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One year of Second Chance Centers in AZ

This week is the anniversary of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s Second Chance Centers. They are part of an initiative that provides pre-release workforce services to inmates through the Arizona Department of Corrections.

More than 800 inmates at the three centers received these services and about half of those inmates have gotten their second chance so far and became employed after release from prison.

Learn more about this story by clicking on the story from KGUN9 News:

https://www.kgun9.com/news/local-news/one-year-of-second-chance-centers-in-az

TURNING ART INTO ACTIVISM TO COMBAT THE OPIOID CRISIS

Artist Nan Goldin stages opioids protest in Metropolitan Museum Sackler Wing

New York Big Pharma demonstration sees activists dump specially made bottles in moat around Egyptian Temple of Dendur.

The artist Nan Goldin and around 100 fellow demonstrators threw pill bottles into the moat surrounding an ancient Egyptian temple at the Metropolitan Museum in New York on Saturday, to protest sponsorship by the family that owns one of the largest makers of opioids. 

The pill bottles had been labeled by the protesters to say “prescribed to you by the Sackler Family”. The Sackler family wholly owns Purdue Pharma, which makes the prescription painkiller OxyContin. In 1974, the family paid for the Sackler Wing at the Met, in which the 2,000-year-old Temple of Dendur stands.

Goldin, who recently recovered from a near-fatal addiction to OxyContin, led the protest. “Shame!” she shouted. “As artists and activists we demand funding for treatment: 150 people will die today, 10 while we are standing here, from drug overdoses.”

Security guards allowed the protesters to stage a die-in as puzzled tourists looked on.

“Disperse, please,” guards called. One, who would not give his name, told the Guardian he agreed with the action.

“Sacklers lie, people die,” Goldin chanted.

She said: “We want the Sacklers to put their money into rehab not museums.”

One protester, Bob Alexander, a city guide for tourists, said he had once had an opioid problem.

“The Sackler family has made a lot of money out of OxyContin and they didn’t tell people how addictive it is,” he said. “Putting profits into cultural philanthropy is hypocritical.”

Hundreds of pill bottles were thrown into the moat. One guard ripped down a banner that read: “Fund rehab.” After about 20 minutes, Goldin led the protesters out of the museum peacefully. 

Goldin planned the action as a protest against museums, galleries and academic institutions in the US, UK and elsewhere which take donations from the Sackler family. The Sacklers donated $3.4m to the Met, a gift that was used to build a home for the Temple of Dendur, one of the institution’s most popular draws. 

Goldin revealed recently that she developed a dependency on opioids after being prescribed OxyContin while recovering from wrist surgery in Berlin in 2014.

A former heroin addict, she said she became addicted to the powerful painkillers “overnight”. When she could not get the pills by prescription, she began buying them from street dealers. That led her to take heroin and fentanyl when she could not get pills and to almost suffer a fatal overdose.

Speaking to the Guardian in an exclusive interview in January, Goldin said she did not know how the Sackler heirs descended from the late Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, and according to Forbes worth at least $13bn collectively, could “live with themselves”.

Goldin wants Sackler family members to put money into rehabilitation centers rather than art and academic philanthropy. She also wants museums to stop taking donations from the Sackler family and to stand with her campaign to expose pharmaceutical companies that made fortunes from opioids.

Such companies, collectively known as big pharma, are facing hundreds of lawsuits brought by US cities, counties and states. OxyContin is regarded as the “ground zero” of the opioid crisis because in 1996 it was released as the first of a new breed of slow-release, morphine-type prescription pills.

Developed to treat acute post-surgical pain and terminal cancer patients, such pills were marketed as a treatment for chronic pain. It emerged, however, that they could be addictive even as prescribed.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO OF THE PROTEST.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: www.theguardian.com

Arizona Department of Corrections Increases Feminine Hygiene Supply for Inmates

Arizona Department of Corrections increases feminine hygiene supply for inmates

10:26 PM, Feb 13, 2018

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Corrections says it will immediately triple the number of free sanitary napkins it provides each month to female inmates.

Tuesday’s move comes as a proposal in the Legislature that mandates an unlimited supply of tampons, napkins or pads was stalled after a committee chairman said the prison system was addressing the issue.

Female inmates will now be issued 36 sanitary napkins a month for free and can get more if needed. Tampons are only provided free when medically needed, but inmates can buy them at the commissary.

Democratic Rep. Athena Salman was pushing the proposal to provide an unlimited number of free napkins, tampons or other feminine hygiene products.

