to do is talk to Dr. Willa Butler.  She runs groups for women offenders, and we’re going to talk to an individual currently under supervision.  Please stay with us as we explore this larger issue of women offenders in the criminal justice system.  We’ll be right back.

[Music Playing]

Len Sipes: Welcome back to D.C. Public Safety.  I continue to be your host, Leonard Sipes.  We continue to have a conversation about women offenders.  In the first half we did talk about the fact that there are more women coming into the criminal justice system, and the question becomes what is our agency, the Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency, doing about it, and what’s happening throughout the country.  With the bottom line behind all of that are gender-specific programs, and the research is pretty clear that if you have these gender-specific programs, programs and treatment specifically designed for women offenders, they have much better outcomes.  And we have two individuals to talk about much better outcomes, Dr. Willa Butler, she’s a group facilitator for my agency, the Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency, and Talynthia Jones is a person currently under supervision by my agency.  And to Dr. Butler, to Willa, and to Talynthia, welcome back to D.C. Public Safety.

Dr. Willa Butler: Thank you.

Len Sipes: Willa, this whole process with the group — you’ve run the group.  I have seen some of the groups.  It is an amazing place to be when the women under your supervision open up.  Some of the stuff that they talk about is scary.  I always like to refer to it as a trip to Mars, because their experience probably is not your experience.  It certainly hasn’t been my experience in terms of all of the issues that they have had to deal with in life.  A lot of these individuals come to us battered and bruised, and we’re not making excuses for their criminality, and we’re not saying we’re not going to send them back to prison.  We will in a heartbeat if that’s going to protect public safety.  But your group has a good track record of getting them through supervision successfully, and considering the issues they bring to the table, I find that astounding.  So tell me a little bit about this group process.

Dr. Willa Butler: What it is, WICA — Women in Control Again. It’s a group that I developed some years ago for the agency, and it deals with the issues and concerns of the female offender. — Their pathways to crime, how they got started in the criminal justice system, and knowing how they got started lets us know how we can keep them from returning and breaking that cycle of pain.  And what we deal with in group, we deal with first of all we start with who they are.  And a lot of women don’t know exactly who they are, because they’ve been out in the drinking and drugging for so long, and at such an early age, it’s like, “I really don’t know who I am today.  And now that I’m clean, I’m trying to find myself”, in a sense.  And that’s what we deal with, things of that nature.  And we deal with the substance abuse, and the whole gamut, the parenting skills, housing, whatever issues that concerns them.  That’s mainly what we deal with.  There’s basically seventeen critical issues that we deal with in that group process.  But the main thing is showing empathy, showing that you care, and developing a trusting environment, where they can not only trust you, but trust each other.

Len Sipes: The criminologists call it cognitive restructuring, and there is plenty of research out there that indicates that that works.  Now “cognitive restructuring” to the average person listening to this program is helping individuals think differently about who they are and what they are.  My guess is that a lot of the women involved in your groups have never dealt with that subject before in their lives, have never had an opportunity to say, “Who am I?  What do I want to do?  Where do I need to go?”  Is that correct?

Dr. Willa Butler: That’s correct.  And when you talk about cognitive restructuring, it’s basically getting to the core, getting to the core factor as to why I do the things that I do.  And once we find that out, then we can start changing, because that begins to empower the person.  And we know what our limitations are, and we also know what our assets are as well, and it helps us to develop.

Len Sipes: I’m going to go over to Talynthia in a couple seconds.  But you and I have had other programs together about this topic, and my favorite story is when I was with the Maryland Correctional System and sitting down with a bunch of women offenders, and they actually told me that prison, in this pre-release center, was preferable to going home at times.  And I always found that astounding, why would an individual find prison to be preferable to life on the outside.  And they said to me that they’ve never felt safer.  They’re getting their GED.  They were getting at that point a food certificate, a culinary arts certificate.  And they were running groups.  And for the first time in their lives, they weren’t trying to figure out who they were and where they were going with their lives.  And also, it was safer in prison because they had been so beaten up on the outside.  So there’s a larger, really societal issue that is at play here that we’re not going to be able to solve.  But Talynthia, over to you.  Thank you very much for being on the program.

Talynthia Jones: You’re welcome.

Len Sipes: I really appreciate it.  Now you’re currently under supervision by my agency, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, and you’re currently involved in a lot of groups.

Talynthia Jones: Yes.

Len Sipes: Okay.  Does that group process work for you?

Talynthia Jones: It’s working very well for me.  Dr. Butler is a good counselor.  She’s helping me to deal with me, to learn me, to get inside myself, to know what’s going on with me and why I keep using, why I keep doing the things that I’m doing to go back in the system.  And I’ve been doing this for too long.  And as we do the group sessions and the work papers that we do, you know, in the groups, it’s helping us to not just wonder how dominate we can be to stay strong, but how dominate that we can put ourselves into another place, to learn how getting your life together is much better than to just cover it up with some mess.  And I’ve just been feeling good about myself here lately.

Len Sipes: Wonderful.

Talynthia Jones: And I love, I love every minute.  I get up early in the morning, I’m always there early, because I can’t wait to talk about me.  Because I’m tired of just having all this bottled-up junk inside me that’s keeping me going back into the places and the phases that I’ve been doing.

Len Sipes: Is this the first time in your life that you’ve had an opportunity to really sit down and talk with other people about everything that’s happened in your past?

Talynthia Jones: Yes.  It’s actually been the very first time that I’ve actually even dealt with women, because I have women issues.  And Dr. Butler is teaching me how to communicate with women, how to communicate period.  And it is very good, it’s very good.

Len Sipes: Now in terms of sharing that information, I mean, was I right before in the program where I said that a lot of women who come out of the prison system were rock-hard.  They don’t trust anybody.  They don’t trust any one for any reason.  How did Dr. Butler break through that barrier to get to you?

Talynthia Jones: She broke the barrier with me because I don’t see Dr. Butler as a Court Service Agency.  I see her as a mother figure.

Len Sipes: Right.

Talynthia Jones: Because she don’t look at us as criminals.  She look on us at people, as children, you know, children of God, you know.  And she loves us unconditionally, and she’s willing to help us. When other people out in society, they look at us, “Well, she’s nothing but a drug addict.  She’s nothing but a criminal.  She keeps doing this and she keep doing that.”  But Dr. Butler doesn’t see us that way.

Len Sipes: And in terms of this group process, if you weren’t involved in this group process, where would be now?  If you came from the prison system and all we did was supervise you and put you under GPS and drug test you and hold you accountable for your actions — if that’s all we did, we didn’t supply this gender-specific approach, this group process, where would be now?

Talynthia Jones: I would be still using.  I would be back in the penal system. Because all drugging do is cover up your feelings, covering up your emotions.  It’s covering up what you dealing with instead of you dealing with it on your own, or dealing with it with someone that’s going to help you to get involved with yourself, to let all these emotions out so that you won’t cover it up with drugs.

Len Sipes: Right.  And how to cope with life without turning to drugs.

Talynthia Jones: Yes.

Len Sipes: And so, you said you had women’s issues or issues with dealing with other women, how difficult was that? — Because you’re in these groups, you share that experience. You share all these ugly things that have happened to you throughout your life, sharing that with a group of women.  Was that easy or difficult or what?

Talynthia Jones: It was difficult when I first got in, until I saw Dr. Butler, because I was able to talk to Dr. Butler before.  And she really lets you know that it’s okay.  It’s okay to talk about what’s going on with you.  And see, I’m a person that’s afraid to talk about what’s going on with me because I’m afraid of what somebody going to think of me.  And that’s what most women think, you know.  And doing the things that we do, if we talk about it, somebody won’t think something bad about us. It’s always come to me and my attention, as brought up, that what I did was my fault.  And I know everything that I do is not my fault.

