Legislative Updates 2021

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POPAI Board Selects New Vice President

on 05/06/2021

On Thursday, May 6th the POPAI Executive Board met to select a new Vice President of the Association.  The Board is pleased to announce that Sarah Lochner, Chief Probation Officer for Wabash County, will serve as the Association’s Vice President for the remainder of the term which expires in September 2021.  Congratulations, Sarah!

2021 Legislative Session Wrap-up

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POPAI on 05/04/2021

The main 2021 legislative session concluded near the end of April.  However, the House and Senate will reconvene later in the year to deal with redistricting after they receive the necessary information from the 2020 federal census.

POPAI worked hard to advocate for our membership and though we were not successful in every endeavor (SEA 232), we managed to add probation officers and community corrections officers to the list of persons whose residential addresses may not be disclosed on a public property database website operated by a local government (HEA 1383). This means as of July 1st we can ask our local department (usually the surveyor) who operates a Geographic Information System (GIS) property database to have our names hidden from public view.  This will make it more difficult our clients and members of the public to learn our home addresses or the addresses of any property we may own within the county.

In addition to the above actions, POPAI also provided support in other areas that we believe aids in improving the criminal justice system as a whole.  The 2021 Legislative webpage has been updated for a final time with a list of House and Senate Enrolled Acts which may be informative for our membership.

Indiana’s ‘Second Chance Law’ Seals Criminal Records. But Fines And Fees Can Stand In The Way

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Indiana Public Media on 4/21/2021 by Pria Mahadevan

Julie Mennel is the expungement help desk manager for the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic in Indianapolis

Julie Mennel is the expungement help desk manager for the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic in Indianapolis

When Jade was a sophomore in college, they were arrested and charged with a DUI. They hid their arrest from friends out of shame, and have tried to hide it from employers as well — so we’ve agreed to use just their middle name for this story.

“The day that I had court, I was like, ‘I have to get this off my record,’” they recalled. “The fact that you have a record, there are places that will definitely not hire you.”

Jade saw those effects almost right away. They applied for a summer job, but their background check took until the end of July to clear. They ended up taking a lower-paying position and making less headway on their student loans. Then, their graduate school admission was put on hold for extra review once their DUI came to light.

The thought of missing out on graduate school due to a criminal record put Jade in an emotional tailspin.

“It was very heartbreaking, honestly,” they recalled. “I spent hours crying, because — I’m a first generation college student. So even going to college was a super big deal. And then, to find out that the one thing that I’ve been working my entire collegiate career towards might not actually happen was just horrifying.”

While concrete numbers are hard to pin down, researchers estimate that one in seven Americans has a misdemeanor on their criminal record, amounting to around 45 million people. Another 19 to 24 million people have felony convictions, though some overlap between those two groups is possible.

For many Hoosiers with a criminal record, there is another option: filing for an expungement through Indiana’s “second chance” law.

 

Court of Appeals Rules Lake County Must Pay Probation Officers’ Legal Expenses

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Indiana Court of Appeals on 04/30/2021 by Indiana Court of Appeal

In 2015, a probationer filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against the Lake County Board of Commissioners, five Lake County Superior Court Criminal Division Judges, and two Lake County probation officers acting in their official capacities alleging violations of their constitutional rights.  The Attorney General is required to defend state employees per Indiana Code, but declined to defend the probation officers after Lake County filed a formal written demand requesting such.  The Attorney General concluded that lake County is responsible for defending the probation officers.

Writing for the unanimous panel, Judge Mathias cites Indiana Code section 11-13-1-1 stating that probation officers service at the pleasure of the court and are directly responsible to and subject to the orders of the court.  The statute continues to state that probation officers’ salaries are pay out of the county, city, or town treasury and probation officers are entitled to their actual expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.  Thus, if a probation officers’ legal expenses are incurred in the performance of their duties, then the County is responsible for those costs.

Two prior decisions are also cited in the opinion that agrees with the trial court’s conclusion that Lake County is responsible for the legal costs of defending its probation officers in the federal litigation.  Read the opinion here.

APPA Announces Election Results

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on 05/05/2021 by American Probation and Parole Association (APPA)

The American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) is proud to announce the results of their 2021 Election. Voting was completed virtually by APPA membership in the month of April, and turnout was fantastic! More than 650 voters took part in this year’s competition, representing 35% of all eligible voters.