Before Tuesday’s policy change, the agency provided inmates with 12 free pads each month and inmates could get more if needed. They could not keep more than 24 at any one time.

There are about 3,900 female inmates at the state’s women’s prison west of Phoenix.

Arizona Lawmakers Hope to Put Dent in Opioid Crisis

Gov. Doug Ducey greets Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs on Monday ahead of calling a special legislative session to enact what is billed as a bipartisan approach to dealing with the opioid crisis. (Capitol Media Services/Howard Fischer)

Lawmakers hope to put dent in opioid crisis

Originally Published: January 24, 2018 5:55 a.m.

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX — State lawmakers begin working today (eds: tuesday) on a bipartisan plan state officials hope will make a significant dent in opioid addiction, abuse and deaths in Arizona.

“In 2016, more than two Arizonans died each day due to an opioid overdose,’’ Dr. Cara Christ, the state’s health director, said at a ceremony where Gov. Doug Ducey signed a proclamation for a special legislative session to deal with the issue.

“Since 2012, we’ve seen an increase of 74 percent in opiod-related deaths,’’ she continued. “Drug overdoses kill more Arizonans than car accidents.’’

The proposal contains money designed to help provide treatment for those who are addicted. The state already does some of that through its Medicaid program. This package contains $10 million for those whose income leaves them unqualified for that.

But the governor said the measure also has a strong element designed to prevent addiction in the first place. That’s built around a five-day limit on how much opioids that doctors can prescribe to patients who have not been on the drug for at least 60 days.

“You’re talking about really taking advantage of the data and facts that we understand how someone gets addicted,’’ he said.

“When it goes past five days or six days, that’s when the incidence of addiction skyrocket,’’ Ducey continued. “So the objective here was not only to treat people that are suffering addiction so that they can get off it but to prevent future addictions and overdoses from happening.’’

But he said the legislation should not harm others.

“People that have chronic pain, people that are suffering from chronic pain and are already benefitting from these miracle drugs, there will be no change for them,’’ he said.

The governor called the measure “the most aggressive piece of public policy, the most thorough and thoughtful piece of public policy that’s been introduced in years.’’

Legislative Democrats are willing to go along, especially once they got that $10 million for addiction treatment. But they don’t see this as a cure all.

“It’s a thoughtful and thorough first step,’’ said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs. “We won’t win this battle in one year.’’

State lawmakers actually already are in session. And there is no legal reason why the pieces of the proposal cannot be added to the regular legislative agenda.

But by calling a concurrent special session, Ducey sets the stage to go from proposal to finished law in three days.

“This is not being rushed through at all,’’ the governor told reporters after the ceremony. He said the measure has been in the works since September, with input from members of the medical community, law enforcement, addiction experts.

“And now it will be debated in the light of day in both of our chambers,’’ Ducey said.

“We needed urgency and focus on this issue, which is a crisis in our state,’’ he explained. “It called for a special session.’’

But what it also does is shorten the amount of time for people to read and scrutinize the final legislation — it was still not printed as of Monday afternoon — and be able to seek changes.

There are some potential flash points.

For example, the proclamation for the session says there will be new enforcement procedures to go after doctors who overprescribe not just opioids but other similar drugs. That could raise questions from doctors who specialize in pain management.

Ducey also wants to allow the state to charge companies that manufacture opioids as well as their executives with felonies for misrepresenting the effectiveness and addictive nature of their wares.

And the governor proposes to require insurance companies to expedite authorization for certain kinds of treatments. That is based on concerns that while patients are awaiting the go-ahead from insurers for surgery they end up being given opioids for the pain, increasing the possibility of addiction.

Other provisions include a “Good Samaritan’’ provision, allowing someone who is using drugs to call for help when a companion needs medical attention without putting himself or herself at risk of arrest.

The governor did part ways with his health director on one particular issue.

In briefing reporters last week, Christ said there is no simple answer to alternatives to highly addictive opioids when treating pain. But she said the list of options could include medical marijuana which is legal in Arizona.

Original Source: https://www.pvtrib.com/news/2018/jan/24/lawmakers-hope-put-dent-opioid-crisis/

 

Opioid Plan Aims To Restrict Prescribing, Protect Arizona Patients

Governor Ducey’s Opioid Plan Aims To Restrict Prescribing, Protect Arizona Patients

By  Will Stone

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 – 11:16am
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 – 1:18pm
 

Jay Fleming knows what life is like without his pain medication. He tried it not that long ago.

“I’d hobble around the house hanging on to furniture to try and get around,” Fleming said. “It really affected my quality of life.”

