Monday, November 19, 2012

November is Native American History Month

Governor Jerry brown stands with three leaders
in the Native American Community at the 45th Annual
California Native American Day. CalVCP was honored
to participate in this outreach event at the
State Capitol last month. 
This November marks the observance of National Native American History Month. This observance is an important reminder to those of us who serve victims of crime to continue to reach out to all underserved and vulnerable populations.

Recent research shows that Native American communities face a national public safety crisis and are particularly vulnerable to family violence. Data gathered by the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that Native American Women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other women in the United States and the majority of these assaults go unreported. This data also shows that in at least 86% of the reported cases of rape or sexual assault against American Indian women, survivors report that the perpetrators are non-Native men. As staggering as these statistics are, we’re told that most cases of violence in Native American communities continue to go unreported.
In at least 86% of the reported cases of rape or sexual assault against American Indian women, survivors report that the perpetrators are non-Native men.

Because California is home to more Native Americans than any other state, it’s imperative that these victims have access to available assistance. We are committed to connecting with these communities and making CalVCP financial assistance available to victims in need. During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, CalVCP helped Native American victims by paying nearly a quarter-million dollars of crime-related bills – and although this is a good start, we know there is much more work to be done. We continue to attend outreach events, share materials and meet with community organizations in an effort to reach Native American victims, survivors and their family and friends.
There are many resources and services available to those in need:

California Victim Compensation Program Logo
The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) provides compensation for victims of violent crime. CalVCP provides eligible victims with reimbursement for many crime-related expenses. CalVCP funding comes from restitution paid by criminal offenders through fines, orders, penalty assessments and federal matching funds.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Suited for Success Clothing Drive

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

Yesterday I was honored to participate in a press conference for the 2nd Annual CalVCP Suited for Success Program where we presented three very deserving organizations with nearly 2,000 clothing items. The Suited for Success Program was a great success and we are proud of all of the donations that were made. Suited for Success is an incredible program run by our friends at WEAVE to provide interview-quality professional and business casual clothing to victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault in the greater Sacramento area.

This year, we were thrilled to partner with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and expand the potential for collection. With their assistance we were able to place collection bins in several State agencies and departments, including the Governor’s Office. We also had a helping hand from many Legislative offices and from our friends at Chicory Coffee and Tea on L Street.

WEAVE began this program back in 1999 to fill the need in assisting domestic violence victims attain economic independence. WEAVE, along with our partners, My Sister’s House and the Domestic Violence Intervention Center, help domestic violence victims who are forced to leave their homes and start all over again. Many lack the financial freedom to get back on their feet — and that is where these incredible organizations and the Suited for Success Program come in.

I was touched by a message I received shortly following the press event from Nilda Valmores, Executive Director at My Sister’s House. She wrote:
"A client from our Women to Work Program just came by sharing that she has an interview in a few hours. I asked her if she had her outfit. She said "no." I said, "Guess what I have in my van?" She found not only a great outfit for the interview but some wonderful items for when she starts the job . . . we're feeling positive. She said, "I feel like it's Christmas!"
I was moved by this story and reminded of the great work these organizations do and why it is so important to continue to support victims of domestic violence. We know that domestic violence continues to be a concerning issue for California and here in the Sacramento region. The California Victim Compensation Program provides assistance to more than 15,000 victims of domestic violence every year. In fact, 35 percent of all the applications we process annually come from domestic violence victims. Many victims come to us looking to relocate, go to counseling, and get medical attention, and I am proud that we have such a program that can assist with these financial burdens.

Thank you to all who joined us and who donated the life-changing clothing to these worthy organizations. A special thanks to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence for being a great partner with us during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and of course to WEAVE, My Sister’s House, and the Domestic Violence Intervention Center who will distribute the clothing to those in need.
Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

About the California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association (CPPCA)

By Dana Smith-Lacy, California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association President; and Reuben Johnson, California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association Vice President

Since 1917, the California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association represents the professional interest of adult and juvenile, state and local, field and institutional correctional personnel. As an Association, members collectively uphold and stand by the rights and restoration of all victims across the state. CPPCA has been a constant voice within the California Legislature in critical decision making processes when proposed bills involve victim safety, rights, restoration, and restitution. Throughout our annual review of bills involving victim interests or rights, our Legislative Committee considers several vital factors, including:

  • The Legislative Committee and Executive Board always seek to ensure the protection of victims from intimidation and future degradation or harm.
  • Distribute concise statewide information on court processes, restitution programs, defendant location, and release dates.
  • Focus on the preservation of victim property, employment, safety, and dignity.

CPPCA logoA refreshing fact about CPPCA is that it is connected to almost every probation, parole, and corrections agency throughout California. Therefore, new, effective victim services trends and programs are shared and adopted by many counties. The Association holds an annual conference which provides a comprehensive list of training sessions, some of which involve information on victim rights and services. Roundtables and discussion forums about improvement and modification of victim practices are encouraged, not only from law enforcement staff, but by community based organizations who are seeking insight for improvement purposes. Outside agencies are foot soldiers in the victim movement and are key stakeholders for effective services. CPPCA heavily encourages cohesiveness with all agencies who are vested in this arena. Teamwork is very important to help ensure victims’ rights.

CPPCA will always strive to support legislation to better serve victims in an effort to ensure all victims are made whole and have ample guidance and assistance in the healing process. The task is an ongoing test of fortitude under the law enforcement umbrella.

The Association seeks to foster effective outcomes for communities by addressing recidivism of offenders as well as community factors that lead to success, such as education, housing, employment, sobriety, and other criminogenic factors. By focusing on approaches that are evidence based, probation is able to identify the risk of reoffending, provide supervision interventions, and hold offenders accountable in order to protect public safety and reduce recidivism within local communities.

CPPCA will continue to work collaboratively and reach out to criminal justice agencies to promote team work and sharing of new innovative practices and strategies in order to create and modify effective programs for victims and our clients alike. As counties and the State continue to collect and track data toward this end, we will be able to analyze how specific probation strategies will benefit local communities to improve offender outcomes. By performing these efforts, we can hopefully reduce victimization and recidivism in California.

Dana Smith-Lacy is a Division Director I with the San Bernardino County Probation Department currently assigned to Central Valley Juvenile Detention and Assessment Center as the Assistant Superintendent. Dana serves as President of the California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association and has been an active member since September 2001.

Reuben Johnson is a Senior Deputy Probation Officer with the Santa Clara County Probation Department currently assigned to the Juvenile Court Unit and works as a Probation liaison in the Court system. Reuben is the Vice President of CPPCA and has worked diligently to serve the Association, Santa Clara County Probation Department and his community. He looks forward to serving as the Association’s President starting on October 1, 2013.