Len Sipes: Right.  Well, before we get back to Dr. Butler for the close of the program, getting back to that whole issue of how other people think about you — most people, you’re coming out of the prison system, they’re going to say, “You’re a criminal.  I don’t want to fund programs for criminals.  I’ve got bigger fish to fry.  Let’s give it to the church.  Let’s give it to the PTAs.  I don’t want programs for criminals, and I don’t want to hire criminals.”  Okay, you’re a criminal, technically.

Talynthia Jones: Yes.

Len Sipes: Okay.  That stereotype — that’s the difference between what people have in their mind of criminal, and there you are, a pretty young woman who’s successfully dealing with all the issues in her life.  How do you feel about that?

Talynthia Jones: Well, it makes me feel bad for the people out there, because they don’t realize that the women here are dealing with so much emotional things, and because they are dealing with it in the wrong way, and the people don’t want to help them, it shows that they only think of themselves.  They’re worrying about themselves.  They’re not caring about what we feeling and what we going through, why we’re doing this.

Len Sipes: And you’re not that stereotype, is the bottom line.

Talynthia Jones: I’m not that stereotype.  I want the help.  And some women are out here that don’t want the help, they just want to get off paper.  But me, I want the help.  I know I need the help, not for me, but for my family.  And I have to think about me first, because if I don’t care of me, I can’t take care of no one else.

Len Sipes: Understood.  Completely understood.

Talynthia Jones: And see, and that’s what the society needs to know, that if we get the help that we need, and not only from the government, well maybe from family members, the support that we need, the love, the care and affection that we didn’t get back in our childhood that causes us to grow up in adulthood to do the things that we do.

Len Sipes: Right.  Willa, the great majority of the people that are in your groups complete them successfully.

Dr. Willa Butler: Yes.

Len Sipes: The rate of successful completion is much higher than it is for men.  It’s much higher than it is for everybody combined.  I think what Talynthia just said, and it was very impressive and I thank you for sharing that story, is the heart and soul of it.  She’s getting the help she needs and she’s doing fine because she’s getting the help she needs.  Is that the bottom line behind this?

Dr. Willa Butler: Yes.  And that is the main bottom line behind, like you say, is to give them the help and support; but not only that, but to have an understanding of what’s happening.  Most of the women who have been through the criminal justice system have been raped or molested at a very early age, and that’s something that comes out in the group process.  And it gives them an understanding, like Talynthia said, and why we drug through that.  We’re not using it as an excuse, but when you’ve gone through a trauma like that, and then there’s no one out there to help you or assist you, and that’s one thing that the women don’t have as children, they didn’t have that support, that healthy network and system.  So they turn within by using drugs or whatever else was out there, and then they ended up in the criminal justice system, because they’re trying to support their habit or whatever, and live out of the normal society.

Len Sipes: And you’ve got the final word.  First of all, thank you very much, ladies, for being on the program.  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for watching us as we explored this issue of women offenders.  Look for us next time as we look at another important topic in today’s criminal justice system.  Please have yourselves a very, very pleasant day.

[Video Ends]


Offenders Assigned to Day Reporting-DC Public Safety-228,000 Requests a Month

Welcome to DC Public Safety – radio and television shows on crime, criminal offenders and the criminal justice system.

See http://media.csosa.gov for our television shows, blog and transcripts.

This radio program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/2009/11/offenders-assigned-to-day-reporting-dc-public-safety-228000-requests-a-month/

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– Audio begins –

Len Sipes: From our microphones in downtown Washington, D.C., this is D.C. Public Safety. I’m your host, Leonard Sipes. We have, I think, a really interesting program today. Day reporting: These are individuals who come to my agency, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. They go to Day Reporting when they haven’t done all that well and there are problems in their supervision or they’re not getting jobs and what we do is we say, well, you’re going to have to go to the Day Reporting Center on a day-to-day basis and you’re going to be talking with Mr. Walter Hagins. He is the program manager of the Day Reporting Center and we’ll also have two folks who are currently under our supervision. Again, we are a federal agency providing parole and probation services in Washington, D.C. and I’m not going to use their real names. I’m going to refer to them as Pookie as the first person and Cool as the second person. Ladies and gentlemen, before we get into the gist of our show, want to remind everybody that we are again very, very pleased with the amount of people who are listening to the show. We are up to close to 200,000 individuals, 200,000 requests I should say, for D.C. Public Safety radio, television, blog, and transcripts at media M-E-D-I-A.csosa C-S-O-S-A.gov. Really interested in your comments in the show, suggestions, criticisms; feel free to give them. You can either comment in the comment box at D.C. Public safety; again, media.csosa.gov or you can get to me directly by email, which is Leonard L-E-O-N-A-R-D.sipes S-I-P not T, P-E-S@csosa.gov or you can follow me by Twitter. It’s Twitter.com or Twitter.com/lensipes (without any separation). So, back to our program. Walter Hagins, the program manager of the Day Reporting Center. How ya doing, Walter?

Walter Hagins: Good morning, Len. How are you today?

Len Sipes: I’m all right. You know, Walter, I’ve been to the Day Reporting Center maybe three, four times in the past and I remember we were doing fugitive safe surrender, which was a program designed to get people who are wanted on criminal warrants to voluntarily surrender. So, I did a couple focus groups with the folks at Day Reporting and, boy, were they an interesting bunch of folk. You really got the sense that a lot of these individuals were on the edge that they’re in the community today but they may go back to prison the following day. And I just did not get the sense that these were the most disciplined bunch of folks on the face of the earth. Walter?

Walter Hagins: Well, Len, part of that is partially true and the reason I say that because at the Day Reporting Center it is sort of a one-stop shop to try to get folks back into compliance as well as to try to get individuals to become more employable and that can range from anything from dealing with issues of substance abuse, dealing with issues of homelessness, dealing with issues of literacy, dealing with issues of mental health, dealing with a lot of host of things; personal problems. And so that can trigger one’s supervision that causes them to make decisions that places them at risk. So, the Day Reporting Center, so you do get those folks and it’s our job to kind of mow them back and get them refocused in order to be productive, not only in their lives but in the community.

Len Sipes: But they’re close to going back to prison.

Walter Hagins: Well, yeah, a lot of them because if you don’t follow conditions of supervision, you will go back to prison if you don’t follow those conditions.

Len Sipes: Uh-huh. If you keep pulling positive drug tests, if you don’t show up for drug testing, if the neighbors keep complaining that you’re out on the corner at 1:00 in the morning smoking reefer and raising hell, you’re close to going back to prison.

Walter Hagins: And that’s correct and, fortunately, for us, CSOSA understands that there is a way to kind of intercede, to give another opportunity, another resource, and still hold accountability to try to avoid that going back to prison.

Len Sipes: The bottom line in all of this, and this is the larger question for parole and probation agencies throughout the country, Walter, is the whole concept of maintaining individuals in the community as long as they are not a threat to public safety. So, if the person is arrested for a violent crime, he goes. Nobody’s questioning that. If he’s arrested for a burglary, he goes. But the point is that there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the middle, in between, and the larger sense for all of us in parole and probation in Canada, in England, and, believe it or not, in China because we’ve provided technical assistance to China on this very issue, is how you maintain folks in the community safely, not threatening public safety, and help them basically stop the drug positives, get the job, clean up the attitude. Am I right or am I wrong? Am I in the ballpark?

