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2023 Annual Research Conference

The International Community Justice Association (ICJA) invites you to attend the 2023 Annual Research on Criminal Justice, August 20-22, 2023. This year’s event will be held in-person, in Cleveland, Ohio at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. 

2023 Conference Theme:

Centering People in Community Justice:
Enhancing Responsivity Through Diversity,
Equity, Inclusivity and Belonging

Conference Schedule

Sunday, August 20, 2023

12:00 p.m. - Registration

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Pre-Conference Sessions (see below)

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Welcome Reception

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Emerging Leaders Mixer

Monday, August 21, 2023

7:30 a.m. - Registration & Breakfast

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. - Conference Opening Ceremony & Welcome

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - Opening Plenary Session (see below)

10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - AM Break

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Workshop Sessions (see below)

12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Margaret Mead Award Luncheon

2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. - PM Break

2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Workshop Session (see below)

5:00 p.m. - Optional Dinner at Edwin's 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Registration

8:00 a.m. - Breakfast

8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - Panel Plenary Session (see below)

10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - AM Break

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Workshop Sessions (see below)

12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Break into Lunch

12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Final Plenary Session & Closing

2:30 p.m. - Facility Tours (more info coming soon)

Pre-Conference Sessions

Sunday, August 20, 2023 - 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Job Matching – If the Job Could Talk - Brian Driscoll, Jim Drancevic, Carol Mettenbrink
Organizations everywhere are seeking better ways to secure the talent necessary for success. But what talent does a job require for superior performance? Only the JOB has the answer, so let the job talk and listen carefully. Driscoll Learning and Target Training International’s patented job benchmarking process enables businesses to assess the job and talent to find the best job fit. Join other busy professionals to explore the in’s and outs of job benchmarking to uncover and understand the:
o Behaviors necessary to perform at peak levels
o Intrinsic motivators for a job
o Attributes required to drive success

The Result: Participants will walk away with a high-level evaluative process to expose the behaviors, motivators, thinking, achieving, and relating skills of a job. Attendees receive their own TriMetrix EQ Report

Attendees receive their own TriMetrix EQ Report – The report includes: DISC (How we communicate.): Dynamic Communication teaches people how to communicate using the DISC language as a way of understanding themselves and others. Team members learn how to interact with others and to appreciate others’ behavioral styles within the organization. Driving Forces (Why we do what we do.): Knowledge of an individual’s driving forces help tell us why a person behaves a certain way. 12 Driving Forces™ measures the primary driving forces cluster – the top four of an individual’s driving forces – to tell a story of how a person derives meaning from life and work. Emotional Quotient: The ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of acumen to emotions. Emotional Quotient measures an individual’s five factors of emotional intelligence and understanding these factors helps facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity. Note: The EQ report provides the opportunity for five weeks of development in all five factors of emotional intelligence after our program date. 

Gender Equity: Policies and Practices that Work with Women, Non-Binary People, and Families - Jacinta Hunt, Ruby Welch, Erica King, Dr. Marilyn Van Dieten
Women are the fastest-growing segment of the criminal population and experience unique challenges that impact their well-being, families, and recidivism outcomes. During this pre-conference workshop, a panel of experts will explore the impacts, critical drivers, and needs of women and non-binary people. They will also offer insight and solutions to inform policymakers, practitioners, and reform advocates who seek to implement equitable, trauma-informed, and inclusive practices throughout the carceral process.

Prior to this workshop, all participants will be given access to the award-winning documentary – Jacinta. This documentary bears the name of the main character when she is on the verge of being released from the Maine Correctional Center. The documentary encompasses several social and community justice themes, including intergenerational trauma, the importance of familial bonds, substance use, and the journey Jacinta embarks on in her pretrial journey, relapse and transition to her community. All registered participants will be provided with a link to view the film prior to the session and asked to submit questions that they would like to pose to the panelists.

As a result of this session, from a panel, centering Jacinta herself and her partners in gender justice policy and practice from the National Resource Center for Justice Involved Women and Dream Corps will uplift gender equity strategies that make a measurable difference in the safety and wellbeing of women and nonbinary people. As a result of this session, participants will increase their understanding and application of the foundational elements for successful gender-responsive strategies, including:
o Safe and sober housing
o Support for primary caregivers and children
o Access to behavioral healthcare, recovery support and medical care
o Pathways to education and employment
o Social capital, peer support, opportunity pathways


Plenary Sessions

Monday, August 21, 2023 - 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

National Institute of Justice Director, Nancy La Vigne’s priorities of fostering rigorous and inclusive research and elevating studies that apply a racial equity lens directly align with the themes of the research conference, and she will speak directly to how NIJ is working to promote these ideas.