Fleming, a former police officer, lives in the remote, outer reaches of northwest Arizona with his wife and their family of dobermans. He’s been taking opioids for decades ever since a failed back surgery for a herniated disc.

This trial run of getting off the medication, he said, confirmed just how much he still depends on it.

“Most people use them to get out and do things. They don’t sit home and get high,” he said. “It’s their freedom.”

Fleming sees a pain specialist regularly. His prescriptions are tracked and he’s drug tested.

But as alarm over the opioid crisis grows louder, Fleming fears those suffering from chronic pain who have been on opioids for years could become collateral damage.

“I am afraid they are going to restrict them too much. You can only go to a pharmacy and be treated like a drug addict, by your pharmacy, by everyone who knows you take that kind of medicine,” Fleming said. “You can only deal with that stuff so long.”

It’s one of the central challenges policymakers face as they get to work crafting new laws to address the epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths — how to protect legitimate patients while still getting tough on overprescribing?

Governor Ducey’s New Plan

This week, Gov. Doug Ducey and lawmakers will convene a special session to pass a slew of laws aimed at everything from expanding treatment to reducing the supply of pills.

“Our package will attack this issue from all angles, while protecting individuals who suffer from chronic pain, and maintaining compassion for those struggling with addiction,” Ducey declared in his state of the state address earlier this month.

Ducey’s plan already has the backing of the state’s Democratic and Republican leadership, but it’s still unclear how much pushback will come from doctors and their patients.

In a letter to the state last year, the Arizona Medical Association and Arizona Osteopathic Association expressed concerns about restricting prescribing too much, saying that could hamstring doctors with complex patients.

“One of the things we don’t want to do is get in between the doctor-patient relationship,” said Republican Representative Regina Cobb of Kingman.

Cobb, who is vice chair of the House health committee, said more regulations are necessary, but she thinks they must be targeted and based on accurate data.

Cobb is a practicing dentist and knows these challenges firsthand. She recently received her report card from Arizona’s controlled substance monitoring program, a database providers must use every time they prescribe.

“Not all this is accurate,” Cobb said. “I know what mine is. It says it is higher than what I have done. So rushing through legislation without knowing we are correct is going to be difficult to do.”

New prescribing rules are a significant part of the governor’s plan. It would restrict the first fill of opioids for patients who have never taken them to five days’ worth and end paper prescriptions. Most doctors would also be prohibited from dispensing opioids on-site and above 90 morphine milligram equivalent (MME), a level at which federal guidelines recommend extreme caution when prescribing.

“I think there need to be some things addressed. I just don’t want to be going too far. What I have seen from the proposals is that it’s mainly directing at limiting the doctors,” Cobb said. “That’s not all the problem.”

State numbers show heroin was involved in overdoses just as much as oxycodone in the past six months.

The governor’s plan would set aside $10 million for treatment and establish a 911 Good Samaritan law to protect people from prosecution who call to report an overdose.

Senator David Bradley, a Democrat from Tucson, said it’s unfortunate that doctors will have to deal with more rules, “but unfortunately when someone in your profession does something like this, everyone suffers.”

“My response is too bad,” Bradley said. “If it becomes burdensome and people are suffering, we don’t want that to happen and over time we could make adjustments.”

A Focus On Prevention

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the proposed regulations are focused on prevention, which is why patients with prescriptions right now would not be affected by them.

“We are not tapering them down,” Christ said, “because we understand we don’t want to push people to illicit unregulated drugs.”

Christ said the state has worked extensively with the medical community to design prescribing guidelines and that doctors will still have the flexibility to treat patients who need the medicine. There would be exceptions for trauma, cancer and hospice patients, among others, and pain specialists would not be subject to the rules.

“We are not trying to limit responsible use of the medication. We just want to try to prevent people from developing a lifelong chronic disease,” Christ said, referring to substance use disorder.

Since June — when the governor declared a public health emergency — about 40 percent of those who overdosed in Arizona had nine or more prescriptions filled in the past year. Chronic pain was also the most common pre existing medical condition for those who overdosed.

Christ said such findings show the need for more oversight.

“We completely understand there is a majority of physicians that are acting responsibly and we want them to still have the tools that they need to treat their patients,” she said. “It’s really the prescribers who are overprescribing to make a profit and are just not using reasonable care.”

The number of prescriptions in Arizona has been going down gradually in recent months, but Christ said it will take years before Arizona sees the true effect of its prevention efforts.