Walter Hagins: You are right on point and I think CSOSA is unique because I believe that we are on the right path because what you’re talking about is in a time of financial constraints. Roughly we have anywhere from 40 to 50 that’s always in the Day Reporting Center. Now, to house a federal prisoner, it’s $22,000. So, if you take our 50 guys, that’s roughly over $1,100,000 and my math might be a little bit off but it’s roughly over $1 million. So, what CSOSA has done with this Day Reporting Center is offer a one-stop shop, a place where folks on probation can come and (1) can get structure, can get programming, and can get discipline as well as get the resources from our community partnerships, from what we have in-house to kind of try to combat that so you don’t have to deal with folks returning to prisons and giving them an opportunity. So, that’s been the dilemma and CSOSA’s answer is to let’s not bring folks in who may be drifting and bring them, if it’s substance abuse, bring them substance abuse education. If it’s dealing with structure, have a place where these individuals can come in and they report in for five to six hours, but make that time constructive, make that time where they can receive positive information as well as have a positive support system.

Len Sipes: Okay. Got it. And, just for the record, I want to tell the listeners that there are a variety of programs here at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency where it is, oh, I don’t know what we call all of the different programs that we have, but they are designed to provide a variety of activities, a variety of, I don’t know what the word is, opportunity, a variety of modalities based upon the offender’s unique individual needs all the way to a 30 day placement in a treatment center to deal with either mental health or substance abuse or other problems. So, this is just one of a variety of programs where we try to do the best to protect public safety and, at the same time, try to get that individual to understand that he’s got to work every day, he’s got to stop pulling drug positives, he’s got to cooperate, and he’s got to lose the attitude.

Walter Hagins: You’re right on point.

Len Sipes: All right. Cool. Pookie, we’re going to go over to you now. Really appreciate your being here. Now, you are part of the Day Reporting structure now?

Pookie: That’s correct. How ya doing, Lenny? You doing good?

Len Sipes: I’m doing good. The interesting thing, Pookie, is that, boy, you don’t fit the stereotype. Last time I was at Day Reporting, everybody was young and dressed young and looked young. You’re an older gentleman.

Pookie: Well, consider old

Len Sipes: Well, in a suit and tie, you look good. You look like you’re president of a bank.

Pookie: Well, half my battle has been because of my appearance.

Len Sipes: You know what? Who said that? Somebody said, oh, I forget who said it, some famous celebrity, Woody Allen, I think it was, who said that 80 percent of life and life’s battle’s just showing up. And then somebody came along and said, well, it’s 80 percent just showing up and dressed in a suit or dressed appropriately and that’s 80 percent of life, 80 percent of the success in life is just showing up and looking good. And that’s, you figured that out.

Pookie: That’s correct.

Len Sipes: All right. How’d you get into the Day Reporting program?

Pookie: Well, I got into Day Reporting program because I violated conditions of parole. I came home, I tried unsuccessfully to get a job and it’s been, like, four months. Me and my parole officer decided to try something new, which was he referred me to the Day Reporting Center. I’m not there because of sanction because my urine is positive. I’m not there because I failed to report to his office and I’m not there because I failed to be at my home when he had a home visit. So, I’m basically there to try something new, to try another avenue, to try to get myself back in the mainstream of a job.

Len Sipes: What’s your background, by the way? Somebody listening can, hopefully, get you a job today.

Pookie: Well, my background is being raised in a juvenile institution from the time I was 8 up until, let’s say, 47, I’ve always been a leader, even in prison. I’ve always been able to motivate. So, I say, okay, I’m going to try to use these skills when I get into the community. I got a job cleaning the streets. Made me feel good. The pay wasn’t that great, but I felt good about making an honest dollar. I advanced from team leader to supervisor to senior supervisor to acting project manager. Right? And I normally motivate and I talk to my co-workers.

Len Sipes: What happened? Something happened.

Pookie: However, I did come up with a dirty urine.

Len Sipes: Ah! Okay.

Pookie: Over a 5-year period in the community; first I’ve ever had in my life.

Len Sipes: First dirty urine under supervision?

Pookie: Not my first dirty urine.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Pookie: But what I’m saying is that my first dirty urine, kind of, it had a conflict between me and my parole officer because my dirty urine was alcohol and, see under conditions of parole, you can’t drink alcohol but in moderation, not in excess.

Len Sipes: So, but you’re out of work now, right?

Pookie: I’m out of work now.

Len Sipes: And why’s that?

Pookie: I’m out of work now because I just came home last year in November.

Len Sipes: From prison.

Pookie: From prison.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Pookie: Right? I had to go through the Reentry Center program.

Len Sipes: Right, which is another of our alternative programs.

Pookie: Correct.

Len Sipes: Or not in the case, not an alternative program, but a mode of transitioning being back into the community through intensive drug treatment, mental health; that sort of stuff.

Pookie: In-patient. I also went through drug treatment, which is Second Genesis.

Len Sipes: Cool. Okay. So, you went through the whole she-bang.

Pookie: The whole she-bang.

Len Sipes: Our drug treatment, by the way, ladies and gentlemen, is not what most people think of drug treatment. It’s not twice a week for an hour in a group setting. It is pretty intensive.

Pookie: And it’s all day.

Len Sipes: A thorough analysis of the individual and then placing this person into a residential group setting and a plan for follow-up, relapse prevention for when the person gets out. Correct?

Pookie: Correct.

Len Sipes: Okay. Did it work?

Pookie: It worked. I successfully completed each and every component of the Reentry Program.

Len Sipes: All right. So, you’re not doing drugs?

Pookie: I’m not doing drugs. Matter of fact, I haven’t been home since November 28 of last year and all my urines are negative.

Len Sipes: Okay. So, you’re one of our success stories. So, instead of throwing you back in prison, you’re back in the community and you’re trying to make it.

Pookie: I’m trying to make it. I’m not asking for welfare. I’m not asking for a hand-out. I’m just asking for an extended hand, you know?

Len Sipes: Uh-huh.

Pookie: I’m asking for, give me an opportunity, because my last job, I was given an opportunity.

Len Sipes: But why’d you lose the last job?

Pookie: Because I was violated, not because of anything on the job.

Len Sipes: Okay. But you went back to prison.

Pookie: I went back to prison.

Len Sipes: What’s your skill set? What do you do? What are you good at?

Pookie: Well, I’m good at scrubbing floors. I’m good at carpentry. I’m good at motivating. I’m good at supervising. I’m good at fixing small equipment; lawn mowers, weed whackers. I’ve been able to use

Len Sipes: So, you’re a “hands on” sort of guy?

Pookie: Because I learned each and every phase of my job; that’s why I got to the point of acting supervisor.

Len Sipes: Okay. Cool. And you were working for the city at the time?

Pookie: Well, I was working for a private company but it does work for the city.

Len Sipes: A private company that works for the city. Okay. Anybody out there that’s got a job for Pookie, let me tell you, he looks like a bank president sitting here. I mean, he just looks like a bank president. We’re going to go over to another gentleman who came in today. He’s currently under supervision and we’re just going to call him Cool. I’ve heard the name 40 years in the criminal justice system; Cool Breeze, Cool Man, Cool Kid. I’ve heard about every variation of Cool on the face of the earth. How ya doing, Cool?

Cool: I’m doing good. How ya doing?

Len Sipes: All right. Now, you look like a rock star. You look like you’re just fresh off of MTV doing something or other. You’ve got this fresh face, young man look going about you. And tell me a little bit about your involvement in the Day Reporting system, Cool.

Cool: Well, the Day Reporting Center has done very good for me. Instead of my CSO sending me back to jail, she send me to the Day Reporting Center, which is good.

Len Sipes: Right. And the CSO’s the Community Supervision Officer, what most people would call a parole and probation agent throughout the rest of the country. So, what did you do that got you instead of going back to prison you went here?

Cool: Well, I participated. I mean, I could have said, no.

Len Sipes: Now, what did you do? What was your violation?