Indiana will be well-represented on APPA’s Board of Directors as SUSAN RICE will becomes APPA’s next President-Elect on July 1, 2021.  Susan is the former Chief Probation Officer for Miami County and served as POPAI’s conference planner and membership coordinator for a number of years.  She currently serves as the Director of Community Supervision Partnerships for Uptrust.  Susan will serve two years as the President-Elect before she becomes President of APPA.  Congratulations, Susan!

CJ MILLER will serve as Indiana’s Area Representative to APPA.  CJ is the current Treasurer of POPAI and serves as the Low Risk Supervision Coordinator for Hamilton County Department of Probation Services.  CJ will be working closely with our APPA Regional Representative for the next three years on ideas and issues important to Indiana.  Congratulations, CJ!

Click here to see the results of APPA’s election.

‘I was a monster’: Fixing minds and changing lives in Marion County’s mental health court

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WRTV on 4/29/2021

INDIANAPOLIS — George Lewis was drinking a lot of gin. He was trying to numb the pain, to kill the dark thoughts.

Friends and family were distancing themselves. He couldn’t keep a job. He was on the verge of homelessness.

Lewis, 59, was out of control, raging. He didn’t know at the time that he was suffering from bipolar disorder, which had been causing his extreme emotional highs and lows.

He didn’t know he was sick. What he thought, he said, was people were out to get him. Cops took him to Eskenazi Hospital in October 2019. There, he hit a deputy working hospital security.

Lewis was charged with felony battery on a public safety official. He spent a few nights in jail before ending up in court.

That criminal case, Lewis said, opened his eyes, fixed his mind and changed his life.

Allen County Juvenile Center students learn how to knit, donate infant hats and cocoons to area hospitals

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wane.com on 4/23/2021 by Corinne Moore

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Children staying at the Allen County Juvenile Center (ACJC) are learning something new from an area teacher: how to knit.

The center said it initially started as dedicated weekly enrichment time for students to engage in non-academic learning experiences. Sandy Eager, a teacher in the detention center, began teaching the students how to knit hats using looms. The center said the students quickly found that knitting helps them calms anxieties, relieves stress, focus on something positive as well as give back to the community.

Over the past year, the knitting practice has grown into a well-established program within the center that is supported by Fort Wayne Community Schools employees and Allen County Juvenile Probation. During the 2021 school year, ACJC students have been involved in semester-based knitting projects that have supported the FWCS Clothing Bank, Lutheran South Unity School and M.I.S.F.I.T.S. Ministry, Inc.

As word about the knitting initiative spread, Eager said she was contacted by a fellow FWCS employee from another building in late-January. The employee had heard about how the students at ACJC were knitting for various causes and wanted to know if they would be willing to help her honor her infant son, Finnley, who she lost in October 2020.

The employee wanted to donate infant hats and cocoons, of all sizes, for babies who were stillborn or lived for just a short time after birth. The hospitals have a supply of average infant sized hats but are in needs of smaller (golf ball-sized) through larger than infant, the press release said. Since the start of “The Finnley Project,” the students have made 74 various-sized hats and 71 cocoon sets to be donated as part of their semester knitting project.

In addition to The Finnley Project, group members have completed the following projects:

  • Donated to SPCA 70 braided yarn ropes so cat toys can be attached to them and hang from posts, we made 15 cat scratch boxes and tore 4-5 large garbage bags full of newspaper for bedding for the animals at the SPCA.
  • Made about 100 book markers from paint swatches donated to nursing homes
  • Created over 40 winter hats to be donated this fall to a charity

Counselor’s Corner: The Therapeutic Benefits of Humor in Substance Use Disorder Counseling

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ATTC on 3/21/2021 by Mark A. Sanders, LCSW, CADC; Illinois State Program Manager, Great Lakes ATTC, MHTTC, and PTTC

Humor can be utilized in substance use disorder counseling to help reduce client resistance, increase rapport between counselor and client, and help facilitate recovery. Some of the therapeutic benefits of humor in substance use disorders counseling include:

Laughter as the great equalizer. Maya Angelou told Oprah Winfrey that only equals laugh with each other. Many clients with substance use disorder enter counseling feeling that they have failed, which often leads to defensiveness. Laughter can be instrumental in decreasing that defensiveness.

Laughter can bring the idealized counselor back to life. It is particularly helpful for counselors to occasionally tell humorous stories about mistakes they have made in their own lives. This can help clients be less guarded about their own life mistakes.

Laughter can decrease resistance to counseling. It has been said that the shortest distance between two people is a good laugh.