 

Original Source: https://kjzz.org/content/596247/ducey-opioid-plan-aims-restrict-prescribing-protect-arizona-patients

Further Reading: http://kjzz.org/arizonas-opioid-crisis

Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act Outlines Comprehensive Solutions

News Release

January 19, 2018
 

Plan Is The Result Of A Months-Long Citizen And Stakeholder Engagement Process

PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey today, in conjunction with legislative leaders of both parties, released the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, a comprehensive and bipartisan legislative package aimed at combating the opioid epidemic and saving lives. The legislation, a result of collaboration between medical professionals, law enforcement, community leaders, chronic pain sufferers, pharmacists, substance abuse treatment experts, elected officials of both parties and more, takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic through areas like expanding treatment, improving enforcement and oversight, preventing addiction, and reversing overdoses.   

“This legislation combats the opioid epidemic from all angles,” said Governor Ducey. “It holds bad actors accountable and gets more resources to our medical professionals, law enforcement, and treatment providers, while showing compassion to those struggling with addiction and protecting those suffering from chronic pain. I am pleased to see the bipartisan support for these important initiatives, and thank everyone at the Legislature and all the stakeholders and partners involved for coming together on these solutions. We must act with urgency, and I look forward to working with members of the Legislature to pass this legislation.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Ducey and my colleagues at the Legislature in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Senate President Steve Yarbrough. “This merits our undivided attention to ensure that we pass a comprehensive package that curtails out-of-control prescribing activity and gives focus to treatment and prevention. Far too many people have suffered the consequences of addiction. It’s important to act expediently.”

“This is an important first step in addressing the devastating opioid epidemic in Arizona,” said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs. “We’re pleased that Governor Ducey incorporated many of our ideas into this legislation, especially the commitment of real dollars to provide treatment for those who are opioid addicted but don’t qualify for AHCCCS or private insurance. We won’t win this battle with one bill, so it’s critical that we build upon this over time to break the systemic causes of addiction.”

“I’m pleased that Governor Ducey and legislators from both parties have come together to ensure Arizonans get the tools they need to combat our opioid epidemic,” said Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard. “The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act will get the urgent consideration it needs in the Legislature, and I’m confident it will receive broad support in the process.”

“There is no explicitly Republican or Democratic solution to a crisis like this, so we appreciate the opportunity to help shape a plan that will save lives in all of the communities we represent,” said House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios. “We all recognize that more work will need to be done once the bill has passed, but this shows that when we work together the result is good policy that benefits all Arizonans. Because the Governor included Democrats early on, we were able to bring the incredible in-depth healthcare policy experience that exists among our members and staff to the table to help ensure this plan has a real and immediate impact.”

The introduction of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act follows a months-long effort to engage stakeholders and members of the public, including approximately 50 meetings held throughout Arizona. Using this input and after conducting a 50-state review of opioid-related policies, the Arizona Department of Health Services issued an Opioid Action Plan in September 2017, which included recommendations to reduce opioid misuse, promote safe prescribing and dispensing, and improve access to treatment. Those recommendations inform many of the proposals contained in today’s legislative package.

Specific policy proposals include:

  • Identifying gaps in and improving access to treatment, including for uninsured or underinsured Arizonans, with a new $10 million investment;
  • Expanding access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone for law enforcement or corrections officers currently not authorized to administer it;
  • Holding bad actors accountable by ending pill mills, increasing oversight mechanisms, and enacting criminal penalties for manufacturers who defraud the public about their products;
  • Enhancing continuing medical education for all professions that prescribe or dispense opioids;
  • Enacting a Good Samaritan law to allow people to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose;
  • Cracking down on forged prescriptions by requiring e-prescribing;
  • Requiring all pharmacists to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine;
  • And limiting the first-fill of an opioid prescription to five days for all opioid naïve patients and limiting dosage levels to align with federal prescribing guidelines. These proposals contain important exemptions to protect chronic pain suffers, cancer, trauma or burn patients, hospice or end-of-life patients, and those receiving medication assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2018/01/arizona-opioid-epidemic-act-outlines-comprehensive-solutions

Second Chances Are Deserved..and Beneficial!

Opinion: Why Hiring People with Criminal Records Benefits All of Us

Fox News

By Mike Jandernoa

From the smallest “mom and pop” shop to the largest international corporation, businesses across America are constantly looking for good employees. We want committed, engaging and creative individuals who can grow our organizations. We scour applications and resumes, trying to discern whether a potential employee will fulfill our needs and become an asset to our teams.