Cool: Oh, I didn’t catch any violations. I had no violations. It was because I didn’t obtain employment.

Len Sipes: All right. So, you’re not out there finding work.

Cool: Yes.

Len Sipes: Do you have work now?

Cool: No, not at all, sir.

Len Sipes: All right. But you’re getting work?

Cool: Yes.

Len Sipes: Cool. All right. What’s your impression about the Day Reporting Center? Is it a huge pain in the rear? Is it helpful? Is it, what’s your gut perception of this?

Cool: Well, the Day Reporting Center to me, it offers a lot of good programs. I mean, everyone has their own opinion, but for me, I think, the Day Reporting Center is a good program. I can relate to, I’m down at the Day Reporting Center five days a week, so out of those five days a week, I can relate to at least about 4 1/2 classes out of there. I say 4 1/2 because at one point in time it’s from 1:00 to 3:00. So, it’s a certain speaking at 1:00 till 2:00 and then from 2:00 till 3:00.

Len Sipes: I’m going to reintroduce all three of you because, believe it or not, we’re halfway through the half hour program. Ladies and gentlemen, this is D.C. Public Safety. Walter Hagins is the program manager of the Day Reporting Center for our agency, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Walter brought in a couple gentlemen with him today who are part of the process of the Day Reporting Center and we’re not using their real names. We’re calling just one, Pookie, the bank manager, and Cool, the gentleman from MTV, and that’s how I’ve got them all figured out in my mind. Let’s have a larger discussion for the last 15 minutes and I’m going to go back to you, Cool, because I didn’t give you a lot of time. What society is saying and the emails I get and the communications that I get from people who hear these shows and I’m also teaching a class at the University of Maryland right now and I’m giving sort of, like, half down the middle where half the folks are saying, you know, these individuals try to do what you can to keep them in the community. If they don’t have to go back to prison, I really don’t want to pay all the money to send them back to prison, but I want to be protected. That’s the bottom line. So, if you can figure out, Mr. Sipes, you and your agency, if you can figure out who’s going to do well in community supervision and who needs to go back to prison, well, then cool, but I’m not really quite sure I trust your judgment. Pookie and Cool, Cool, we’ll go with you. How do you respond to people on the outside who basically said, look, my man, you’ve been in prison. We expect you to work and pay your taxes and don’t have any dirty urines. We don’t want you doing drugs. We want you to be a model citizen and that’s what we want out of you. How do you respond to that?

Cool: I mean, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a model citizen. It’s harder for certain people. They do say most of the time a person that’s been convicted, go to jail for five years and come back home and stay on the streets for six months and then go right back to jail for another 5 to 10 years.

Len Sipes: Uh-huh. Prison on the installment plan.

Cool: Yes. When I’ve totally went over that opinion, like, I’ve been out on the streets longer than I’ve been in prison.

Len Sipes: Okay. And how long you been out on the streets?

Cool: About two years now and I was locked up for about 20 months.

Len Sipes: All right. Why aren’t you employed?

Cool: Well, because, I mean, I’m not going to say because people aren’t hiring. Maybe it’s because I’m not doing my best, to be honest with you. I’m trying, but I’m not doing my best. There’s a lot of other things on the outside world as far as financially, other things.

Len Sipes: See, the thing that blows me away and this is something that deals with some stereotypes and I apologize for those stereotypes, nevertheless, they are there. When the public out there hears the word, “criminal,” somebody’s caught up in the criminal justice system, they have a prearranged vision in their minds as to who that individual is. I’m looking at both of you and both of you look and sound like anybody else that you’re going to find on the street. I mean, there’s not an ounce of stereotype in either one of your presentations. So, the public is now sitting back and going, okay, well, I’m not quite sure what Len Sipes is looking at and I’m not there so I can’t make my own judgments, but, daggone it, I want people who come out of prison to toe the line and not go back and to be responsible. So, that’s their emphasis. Now, is it that we don’t provide enough programs, society provides too many temptations, you don’t have enough self-discipline. I mean, speaking for yourself and people who you’ve been in contact with out on the street, what’s up with the folks who go back? Because there’s no hope for them? What’s the issue?

Walter Hagins: Let me jump in for a second because you talked about, and I liked what you said, but keep in mind, these two gentlemen have had a place to practice. Okay? You have the DRC. You have this haven where, we have this saying, the lion’s den, where you can have a place where you can bring up those issues into this forum and we discuss it and

Len Sipes: As a group.

Walter Hagins: As a group or individually. We do some things individually. Part of that is when society is talking about the whole rehabilitation and we want you to get a job and things like that. I think enough attention is not paid to the steps to get a job. Do I have the sort of skills as far as my dress, communication? Can I deal with conflict? When my boss says something or my supervisor says something I don’t like, do I go off the handle like I’ve seen growing up if I didn’t have structure and role modeling? Or do I go and deal with that person and use some of the skills; conflict resolution, pull my supervisor to the side and do the things that we’re talking about in group. See, I think a lot of that stereotype is because not everybody has had the benefit, maybe not everybody has had a positive role model, maybe there’s not been that type of intervention like the DRC. So, to stick someone into a job and say, be successful. What does that mean? If I’ve never been successful and never had that type of training, then what are we talking about?

Len Sipes: And that’s something the public struggles with because our reality is that recovery, let’s just say drug treatment, an addict wants that drug, an alcoholic wants that drink every single day of their lives. How they cope with that every single day becomes a learning process. And they’ve got to be taught how to do that, but relapse, which means positive urines, is a daily reality for us because it’s part of the addictions process and it’s part of the recovery process, where the average person says, man, he’s out of prison. He’s got three positives for cocaine. Please send him back to prison. And that’s what we have to struggle with every single day. And the other part of it is what we call, cognitive therapy, where it’s thinking through stuff and thinking in a different way. And you’re right. How many people have been fired because they simply mouthed off to the boss?

Walter Hagins: That’s right.

Len Sipes: I mean, how many times do I want to tell bosses, not my current boss certainly, but in the past, how many times did I want to tell him or her to go do something? And I came close more than a couple occasions, but that’s in me; that’s in everybody. That’s in these gentlemen, that’s in you, that’s in me, that’s in everybody listening to the program, but how you respond to that provocation is what makes the difference and, within your program, what I hear is you teach them how to respond.

Walter Hagins: And we role model. I mean, and these gentlemen will attest, we actually do scenarios where we may do mock interviews or we may role-play that we’re on a job and someone might make an inappropriate response when advanced and you’re under the microscope or understudy and how do you respond? And then we’ll stop it and we’ll get critiqued. So, now that becomes a part of your muscle memory or your experience. So, if I’m ever placed in that situation before, at least I have a frame of reference.

Len Sipes: It’s automatic in terms of how you respond. Instead of responding with a mouth, you respond appropriately.

Walter Hagins: Exactly.

Len Sipes: Because, Lord knows, we all have difficult bosses.

Walter Hagins: Including myself.

Len Sipes: Everybody on the face of the earth has a difficult boss. Why is that? Pookie or Cool, either one of you, I mean, what we’re saying is that a lot of folks under supervision. You don’t have to talk specifically for yourself but talk specifically or generally in terms of the people that you’ve been in contact with. What we’re saying is we’ve got to retrain a lot of human beings that may not have been brought up correctly, I don’t know if that’s an appropriate term to say, but people get my drift, and people have got to learn basic skills in terms of how to work with other human beings throughout life. I mean, how many people in the domestic violence unit, which is another one of our programs, I mean, you can’t hit your wife. You can’t even raise your fist to your wife and that is something that they didn’t know. Now, people sitting there are going, well, I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that folks don’t know this. There are a lot of folks that we supervise who don’t know this stuff. Cool, you’re trying to say something and say it into the microphone.