Below, you’ll find several examples of Director La Vigne discussing the important of inclusive research and how it is an NIJ priority:

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 - 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: Yolanda Starks, Dr. Mitesh Desai, Dr. Greg Dillon, Gabriella Priest Celestin 

In a panel session moderated by Dr. Brian Lovins, the panelists will answer questions regarding their personal experience within criminal justice systems, how the system can improve the person-centered approach in community-based treatment, what direct-service is like today, how their lives have changed and what they hope the future will bring for themselves, as well as all justice-impacted individuals.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 - 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Brian Lovins will end the conference with a presentation on what was learned, how to implement the newest research, and most importantly, how to move forward centering justice-involved individuals that are being served by your agency. 

Workshop Presentations

Monday, August 21, 2023 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Justice Counts: You Can’t Change What You Can’t Measure - Stephanie Villanueva, Madelyn Roman-Scott

When policymakers react to criminal justice trends like increases in reported crime, all too often they must do so based on stale, submerged, or scattered data or on anecdotal evidence.  Criminal justice policymaking requires timely and actionable criminal justice data. Justice Counts, a bureau of Justice led project, is a suite of tools built by the field, for the field that creates a community of data to drive decision-making. The Council of State Governments Justice Center will provide an overview of how Justice Counts helps policymakers better understand the ways that past reform efforts are shaping the flow of people through their jurisdictions and help shape the narrative with up-to-date data and resources from Justice Counts.  

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)


Exploring the Diverse Needs of Women Charged with Violent Crimes: Implications for Policy and Practice - 

Dr. Marilyn Van Dieten, Dr. Shelley Brown

Until recently, researchers and policymakers have treated justice-impacted women charged with violent crimes as a homogenous group. The results of a recent study involving 3,773 justice-impacted women in Western Canada confirm that women charged with violent crimes present distinct profiles and needs. Understanding the heterogeneity of women who engage in violence is critical to provide effective interventions and outcomes. 

This presentation will summarize the available research to explore the diversity of women charged with violence across identified profiles. Presenters will introduce a series of interactive activities highlighting programs and interventions that show promise in addressing the needs of women who perpetrate violence. Finally, we will discuss implications for policy and practice.

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)


Safely Reducing Supervision Revocations Through Evidence-Based Decision Making - Valerie Meade, Maja Vlajnic

From 2020 through 2022, CJI conducted an assessment of supervision and revocation policies and practices in partnership with Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, and Montana. CJI worked with community supervision agencies, judges, Parole Boards, and practitioners to understand the factors impacting supervision outcomes, how agency policies align with best practices, and opportunities to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety. Through surveys, focus groups, individual stakeholder interviews, and data review spanning a ten-year period in the states, CJI analyzed agency practices and revocation results against evidence-based practices to form recommendations that can improve outcomes and address disparities in supervision and revocation practices.

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)

Behavioral Health and Community-Centric Supports for Returning Citizens: Successful Collaborations in Massachusetts - 

Whitney Kraemer, Mike Kane, Tara Dhanraj

This workshop will highlight two innovative practices in Massachusetts that support people returning to the community from incarceration: Behavioral Health for Justice Involved Individuals, coined BH-JI, and the state's first After Incarceration Center. Through presentation and Q&A, attendees will learn about both initiatives including successes, challenges and lessons learned to date.


Massachusetts residents with a history of incarceration are 120 times more likely to die from opioid overdose than the general population; the risk is greatest in the first month after release.  Individuals with severe mental illness are more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized. The goal of Massachusetts Medicaid’s Behavioral Health for Justice Involved Individuals (BH-JI) intervention is to disrupt the cycle of relapse-reoffending-incarceration-release-relapse without the opportunity for treatment for mental health and/or substance use disorder. BH-JI is intended to demonstrate improved health outcomes; decreased fatal overdoses; increased community tenure; effective, efficient healthcare utilization and sustainable financing.  It builds on successful grant-funded models including Transitions Clinic in California, WISR in Massachusetts and the state prison re-entry initiative in Ohio. 


Massachusetts’ first After Incarceration Center located in Worcester, MA will open in June 2023. The Center will provide a person-first, judgement free and inclusive resource center for people reentering the community from incarceration and their families.  The Center will be governed by a multi-structure board that provides guidance on the day-to-day operations as well as larger scale vision. The governance structure will be led by people with lived experience to ensure the voices of the clients of the Center are consistently centered and heard.