In the past, many employers would often not consider hiring people who had even minor criminal records. But as the former CEO of a 10,000-employee organization, I have one message for America: we can no longer exclude this vital component of our workforce.

An estimated one in three American adults has a criminal record of some kind. And about 600,000 people leave our nation’s prisons every year, looking to rejoin the workforce. While individuals in this group of workers won’t be right for every job, the right job is out there for everyone.

The benefits of boosting employment for those with criminal records are significant.

First, opening up opportunities to this population will make our country safer. Right now, almost 60 percent of individuals remain unemployed a year after being released from incarceration. It’s in our collective self-interest for them to get jobs, because steady employment is one of the best ways to ensure that individuals lead productive, crime-free lives. In one study of 6,000 returning citizens, employment cut the rate of those who committed a new crime in half.

Second, employers all across the country are suffering from a dearth of skilled labor. Every year, one major national bank surveys small businesses across this country. This year the survey found incredible optimism: 80 percent of employers said their business is stronger than ever; 40 percent said they plan to make a capital expenditure to grow their companies; and a quarter of those surveyed said they plan to hire more workers.

In West Michigan, most of the business leaders I know plan to expand their workforces. The downside? The businesses can’t find enough workers.

In fact, 61 percent of business owners reported extreme or moderate difficulty finding qualified employees. Adding to the challenge is the number of baby boomers retiring and a shortage of entry-level workers to fill all the vacancies that currently exist.

I’ve experienced this firsthand in West Michigan, where we’ve built one of the hottest job markets in the country. We’ve become one of the top places for growth and one of the best places to live. But our success has made it very difficult to find employees.

Our region is almost at full employment, so we must look for alternatives. We have a very strong manufacturing base, and these businesses are looking for people who will show up on time and test negative for drugs – that’s it. This opens the door for people who were formerly incarcerated and who are serious about turning their lives around.

It is not unheard of for employers to send vans to pick up workers who are in residential community corrections programs because the employers are so desperate for workers. Some of our country’s largest employers are making second-chance hiring their official policy. Target and Home Depot have “banned the box” in their employment practices. “Ban the box” delays inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history until late in the hiring process, ensuring that those with criminal records aren’t tossed aside before having an opportunity to detail their skills, training and qualifications.

This policy also allows these individuals to explain the circumstances of their offense, and show potential employers how they have turned their lives around.

Government jobs provide valuable training for private sector employment, so many private companies are asking their lawmakers to shift hiring processes for public sector jobs as well.

The West Michigan Policy Forum, made up of some of the state’s most influential business leaders, has ranked criminal justice reform as one of the five top “pro-business” policy priorities

This type of leadership from the business community has yielded incredible results across the country. A whopping 29 states have “banned the box” for public-sector jobs. And the bipartisan Fair Chance Act, sponsored by Senators Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., would replicate this policy at the federal level.

Reforms to seal or erase records of criminal convictions are also a priority for job creators. These policies seal minor criminal records after a certain crime-free period. Research shows that low-level offenders who have remained crime-free for three to five years are no more likely to commit a crime than anyone else.

And in many states, when minor criminal records are sealed, law enforcement and judicial officers still have access to these records, ensuring that public safety continues to be a priority.

Almost all states have some mechanism through which certain criminal records can be erased or sealed, but erasing records at the federal level is virtually impossible. Fortunately, the issue is gaining traction in Congress.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is spearheading the REDEEM Act, with 

bipartisan support. And Rep.  Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., introduced the Renew Act with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Occupational licensing reform is another issue important to the business community. Today one in four occupations requires a government license – but a criminal history often bars an individual from the licensing process.

Ironically, such restrictions make us less safe. One study showed that states with more burdensome licensing laws saw an average 9 percent increase in recidivism, while those with the lowest burdens had a recidivism reduction of 2.5 percent.

States as diverse as Illinois, Arizona, and Louisiana have already begun peeling back the layers of government-issued permission slips to work.

At the federal level, the New HOPE Act, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and similar legislation sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would allow states to use federal funding to identify and reduce unnecessary licensing barriers within their regulations and statutes.

Elected officials should look to job creators for sound public policy. I urge my fellow employers to beat the drum even louder and make their voices heard at the local, state and federal level.

We can improve public safety, strengthen the economy and broaden our pool of skilled labor through commonsense criminal justice reforms and offering second chances for those who have earned them. I don’t know a good businessperson who would turn down that deal.