Cool: Okay. Well, as you all were just saying, I mean, there’s some people who were brought up with different views. If someone grows up as a child seeing their mother being hit on all day or seeing someone selling drugs around them their whole life being brought up, they think that’s the right thing to do to make money or the right way to treat a female. I mean, in this program, in the DRC, they get to know you. You have open discussions, scenarios that other people can relate to. I mean, I think with your CSO, my CSO, she gave me a chance. She introduced me to the DRC and it’s helped me a whole lot. It’s motivated me to go on job interviews and go seek out employment because I’ve never really had a job so coming here gave me the skills to know what I needed to do to obtain the job. And, if you don’t know a person, if you don’t know why they’re acting the way they’re acting or why they speak the way they speak or their behavior, I mean, you can’t really help them unless you get to know them. You’ve got people out here who are on drugs their whole life, who are abused their whole life and certain people don’t know that so, of course, you’re going to have people going back to jail and violating probation because after awhile they’re going to say, I don’t care anymore. But with the DRC, man, you get see that the stereotype isn’t always right. Like, as you said about me, most people look at me on the street and say, hey, there’s this young looking guy. He’s probably out here selling drugs. He’s probably, I’m not doing any of that.

Len Sipes: But your presentation is somebody that has a college degree. I mean, the way you present yourself is pretty daggone impressive. So, I’m sitting here going, okay, if you’ve got the look. If you’ve got the whole thing down in terms of how to interact with people, why can’t you get a job.

Cool: Good point. That is a good point. That is a good point. Well, to be honest with you, I mean, maybe, like, the stereotype. They look at me, they see me, and they’re, like, unh-huh, and they look at my past, my criminal record and they’re, like, I’m not going to hire this guy before they sit down and have a conversation with me. I think if someone was to actually sit down and interview and have actual conversation with me, I think I’d have 100 percent shot at getting the job.

Len Sipes: Uh-huh. Pookie, one of the things that always astounded me is two things. I understand that there is discrimination. In some cases, when I’m talking about discrimination, I’m talking about law, saying that you can’t hire a person with a particular background. So, if you’re going to go into a day care center, you can’t hire somebody who’s a sex offender. I mean, that’s pretty obvious. But the overwhelming majority of people under supervision are employed at a certain point in their lives. I mean, guys with criminal records get jobs all the time. So, how do you frame this to the American public and 20 percent of our audience is beyond the shores of the United States, so what do you say to the folks in China and France? And what do you say to folks about this whole sense of succeeding?

Pookie: Well, I can only look at myself. It seems like most employers now are asking for resumes. It’s not like a personal, you go in the office and you have an interview, and you sit down with somebody and you explain and you tell them your story about why you need the job. It’s about resume. Resumes are just basically built on what is your criteria for this job. What else do you have to offer? Because you are looked at as commodity.

Len Sipes: Right.

Pookie: So, if you don’t have that experience or that knowledge of, let’s say, working or that work ethic or that motivation, you’re not going to get the job. I mean, you can write anything on a piece of paper, but they can always just put that piece of paper on the side. I have walked these pavements for the last four months each and every day. I had to bring my parole officer verification that I went to this business, to the point where I had blisters on my feet

Len Sipes: And basically nobody hired you is what you’re saying.

Pookie: Nobody has hired me, but that hasn’t really folded up or thought about using drugs or thought about committing a crime; all I need is a job.

Len Sipes: I hear you.

Pookie: That’s all I need is a job. Now, because I’m in the DRC program, that program is another avenue into maybe, let’s say, training me in various apprenticeship programs. As a matter of fact, I’ve been referred to CDL, the greater Washington, is a component of CSOSA community.

Len Sipes: Are you talking about commercial drivers licenses?

Pookie: Oh, yeah.

Len Sipes: Because there are a lot of guys who have served heavy-duty time in prison who are now out there driving trucks and there are some of them out there hiring other truck drivers. They’re doing extraordinarily well. The half hour has gone by way too fast, but what I’d like to do is invite you all back, the three of you, come on back in three months and give me a progress report and I’d love to have you back on the radio because we really haven’t gotten enough time to discuss all the different things I wanted to discuss. Our participants today: Walter Hagins, program manager of the Day Reporting Center for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. We have Pookie, not his real name obviously, but the gentlemen looks like a bank manager. He’s looking for work, has lots of skills, hard skills. And Cool is somebody who you would upfront impress everybody because he’s got that look going on. And, gentlemen, I wish the best of luck. Anybody out there looking for what seems to be wonderful individuals to hire, we’ve got them right here. Contact me, leonard.sipes@csosa.gov. Ladies and gentlemen, I really appreciate everything that you’ve done for the show, 196,000 requests last month. Have yourselves a very, very pleasant day.

Walter Hagins: Thank you, Len.

– Audio ends –

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Day Reporting Centers for Supervising and Assisting Offenders

See http://media.csosa.gov for “DC Public Safety” radio and television shows.
See www.csosa.gov for the web site of the federal Court Services and Offender Services Agency.
See http://media.csosa.gov/blog for the “DC Public safety” blog.

This Radio Program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/?p=66

Len Sipes: Hi and welcome to the radio portion of D.C. Public Safety. I’m Len Sipes. Today at our microphones is Curtis Atkinson. Curtis is the program manager of the day reporting center. I’ve been to the day reporting center a couple of times to do some focus groups on programs and to ask the opinion of the offenders who are there for the day reporting system and wow, what an interesting group. What a very, very, very challenging group of individuals. I remember doing the focus group and this was a pretty rough group. They were very challenging. Fugitive Safe Surrender was a program that was run by the Court Services and Offender Supervision agency as well as the U.S. Marshalls Office as well as the collective Criminal Justice System. We ask different people to voluntarily surrender and we had 530 people voluntarily surrender. But I wanted to talk to a group of offenders who were a fair test group of offenders and I found them, Curtis, in your day reporting program. These are the individuals who aren’t doing well from what I understand. Individuals who do not, cannot find work during the daytime so you bring them in. You find that there are individuals there as an intermediate sanction where they’re not doing well in the supervision for a wide variety of reasons so they have to report to you every day. Am I in the ballpark?

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: Okay. Tell me about it.

Curtis Atkinson: Well, my guys are an interesting bunch.

Len Sipes: They are an interesting bunch. Let me tell you.

Curtis Atkinson: They really are. They really are. It’s an involuntary population. They’re referred by their probation or parole office due to the fact that they’re unemployed.

Len Sipes: They don’t want to be there?

Curtis Atkinson: They absolutely don’t want to be. And you know the first few days are usually the roughest but you know after a while they begin to buy into the program and actually subscribe to what we do. So, I think you came at the very early stages of a new batch.

Len Sipes: And they were a wild bunch. I mean, basically they sat there and told me that, look Mr. Sipes, not only am I not going to participate in this program, I would tell other people not to participate in this program. But it was interesting because after the full half hour, and they were getting on my nerves and I think I was getting on their nerves. They did tell me that by and large, this program is probably a pretty good idea; Fugitive Safe Surrender. Asking non-violent offenders with warrants to voluntarily turn themselves in and so they went along with it. At the end of the program, they said, yeah, we understand why you’re doing this and we understand why some people would participate. I’m just telling you, I wouldn’t participate.

Curtis Atkinson: They have absolutely no trust when it comes to the criminal justice system in general. Based on their experiences from the point of arrest all the way through the supervision process, so when you spoke about meeting at a church and actually talking about this program that could be to their benefit, they didn’t believe that what we were saying was true.

