Volume 13, Issue 8

A publication of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety

October 4, 2016

News and Announcements

Ohio Law Enforcement Agency Certification Stats

Agency Applications Approved: 193
Agencies Earning Provisional Certification: 84
Agencies Earning Final Certification:50 out of 84 agencies earn Final Certification


Brennan Center Releases 2016 Crime Rate Analysis

Overall crime rates in 2016 are projected to remain at a 30-year low and largely unchanged from the previous two years, according to midyear data collected from the 30 largest cities in the United States by the Brennan Center for Justice. While some of these cities will see increases, nationwide the rate is predicted to remain level.

Crime in 2016: A Preliminary Analysis is a follow-up to an April report on crime rates in 2015. The report projects that overall crime will rise by 1.3 percent by the end of 2016, with 12 cities seeing declines in crime.Violent crime will increase by 5.5 percent, driven largely by increases in Chicago and Los Angeles and the murder rate will rise by 13.1 percent, with half of the overall increase seen in Chicago.

Researchers analyzed data collected from police departments across the country to project crime, violent crime, and homicide rates nationwide. Information from January 2016 through mid-September 2016 was used to explain crime trends and fluctuations.

While the overall crime rate is projected to rise by 1.3 percent, researchers predict that 12 major cities will experience decreases in crime: Philadelphia (6.4 percent), San Diego (12.6 percent), Dallas (4.2 percent), San Jose (8.1 percent), Austin (7.8 percent), Seattle (5.8 percent), Detroit (3.4 percent), Washington, D.C. (6.7 percent), Boston (5.1 percent), and Nashville (1.4 percent). The most notable decreases will occur in two cities which experienced significant rises in crime the previous year. Overall crime is projected to drop in San Francisco, by 12.8 percent, and in Baltimore by 6.2 percent.

However, while 12 cities are expected to see declines, several cities are projected to see substantial increases. In Charlotte, crime is projected to rise by 17.5 percent and in Chicago it is projected to be up 9.1 percent. Oklahoma City, which saw decreases in both overall crime and violent crime in 2015, is expected to see an increase 11.9 percent in 2016. Five other cities are also projected to see rises in overall crime: New York (1.7 percent), Los Angeles (5.2 percent), Houston (0.1 percent), San Antonio (23.3 percent), and Denver and Louisville (both 3.9 percent).

Continue reading….


First of Its Kind Survey Looks At Victims Views on Sentencing and Incarceration

Sixty-one percent of victims’ of violent crime support shorter sentences and increased investments in rehabilitation and other prevention efforts, according to a new survey conducted by the Alliance of Safety and Justice (ASJ). By a two to one margin, the survey found, victims prefer that the criminal justice system focus less on punishment and more on prevention and rehabilitation.

Crime Survivors Speak: The National Survey of Victims Views surveyed 800 crime victims in a first of its kind national survey which included victims of both violent and non-violent crime, and family members of serious violent crimes such as rape or murder. The findings contradict the long held belief that victims support longer sentences for offenders and increased incarceration.

In addition to examining crime survivors’ views on rehabilitation and sentencing reform, the survey looked characteristics of crime victims, their experiences, and their perceptions of the role of prosecutors.

By a margin of nearly three to one, victims surveyed believe that incarceration makes people more likely to commit crimes rather than rehabilitate them. A similar percentage said they supported alternatives to incarceration such as rehabilitation, drug treatment, mental health treatment, community supervision, or community service.

The victims surveyed also expressed strong support for increased investments in alternatives to incarceration, education, job creation and drug and mental health services. By a margin of 15 to one, victims surveyed said they supported increased investments in schools and education. Investments in job creation were also strongly supported by a margin of 10 to one.  Eighty-three percent of those surveyed preferred investment in mental health treatment to more jails and prisons and 73 percent said the same about investments in drug treatment. Victims surveyed also expressed strong support of crime increased investment in crime prevention for at-risk youth and community supervision.

By a margin of three to one, victims said that people should be held accountable for their actions through options beyond just prison. Those options included: rehabilitation, mental health treatment, drug treatment, community supervision, or community service. These views were shared by victims of violent crime along with crime victims overall.  

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Vera Study Looks At Attributes of Women in Jails

The number of incarcerated women in the United States has risen dramatically, making them the fastest growing correctional population in the country, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. The report, Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform, found that two thirds of women in jail are people of color, 86 percent are survivors of abuse or trauma, and over 82 percent struggle with drug or alcohol abuse. Eighty-two percent were charged with low-level, nonviolent offenses - mainly drug and property crimes.

Released last month, Overlooked aims to show a more accurate depiction of women in jail to highlight how their experience differs from their male counterparts. Since 1970 the number of women in our nation’s criminal justice system has increased 14-fold. Findings indicate that the growth of this vulnerable population can be attributed to a shift in police practices targeting low level offenses, beginning in 1982.