Laughter can also:

  • Decrease cross-cultural tension in counseling. It is hard to laugh and hate at the same time.
  • Facilitate bonding between counselors and clients.
  • Facilitate self-disclosure by creating a friendly environment.
  • Allow clients relief from painful experiences.
  • Decrease anxiety about taboo subjects.
  • Decrease stress and anxiety in counseling

Laughter can make the therapeutic hour seem quicker. Many clients report a great deal of boredom in early recovery. Therapy is more enjoyable when it moves quickly. Laughter helps!

Why New Guidelines For Opioid Treatment Are A ‘Big Deal’

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NPR on 04/27/2021 by Audie Cornish

More medical practitioners are being allowed to prescribe buprenorphine under new guidelines from the Biden administration.

The change means that the drug shown to reduce opioid relapses and overdose deaths can be more widely prescribed.

It comes after a year of overdose deaths spiking across the United States. Early estimates indicate about 90,000 people died of drug overdoses in the 12 months ending in September, higher than has ever been recorded. It’s about an increase of 20,000 deaths from the previous 12-month period.

The majority of drug overdose deaths involved opioids.

POPAI Executive Board to Select a Vice President

Adam McQueen, Assistant Chief Probation Officer of Wayne County and the President of the Probation Officers Professional Association of Indiana (POPAI), announced to the Executive Board his resignation as President of POPAI.  Vice President Troy Hatfield assumed the role as President on April 14, 2021.

The Board accepted applications to fill the Vice President vacancy in accordance with the the Bylaws and will now hold a special meeting on Thursday, May 6th at 2:30 p.m. EDT via Zoom to select the new Vice President of the Association.  Please contact any member of the Executive Board for more information.

Knepple Scholarship 2021: Two Scholarships Awarded

Every year POPAI provides a scholarship in memory of probation officer Donald “Charley” Knepple. Charley lost his life on April 28, 1997, while performing his probation officer duties in Allen County, Indiana. In an effort to honor an outstanding professional and to promote further professionalism, POPAI selected a scholarship that would encourage continued education and advanced degrees for probation officers in our state.

This year we received applications from two applicants who are equally impressive. For the first time that any board members could remember, the applicants ended in a tie.  Both scored phenomenally well with several scoring guides reflecting the maximum points allowable.  POPAI  awarded two (2) scholarships this year. Congratulations to Sarah Lochner and Alexis Stogdill.

Sarah has been a probation officer for sixteen years and currently serves as the Director of Court Services/Chief Probation Officer in Wabash County. She is pursuing a Master’s Degree from Indiana Wesleyan in Organizational Leadership. Sarah states “Leadership is a concept and attribute we look for in all of our officers. It is incumbent upon us as officers to be leaders in the community and in everyday life to model these actions for our clients. Furthering my education in the area of leadership has thus far challenged me to become a better version of myself and to be cognizant of the effects my actions have on those around me.” A letter of support states “Sarah is not just the Director of Court Services, she is a model of how one should live, enjoying the people you work with, going above and beyond for those that are around you and supporting community involvement of team members.”

Alexis has also been a probation officer for sixteen years and currently serves as the Mental Health Court Case Manager in Monroe County. She is pursuing a Master’s Degree from Indiana Wesleyan in Psychology with a specialty in Positive Psychology and Life Coaching. Alexis states “I believe community supervision has evolved into a psychology-based profession as much as a criminal justice-based one. Utilizing evidence based practices requires constant assessment of client risks, needs, and motivation. Responding effectively to those factors depends on your ability to successfully understand them, all of which are studied and taught more extensively in psychology.”

A letter of support states Alexis “has gone above and beyond to assist our clients in making positive changes in their lives. Our clients, her co-workers, our local court system, and our community are all better as a result of the impact Alexis has made.”

Once again, Congratulations to Sarah and Alexis!

 

(The award was presented virtually so we will update this article with the winners and their plaques.)

Tribute to Lori Eville

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by NICIC

Dear Corrections Colleagues:

The National Institute of Corrections and the field of corrections lost a true justice warrior with the passing of our esteemed colleague, Lori Eville.  She passed away on March 10, 2021 after a short fight with cancer.  Lori had a long career of public service, culminating with her time at the NIC Community Services Division.   I encourage you to view her tribute page https://nicic.gov/lori-eville to learn more about Lori and her impact on the field of corrections.  Though she will forever be missed by her family, friends, and colleagues, Lori’s legacy will live on.