Len Sipes: Right. And there’s that universal mistrust. Not just in Washington, D.C. but of any group of offenders anywhere in the country, probably anywhere in the world of the criminal justice system. They don’t trust us.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. And that’s one of the biggest barriers that I have in working with the population on a daily basis, getting them to understand that we are here to help them. We’re here to assist them and we’re here to help them become reintegrated into the community.

Len Sipes: Right. To help them escape a life of crime and help them escape a life of drugs. We’ll get into that for a second. Who is Curtis Atkinson? Where do you come from Curtis and how did you get here?

Curtis Atkinson: I am here from Missouri. I was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, spent about 13 years in Baltimore completing my education.

Len Sipes: And that’s where I grew up and that’s where I was in the criminal justice system. Ballmur as we refer to it.

Curtis Atkinson: Exactly. I did primarily work with the juvenile population before coming to this agency.

Len Sipes: Which is a rough population.

Curtis Atkinson: They are very rough. That was a bit too much for me but I dealt with transitional age youth.

Len Sipes: Transitional what?

Curtis Atkinson: Transitional age youth. Those were the youth who were about to be waved to the adult system.

Len Sipes: The real tough ones. You love this real tough population don’t you Curtis?

Curtis Atkinson: I think I’m made for it. I do. I do because I try my best to have a balance between being tough and being fair.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: And I think for the most part, they understand that but dealing with transitional age youth, they used to tell us all the time, they would rather be in the adult system because there are less services.

Len Sipes: Fewer services and they don’t want those services.

Curtis Atkinson: They do not and they didn’t realize it is going to stick with them for the rest of their life.

Len Sipes: Get out of my face.

Curtis Atkinson: Exactly.

Len Sipes: Just let me do my time and then let me get back on the street.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: Yeah. And that becomes problematic because they desperately need the programs. One of the things that research basically says is that you can watch them all you want and the population, citizens in not only Washington, D.C. but throughout this country, really want them supervised but at the same time, one of the things that we say is that the research very, very, very clearly indicates that it’s just not a matter of supervision, programs have got to be there. So, you’re a combination of supervision and programs because you’re there to try to help them get a job, create a resume, how you present yourself before an employer, referring them to programs that are clearly within their best interest.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. And you know one of the biggest things about the day reporting center are my community relationships. They really help to sustain the program. I have lists of about a dozen partners who work with me on a regular basis who are able to provide the services for the offenders in the community.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: So, regardless of whether they’re discharged to my program or not. Regardless of whether they’re on supervision or off, they can still receive services from these community-based programs.

Len Sipes: Sure. Sure. And there are a lot of people in the community that are willing to help them.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. There really are. There are a lot of resources that are being under utilized quite frankly and these agencies in the spirit of reciprocity, they’re providing a free service to CSOSA but we’re providing them with the numbers that they are so desperately need.

Len Sipes: Sure and I think that’s a two way street but our guys, if you will, because the overwhelming majority of our offenders are male.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: It is the paradox. They desperately need that 8th grade education. An 8th grade certificate. They desperately need the GED in this economy. In some cases they desperately need to learn how to write.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: In some cases, they desperately need to understand how to conduct themselves on the job and doing a job interview and what a job expects and that’s one of the things that we try to provide here at CSOSA. We have programs that will assess a person’s educational level, provide them with a GED, provide them with a reading assistance, provide them with assistance in terms of getting a job. We do quite a bit of drug treatment but we do up to 25 percent of the population that needs it. That means 75 percent we refer basically to private or DC agencies and that’s tough. We provide mental health services. So, there’s a lot of services. We provide anger management training. There’s a lot of individuals. There’s a lot of opportunities for the people who are under our supervision but that’s the paradox is that getting them there and having them take advantage of it are two different things.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. So, really what we do is we run our community partners to CSOSA. You know, I can give them all the referral information in the world but they’re not actually going to make it to the threshold of that organization. By us bringing the community partners to our agency, they really have no choice but to sit there as a captive audience and respond to the information and then elect to partake in the services or not. It’s really up to them and the community partners, like I said, are very generous with their services, they’re very gracious in how they conduct themselves and they understand the population that they’re working with. Usually what I do is I explain my population because as you know it can be challenging and as they come in, they know exactly what they’re getting into. They know exactly who they’re going to be working with and they come in with the resources in tact.

Len Sipes: And that’s wonderful because there are social service agencies out there who would rather not deal with offenders. Now, that’s not just in D.C., that’s throughout the country.

Curtis Atkinson: True.

Len Sipes: And that’s one of the biggest problems we have is that making sure that the individuals, if they’re going to serve our population, understanding how difficult our population can be. I mean, we talk about difficulty. You know, I’ve been in the system for, oh goodness, going on 40 years and I’ve done groups, I’ve ran a group in a prison system, I’ve done the jail or job core kids, I’ve done gang counseling on the streets of the city of Baltimore. You know, this is a very tough population regardless as to where it is that you go. Now, it can be immensely rewarding taking individuals from a tough background and suddenly a light does go off where they get their GED, where they go over and involve themselves in a job with a future, that they reorient their attitudes, they reorient their friends. I mean, you know, most of these offenders, all they see around them is their friends going to jail, their friends getting shot, their friends getting injured. I mean, in some cases, and again, it’s not just Washington, D.C., it’s all throughout this country. Sort of like a battle zone. These are some, in some cases, battle scared veterans.

Curtis Atkinson: Definitely.

Len Sipes: And they’re not coming to you saying, oh please help me, you’ve got to some how, some way break through those barriers and that’s the toughest part of the job.

Curtis Atkinson: Definitely it is. It definitely is and like I said, they’re very resistant in the beginning. Once they realize that this program is intended to assist them and their families for that matter and help them get back on track, they sort of buy into it.

Len Sipes: How do you break through those barriers?

Curtis Atkinson: It’s a difficult process at times but once they see that we have tangible resources for them because you know it’s a population where it’s all about show and prove.

Len Sipes: Right. Show me. Show me. Don’t talk to me. Show me.

Curtis Atkinson: Exactly. And once we’re able to do that, then they buy into it and then a lot of the barriers are broken down.

Len Sipes: Okay. And you know doing this on a one on one basis is real tough. Doing it in a group basis where they’re reinforcing each other’s negative behavior. Wow. I mean, you’ve got to be almost a magician to go before this group of individuals. How many people on a daily basis?

Curtis Atkinson: The average daily population is any where from 20 to 25.

Len Sipes: Okay. To go before 20 to 25 human beings on a daily basis; all of them have chips on their shoulders the size of Montana. To break through those barriers is tough.

Curtis Atkinson: It really is. It really is and I spend a great deal of my time redirecting conversations to be very honest with you but once they realize that I’m not one to be played with. I’m going to be very honest with you. You have to be very firm. You have to be very firm but you have to still be compassionate. So, sometimes it’s spent doing some of the house keeping things to be very honest with you. Redirecting their conversation but we can eventually get to what needs to be done.

Len Sipes: When I was doing the focus group for the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program, I lost my temper at the end because one guy was particularly mouthy, one guy was particularly nasty and I turned around and I said, look I saw you 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago. It just doesn’t end for some of you does it? And he was startled by that because I was looking at him straight in the eye and it was like that sometimes is the issue for those of us who’ve been in the criminal justice system and seeing human beings filter themselves through the system, human beings that are worth reaching but it is sometimes so difficult to reach them.

Curtis Atkinson: It definitely is. It really is and you know but at the same time as hard as their exteriors are, when you get them alone, you can really see what the issues are.

