Since 1997, the Department of Corrections has been responsible for chairing the Batterers’ Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee, which has statutory authority to establish minimum standards for programs that provide services to court-mandated domestic violence offenders. Most of the work of the Oversight Committee – which includes establishing minimum standards for batterers programs, certifying programs that meet the standards, monitoring and reviewing programs on an on-going basis, and ensuring that adjudicated batterers attend certified programs only – occurs within its Subcommittees, staffed by small groups of volunteers. A Review Committee handles the complex and time-consuming process of program monitoring and on-site program observation. A Rules and Standards Subcommittee reviews existing standards and the certification process in order to make recommendations for modifications. Any such changes to the standards must first be approved by the Oversight Committee as a whole, then brought to a public hearing, and finally filed with the Secretary of State.
In recent years the Department of Corrections has formed partnerships with city and town police departments in the State. The benefits of these partnerships include: a) protecting the public by using the power of their respective line staff in complimentary ways; b) achieving the common goals of crime reduction; c) improving information sharing; and d) allowing for extension of partnership with criminal justice system, community organizations and delivery of services to specific neighborhoods.
The partnerships focus of coordination and collaboration between police and probation/parole in the following areas:
Partnerships between Probation & Parole and local law enforcement currently exist in the following cities/towns: Coventry (established 2009), Cranston (established 2003), East Greenwich (established 2009), East Providence (established 2004), Newport (established 2002), Pawtucket/Central Falls/Cumberland (established 2004), Providence (established 2000),Warwick (established 2001), West Warwick (established 2004), and Woonsocket (established 2006).
Adult Probation and Parole in conjunction with a diverse group representing the criminal justice system, service providers, victim services has been an active participant in the RI Sex Offender Management Task Force. The Associate Director Community Corrections, Assistant Administrator Probation and Parole and the Sex Offender Unit Supervisor are members of this task force. The goals of the task force are as follows:
Current initiatives include development of establishing standards for sex offender programs, development of a certification process to meet the established standards, monitoring/review process, and administrative oversight/structure process. The other focus area is assessment of current training opportunities and development of training in this subject matter.
Adult Probation and Parole has been an active participant in the Department of Corrections Reentry Initiatives. Both the Associate Director of Community Corrections and one of the Assistant Administrators of Probation & Parole serve on the three-tiered reentry governance structure. While the overall goal of the reentry initiative is to develop an integrated statewide system that fosters the preparation and gradual transition of incarcerated individuals to productive/crime free lives, one particular focus is the enhancement of Adult Probation and Parole.
Additionally, since almost every offender released from incarceration will be placed on parole or serve probation, the linkage between Adult Probation & Parole and Transitional Services is essential. During this past year Adult Probation and Parole has enhanced linkages with Discharge Planning through informational training sessions, as well as site visits. Other accomplishments include creating a procedure to ensure that Probation and Parole staff are receiving discharge plans at least 30 days prior to an inmate’s release to ensure continuity of care.