The report examines the potential forces driving this increase: the use of gender neutral correctional practices, the lack of access to physical and mental health necessities while incarcerated, and the failure to asses women based on their history (i.e. substance abuse, mental illness, sexual abuse or trauma) and individual needs. Findings also link parental stress during incarceration to misconduct and recidivism following release, as 80 percent of incarcerated women are mothers. Report conclusions emphasize the importance of data driven policy reform designed to meet the particular needs of women and their families.

The report determined that jail assessment tools, used by facilities to assign custody levels, are tested using male prison population samples and fail to account for gender responsive factors. Standard correctional procedures, such as full body searches by male staff, use of restraints and solitary confinement do not account for the sexual abuse or violence that a staggering 86 percent of women experience prior to incarceration. Findings show these practices often trigger emotional reactions or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in survivors of trauma.

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Training/Technical Assistance

Free Grant Writing Seminars

OCJS will host free Grant Writing training sessions throughout the remainder of 2016 on October 6 and November 9. The trainings will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Department of Public Safety 1970 W. Broad St. Columbus. OCJS's grant trainings provide an overview of the grant making process. Focus is on the major components of OCJS's applications including problem statements, project descriptions, program objectives, budget details and collaboration boards. Participants must register through the Public Safety Training Campus. To register, click here, select new user and follow the instructions given. Space is limited to the first 30 registered participants. Contact Melissa Darby at mbdarby@dps.ohio.gov or Jacquetta Al-Mubaslat at jal-mubaslat@dps.ohio.gov with any questions.


Serving Survivors through Co-Advocacy

Time: 2:00-3:30 pm EST

About this Webinar
When survivors reach out for support and healing, they do so as more than just their experience of violence. They arrive with a range of needs that may be impacted by culture, language, accessibility and their own lived experiences. However, our services and supports are generally designed around areas of specialization, which means that when survivors have needs outside of our specialty, it often means referring them to another organization which can result in a delayed response to an immediate need. Co-advocacy offers an alternative to this model. Instead of sending survivors to other organizations for services, the co-advocacy model brings experts together to provide cohesive services that are centered in each survivor’s culture, language, and lived experience.

During this webinar a panel of experts from Deaf run, disability, and Latina organizations will discuss their experience engaging in co-advocacy, and will share strategies, tools, and approaches for effective co-advocacy. The webinar will also discuss why the success of this model relies on strong foundational relationships, forged through collaboration rather than informal partnerships, to provide sustainable holistic services for survivors.

About the Panelists
Alice Sykora, Deaf Unity
Christine King, Center for Human Development at the University of Alaska Anchorage
Heidi Notario-Smull, National Latin@ Netrowk Casa De Esperanza

Click HERE to register.



Family Law Survival Kit: Tipping the scales in favor of domestic violence survivors who have mental health concerns

November 1st, 2016 / 2:00-3:30 pm EST

It is all too common for perpetrators of domestic violence to emotionally harm their partners and then to use the depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. that they caused as justification for taking away survivors’ children. Too often survivors have to navigate a complex family law process without legal representation and without support. The Domestic Violence and Mental Health Collaboration Project in King County, WA created Family Law Toolkits for domestic violence advocates, attorneys, mental health service providers, and survivors. These tools enable survivors of domestic violence, particularly those with mental health concerns, to access the information, resources, and support they need to navigate the family law system successfully, and to protect themselves and their children from further harm. The scales of justice have not been balanced; we are tipping them by joining together. During this webinar, we will introduce the Family Law Toolkits, discuss why they are needed, and how to utilize them to improve outcomes for adults and children who have experienced domestic violence. We will also be sharing our new, free templates that you can use to adapt our tools for the needs of your community.

Learn more and register now!


Spotlight on Communities of Promise: Accessing Safety in Hennepin County

November 15th, 2016 / 2:00-3:30 pm EST (Minnesota)

Accessing Safety in Hennepin County is a collaboration between The Arc Greater Twin Cities (The Arc) and the Sexual Violence Center (SVC). The purpose of Accessing Safety in Hennepin County is to make The Arc and SVC safe places for people with developmental disabilities who are victims of sexual violence. During this webinar, learn more about the work of Accessing Safety in Hennepin County and their work to make the services at both organizations empowering for victims of sexual violence with developmental disabilities so that they have the skills and resources they need to heal. You will learn about their needs assessment process conducted in the summer of 2015 and the development of a strategic plan that outlines five initiatives to improve services. The webinar will include a history of this collaboration, why they choose to work together to support victim/survivors with disabilities, and the ways in which both organizations have benefited from a formal collaboration including tools that were developed as a result of the collaborations work.

Learn more and register now!