Len Sipes: Yes. I totally, totally, totally agree. This is why doing it in a group is so challenging because one of the things that I found in my career is that once you’ve reached. Because a third of that population, I’m just generalizing now, a third of that population wants to be reached.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: A third of that population is sitting on the fence. You can reach them. If you’ve got enough courage and enough fortitude and keep your temper in check; and a third are tough. A third just probably are not going to make it at all. So, two thirds of the individuals sitting there are salvageable yet it’s just so easy for them to get sucked back in the drugs, sucked back in the crime, sucked back into deviance. So, you are the lone person. You and what we call, what the rest of the country calls parole and probation agents, what we call community supervision officers. Between the two of you and whatever treatment providers you refer them to or get involved in their lives, you all collectively have got to some how, some way remind yourselves that two thirds of the people here can be saved.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. Absolutely. I would even say it’s more than that. Really what it’s about is assessing their needs, getting passed the barriers and cause what they’re really trying to do is trying to take you off your game.

Len Sipes: Right. Yep.

Curtis Atkinson: They want to prove that they have power over you because so many years, the system has had power over them.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: So, now they want to assert their own authority. So, often times it’s unnecessary power struggle but I don’t engage in that. I’m not going to go toe to toe with you. I’m not going to go back and forth or anything. I’m going to say my peace, I’m going to allow you to vent a little bit and then we’re going to move on with what we’re supposed to do and then once you show them that structure, they have no choice but to respond to it.

Len Sipes: When I did gang counseling in Baltimore city, I would have, again, in a group structure because again you’re out there on the streets with these kids and when you’re there, it is in a group structure, it doesn’t, I find it or found that it really didn’t work all that well but one by one by one they come to you and say, can you get me back in school? You know, is there really a job with a possibility for me here. Because the group that I dealt with was heavily into glue sniffing and you know from time to time they would come to me and say, look I really need to stop this. It’s really screwing up my life, you know, is there a program that you can get me into. So, that’s my observation is that you’re observation they come to you little bit by little bit by little bit, one by one and say you know, quite frankly Curtis, what you’re talking about makes sense. Can you help me with this and can you help me with that?

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know the most difficult client during a group will usually come up to me directly after the group and in their own way apologize.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: The words, I’m sorry will never come out their mouth but they have some type of gesture or something to indicate that they did not mean to come off as harsh as they did and I’m fine with that. You know, we’re able to process it after the fact and actually deal with what the real issue is. And a lot of times, it is the individual who is the loudest and who is the meanest and in many cases is the person most in need of assistance and he understands that.

Len Sipes: Absolutely. Absolutely. I had a guy that came in my office yesterday and he was in Lorton and other facilities for over 20 years and as he puts it himself, he is completely conditioned and knew nothing but jail time. He was put in there when he was 18 and now to come out in the community, this is all he knows. He is a textbook case of that type of institutional rage and everything we’ve thrown at him, he’s so skeptical about. You know, we’ve managed to secure employment opportunities for him; we’ve placed him in a CDL training program.

Len Sipes: CDL as a commercial drivers license?

Curtis Atkinson: Commercial drivers license. Yeah. He wants to be a truck driver.

Len Sipes: Well, they can make a lot of money by the way.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: A lot of money.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely but he is so resistant thinking that every opportunity is not going to hire him because of his record. He’s unwilling to try and because of that, you know, the agency is apply pressure and he is becoming more and more angry and he expresses that via his very rough exterior and very challenging at all times. But he was literally in my office yesterday just venting. He said, I need help. I just want somebody to help me and no one would ever have guess that that’s him. That’s who he is.

Len Sipes: Well, when I was dealing, and I think I have this on another program talking to an individual in our high risk drug unit where the people have very long histories of crime, very long histories of drug use. They are indeed a very difficult population to deal with and she put it, the harder the exterior where the guy comes in and he is just really, really, really hard, looks hard, dresses hard, acts hard, that if you ever break through that exterior, what you find is a very frightened individual. So, the toughness is a mask for extreme vulnerability.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know had this guy not been coming to me every day for several weeks now, we would probably have never known that because the first thing he shows you is that anger.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: Whenever we refer them to a community based organization or even to an employment opportunity, he has that rough exterior so no one ever looks past that but he’s beginning to trust us.

Len Sipes: And people are freighted by this.

Curtis Atkinson: Most definitely.

Len Sipes: Social service providers don’t want to deal with this person.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: And yet, the core of this individual. I mean, that’s a paradox isn’t it? The toughness, the roughness, the clothes, the attitude; everything that goes along with it is just a mask for extreme, extreme, extreme vulnerability.

Curtis Atkinson: And frustration as well.

Len Sipes: And frustration as well.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely and this is what he was trying to convey to us but even as he’s talking to us and quite frankly pouring his heard out, he’s doing it in a manner that’s very challenging, very aggressive.

Len Sipes: Now, where does all this come from? You know, there was a book called Street Corner Society that I had to read in my criminal logical studies. Did you read that?

Curtis Atkinson: I did.

Len Sipes: Well, there you go. So, it was an Italian street corner gang back in the 1930’s. The city is not supposed to be identified but it’s New York. It’s the same thing that we deal with and quite frankly, it’s the same thing that anybody deals with regardless of where you are in this country, regardless of what the race of the offender is, regardless of the background. It’s this tough exterior. It’s this rough exterior. It’s this whole sense that I don’t believe in you. I don’t even believe in me. They believe in fate. They’re not part of this immediate world that you and I are involved in. They don’t believe that they have control over who they are and what they are. You know, getting high is a big part of who they are, carrying a weapon; although, they carry revolvers and knives; a different world but it’s the same thing isn’t it. I mean, that whole sense of rough exterior and if it is the same thing regardless of the group, where does it come from?

Curtis Atkinson: Well, for this gentlemen it came from a childhood of pain and it came through 20 years of having to fight his way through the system as he describes it.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: And then it comes through being in a community for 5 years and not seeing things come to life like you thought they would.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: You know, after dreaming in jail for 20 years as what life would be on the outside, it’s just not happening the way that you want it to be. But the fortunate thing about our program is we had the opportunity to confront. You know, a number of referrals were made. You know, he was supposed to go get health insurance. He was supposed to go to a clinic to get the anger management counseling that he needed. He was supposed to do a host of things that he did not do. So, my role is to confront that, to obviously listen to him, and to counsel him of course because he was very angry. You can’t send someone outside like that. We had to calm him down. We had to get him to a place where he can do that.

Len Sipes: He’ll never get a job with that persona.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, we had to do that and then we had to quite frankly address what he did not do. You want to complain about your situation but have you done everything on your part and literally break it down for him so that he could understand it. And sometimes in a manner that he can understand it.

Len Sipes: And the interesting thing is, and this is where, we talk about the roughness and the toughness of the job but the interesting this is that these individuals, I have seen it personally where the extraordinarily rough, tough, nasty exterior, a year later he’s got a GED and a commercials driver license and he’s doing fairly well. He’s off drugs.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: And so there are so much pessimism and a good part of this program talked about how rough and tough and difficult it is and those of us in the system know how difficult it is. I’m not quite sure but I’m going to guess that the people who are listening to this program who are not part of the system, they understand it every day but these are all salvageable individuals if you can find the right method of reaching them.

Curtis Atkinson: You absolutely can and actually when he first came to us, he’s somebody that I wouldn’t have thought could made it through a three month CDL program because of his anger, because of his resentment. He’s just very challenging in general so if someone’s in the front of the class teaching him about how you drive a commercial vehicle, he’s going to interject his own opinion regardless of whether he knows it or not but he made it through and he made it through because he constantly checked in with us. We constantly checked in on him and quite frankly in our own special way told him to tone certain things down and he was able to respond, adapt, listen, and learn and now he’s out, he has his piece of paper that he had longed for for quite some time. But now the issues is, I don’t really know what to do with it.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: So, now we’re going in a completely different direction and helping him follow through with an actual plan. We had focused so long on developing that plan. Now we’re in the action stage.