___________________________________________________________________

Mike Jandernoa is former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Perrigo Company

Original Source: http://csgjusticecenter.org

ARIZONA’S OPIOID EPIDEMIC-The Tragic 2017 Numbers

Over 700 Arizonans Died In Suspected Opioid-Related Deaths in 2017

 
Published: Monday, January 1, 2018 – 2:42pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 2, 2018 – 7:14am

More than 700 people in Arizona are believed to have died from opioid-related overdoses in 2017, according to end-of-the-year numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

2017 was the first time state health officials began tracking opioid overdose data in real time. The initial results reveal that there were nearly 5,000 suspected opioid-related overdoses since mid-June. About 15 percent were fatal.

The majority of overdoses were clustered around the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. Most of them happened inside a personal residence, not a health-care facility or public place. Over the past six months, the number of overdoses reported weekly has ranged from 100 to more than 250. The state aims to reduce the number of overdose deaths by 25 percent in the next five years.

Lawmakers are expected to take up legislation this year in response to the opioid epidemic, which Gov. Doug Ducey has declared a public health emergency.

Source: https://kjzz.org/

ViVRE is committed to helping end this epidemic in 2018, and beyond!

For support, guidance, and information please contact ViVRE at 480-389-4779.

Teams from All 50 States Examine Local Criminal Justice Trends at ‘Unprecedented Gathering’

By CSG Justice Center Staff

The two-day 50-State Summit on Public Safety, organized by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), occurred at a time when public safety officials and crime data are telling a complex story. While property crime rates have fallen significantly in almost every state, and the overall violent crime rate remains lower than it was a decade ago, it is no longer universally declining. In fact, violent crime is increasing overall in 18 states and in many individual communities across the country. Further, the opioid epidemic has become a national crisis, and law enforcement leaders describe engaging with more people with serious mental illnesses than ever before.

“The amount of data available, and opinions about what that data means, sometimes makes you feel like you’re drinking from a fire hose. There’s no shortage of action that can be taken as a corrections leader,” said John Wetzel, Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections, who also serves as Chair of the CSG Justice Center and Vice President of ASCA. “This summit is a key opportunity to engage with colleagues across agencies and at all levels of government to understand that data and accelerate the adoption of programs that work.”

Each of the 50 state teams that attended the event on November 13–14 in Washington, DC were led by their respective state corrections administrator and included a key state legislator, a law enforcement official and a local behavioral health professional. Attendees—including 35 behavioral health directors, 15 police chiefs, 12 sheriffs, and 41 state legislators—received state-specific workbooks that highlighted data collected by CSG Justice Center staff in interviews with criminal justice professionals in all 50 states. State data included trends in crime, arrests, recidivism, correctional populations, and behavioral health in each state, as well as discussion questions to help each team think about the public safety challenges in their state and possible solutions.

“The intersection between the criminal justice system and people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders is more prominent than ever before, and local agencies are struggling to meet the demand for services for people in jail and on community supervision,” said Tracy Plouck, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction services and Vice-Chair of the CSG Justice Center. “This reality reinforces the critical role behavioral health specialists will have in the effort to preserve public safety and get people the treatment they need.”

The summit featured discussions with leaders representing all facets of the criminal justice system from states across the country, as well as national voices, including U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, JustLeadershipUSA’s Glenn E. Martin and Darlene Hutchinson Biehl, Director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime.

State teams emerged from the summit having identified clear strategies for reducing crime and recidivism, improving outcomes for people with mental health and substance use disorders, and reducing spending on prisons and jails.

“In order to achieve lasting crime and recidivism reductions, state and local leaders will need to develop a more comprehensive and coordinated public safety strategy that sustains success to date and responds to the unique combination of new challenges in their states,” Arkansas State Representative Clarke Tucker said. “I know that for my team attending the summit, this is a great checkpoint to understand where things stand in our state, reestablish our engagement across different agencies and learn about new opportunities to improve our criminal justice system.”

Following the summit, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance will select up to 25 states to receive additional technical assistance from criminal justice experts in early 2018. Attendees were encouraged to apply for this opportunity at the summit. Additionally, the CSG Justice Center will be releasing a report in the coming months that includes a detailed analysis of the state and local data discussed at this week’s summit.

The 50-State Summit on Public Safety was made possible by funding from by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Tow Foundation.

SOURCE: www.csgjusticecenter.org

PLEASE JOIN US!

Please join us for our Open House on Thursday December 7th!

Tour our new facility, meet our team, and learn more about our programs and services.

ALL ARE WELCOME!

Please RSVP to: Stacey.Cavaliere@VivreHousing.org