Len Sipes: And a lot of individuals like this, I mean, it is very difficult say for an offender where we provide one on one services here at CSOSA. In most jurisdictions in the country, they don’t. So, they are referred to the local health clinic to get on that list for anger counseling or for drug treatment. They are referred to the unemployment office where he goes in and stands for 2 hours and you know, the general public is going to say, hey, I have to do this. You know. Why can’t your offender do this? Well, it’s just different for them. They have little tolerance. They’re suspicious of the bureaucracy and if you don’t provide these direct services to them, often times they will fail. I mean, that seems to be the issue in terms of providing those direct services by people who understand how to deal with offenders and if you do that you can take a person who either you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in the long run due to continued criminal involvement or the person becomes a tax payer but it takes special people, special programs to help that person get from point A to point B.

Curtis Atkinson: It really does and we really do have to admit that a lot of these community based programs or social services I should say aren’t very sensitive to our population. So, they are treated unfairly when they go into a large clinic. They’re not treated.

Len Sipes: Or they create a sense of unfairness for themselves.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. Absolutely. It goes both ways. What we try to do is we try to minimize that because then they’re going to use that as a barrier and say why they can’t get something done.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: So, my job is to go out and bring the resources in that can assist them with the process. A perfect example of that is getting them their health insurance. As opposed to going to a crowded clinic that you just mentioned where they could be waiting in line for hours, we bring the project Orion Van to our community supervision sites so they can get their health insurance in a matter of minutes.

Len Sipes: And that could make the difference between the person being vested in himself or vested in terms of going back to drugs. The whole gang structure, the whole criminal structure being what we call in the lifestyle is so easy to slip back into. It’s so embracing. You know, your friends are there, the language is there, the movement, the whole sense of being again sucked back into that is just amazing. Somewhere along the line, a person has got to say, okay, I’m not going to invest myself in that. I’m going to invest in myself for my sake, for the sake of my children because 70 to 80 percent of these guys are parents.

Curtis Atkinson: Definitely.

Len Sipes: You know for the sake of my mother. For whatever reason, the relationship with God. You know, once they’ve reached that point, services and people who know how to deliver those services to that particular population need to be there and that’s, I think, the whole purpose of the day reporting center.

Curtis Atkinson: It absolutely is the whole purpose. You know, we are completely involved in the wrap around approach. Meaning that they’re here for structure and discipline. You know, we monitor the time that they arrive, they’re here for the majority of the day, we provide them with services while they’re here but then we link them outside of that as well.

Len Sipes: Right. Right. So, the whole thing can continue beyond day reporting.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: But again, I asked you a little while ago, where does this sense of anger, the chip on the shoulder, the size of Montana, where does it come from? You mentioned it in the terms of that one particular person a lousy childhood. People who listen to this program know that that’s a pet peeve of mine. I think the majority of the individuals who come to us, and I’m not excusing their criminality in any way shape or form. If you do the crime, you do the time but the hard truth of it is that the majority of them come from histories of childhood abuse and neglect.

Curtis Atkinson: I absolutely agree with that and we have very open and frank conversations about that. And it’s not just childhood abuse and neglect. It’s the grief, of course, that they’re still living with but it’s the trauma as well. Many of them have seen some horrific things that you and I couldn’t possibly imagine.

Len Sipes: Battle scared veterans.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s the article that we had quite some time ago speaks about.

Len Sipes: Right. And that becomes who you are. Again, that whole persona as the woman from the high-risk drug offender, office of the community supervision officer. I thought it was very, very interesting in the way that she put that. They are combat veterans. They’ve seen so many of their friends hurt, die, they’ve been injured in the past. By the time they get to social service providers, you know, they’re difficult cases to deal with principally because they’re scared to death.

Curtis Atkinson: Definitely.

Len Sipes: They’re scared to death and the people who understand that and can break through that which takes a special person and a special program. You can, again, the point, I’m not trying to over emphasize the point, but can take a real problem for society and turn that individual into a tax-paying parent.

Curtis Atkinson: And that is our goal. That is absolutely our goal to provide them with the resources they need to get back on their feet and you start with the basics. You talk about structure and you talk about accountability, that has to be, you know, where they are every day. But when we talk about being a parent as well because then you have another generation that’s going to rely on them.

Len Sipes: That’s exactly right.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely. So, we have a three part fatherhood programs that are aligned with our program right now who focus on not just the offender but their children as well providing them with resources; everything from books to referrals to back to school clothing, back to school supplies, focus groups.

Len Sipes: Give me some of the names of the people who are involved in this program with you.

Curtis Atkinson: Wow. One of my greatest community supports is the Greater Washington Urban League.

Len Sipes: Okay. The Urban League.

Curtis Atkinson: The Urban League, AFLCIO.

Len Sipes: Great.

Curtis Atkinson: Trusted Solutions Group Construction Company, AmeriGroup. CitiBank, The Georgia Ave. Colaborative, University of District of Columbia, Public Defenders Service, Community Offender Program.

Len Sipes: Wow. There are a lot of programs. Go ahead.

Curtis Atkinson: United Plan Organization, Mens Fit, New Morning Star Baptist Church, Project Orion. I could go on and on and on. These people routinely really chip in to help our population in every single way.

Len Sipes: Alright. Alright. So there’s a lot of people out there who are saying we understand what it is that you’re going through, we’re here to help you.

Curtis Atkinson: Definitely and they really, really just go the extra mile for our population. You know, whatever our offenders report to them. My child needs a coat. That coat is found on the very next day. I need a metro pass to get to and from. That’s provided for them as well. So, they provide the counseling. They provide the support. They provide the referrals of course but they also provide the tangible resources that these offenders need to get on track.

Len Sipes: And that’s unusual.

Curtis Atkinson: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: Because in most, again, most parole and probation agencies throughout this country, it is report to me twice a month for 15 minute chunks of time. Have you been looking for work? You know, did you sign up for the drug treatment program? Did you sign up for anger management? Are you going? Can you prove that you’re going? Have a pleasant day. Where here we work with them as individuals.

Curtis Atkinson: We definitely work with them. We work with them for a substantial amount of time.

Len Sipes: And that’s substantial. How long are they there again?

Curtis Atkinson: Many of my guys are with me from 10 a to 3 p.

Len Sipes: Okay. So, but for how many weeks, months?

Curtis Atkinson: Until they find a job.

Len Sipes: Until they find a job. There you go.

Curtis Atkinson: Yeah. I mean, it used to be a time limited program but then we realized that the offenders were being discharged back into being unproductive citizens. So, now it’s until they either align themselves with a vocational or educational program or find full time gainful employment.

Len Sipes: Okay. But do some simply hang out there for a while to get the services they need.

Curtis Atkinson: They do. I wish I could say otherwise but that’s absolutely the case. My longest case right now is a gentlemen who’s been with me for about 8 months. But I will say on his behalf, during that 8 month period, we’ve assessed that he was learning impaired. So, right now we’re focusing on his GED.

Len Sipes: Yeah. And in many cases, it is those baby steps that propel a person from one stage of the life to another.

Curtis Atkinson: It really is because, I mean, this is a 33 year old man who had no desire to actually go get his GED.

Len Sipes: Right.

Curtis Atkinson: And when we tested him and found his scores were so low, it was even further from reality now.

Len Sipes: You know, Curtis, this is an extraordinarily interesting engagement, interview if you will. We need to do this again. I really enjoy talking to you and ladies and gentlemen, this is D.C. Public Safety. I’ve been talking to Curtis Atkinson, the program manager of our D reporting center. Look for our website www.csosa.gov. Please have yourselves a very pleasant day.