Health Disparities and the Criminal Legal System: A Call to Action - Dr. Kimberly Sperber

Individuals involved in the criminal legal system find themselves at the center of converging health crises that include the opioid epidemic, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the HCV epidemic, among others. High levels of comorbidity, to include mental illness and chronic underlying primary care conditions, exponentially increase the risk of morbidity and mortality for this group, especially as they face high risk transitions such as release from jails, prisons, community based correctional facilities, and residential treatment programs. At the same time, individuals involved in the criminal legal system are often uninsured/under-insured and do not receive a level of integrated, evidence-based care that matches their medical complexity, resulting in health disparities. Community corrections/supervision and outpatient behavioral health programs represent an additional point on the correctional continuum to deliver and/or coordinate prevention and treatment services to individuals during periods of amplified risk and reentry. Consequently, this workshop will discuss how healthcare needs impact successful reentry, the placement of healthcare within the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model, and practical strategies and examples of cross-sector partnerships that may work to improve individual health, public health, and public safety while also reducing health disparities.

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)

Monday, August 21, 2023 - 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Residential Reentry Centers: Identifying Leading Indicators for Success - Dr. Mei Yang, Dr. Shannon Streisel, Julie Finn

In this workshop, presenters from Community Resources for Justice (CRJ) will share how they developed a better understanding for how to foster successful program outcomes by using case management data and staff insight. In the first part of the workshop, the presenters will give an overview of CRJ’s reentry programs and demonstrate how they came to adopt a data-driven approach to answer questions about program success. In the second part of the workshop, the presenters will discuss how they use mixed-methods research to investigate several questions relevant to program completion. Specifically, the presenters will establish if and how program completion differs by demographics, risk levels, geographic locations, and time, as well as the predictors of program completion. Additionally, using information collected from staff interviews, the presenters will discuss how residents’ behaviors are tracked, the implementation of rules and regulations, and the nature of staff-resident interactions and how this qualitative information is necessary for a holistic understanding of the key indicators for program completion. The workshop will conclude with reflections on how the findings are utilized to understand racial/gender disparities in program completion, identify residents’ needs and increase program responsivity, and develop staff training areas.

Identifying Gaps in Connecting Underserved Populations to Community Based Substance Use Services Using Needs Assessment Exercises Among Justice-Provider Partnerships - Dr. Jennifer Becan, Dr. Verlin Joseph, Amanda Wiese, Haven Scogin

This workshop will focus on systematic approaches for exploring community level strengths and challenges for promoting substance use service access for justice involved individuals. The workshop brings together a cross-disciplinary team of researchers representing 3 Research Hubs for the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network. JCOIN is a large national network, as funded by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, to test strategies to expand effective treatment and care in partnership with local and state justice systems and community-based treatment providers. The first presentation will provide a brief overview of the JCOIN project including the study aims, as well as the justice populations targeted across 5 states. The second presentation will describe the needs assessment process as one approach to better understand community-level gaps and strengths along a full cascade of substance use services. The third presentation will spotlight community strengths and challenges as identified by justice and provider stakeholders during the needs assessment process. The fourth presentation will focus more closely on how stigma can impact service receipt as expressed during the stakeholder needs assessment meetings. The fifth presentation offers a framework for expanding the needs assessment process to other justice and community change processes. Lastly, the workshop will include feedback from a state level justice stakeholder on potential impacts of using systematic approaches to identify community gaps and strengths.

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)

Chilling the Amygdala: Strategies for Staff to Manage Client Agitation and Aggression - 

Dr. Randy Shively, Kelly Pitocco, Dr. Amanda Pompoco

This session will describe the Strategies pilot program between Alvis, Inc. and the University of Cincinnati Center for Justice and Communities (UCCJC) funded by a JAG grant. The approach assists staff in applying a model to reduce tension when justice-involved participants are resistant or agitated. The three-part approach includes strategies to reduce the incidents of agitation, techniques to de-escalate tense situations and recommendations for post-incident debriefing and remediation. The de-escalation portion includes three components: (1) TIME – steps for the staff member to prepare themselves for de-escalation, (2) CEASE – steps to engage the individual with empathy and reasonable suggestions towards calm and (3) RESPOND – offering choices with attending consequences to help the person gain control and choose to act in a more reasonable way. Given the frequency of past trauma in the lives of those in the justice system, staff need strategies to help clients manage their emotions and support their use of problem solving and decision making. Panel will share insights and anecdotes from Alvis staff participants and some preliminary positive outcomes from the grant.

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)

National Guidelines for Post-Conviction Risk and Needs Assessments - Jennifer Kisela, Julie Micek

The United States does not follow a coherent set of guidelines on the development and use of risk and needs assessment and most states and counties have not tested their tools for accuracy and fairness across race, ethnicity, and gender. With support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the CSG Justice Center developed an advisory group of 28 national experts in the field to create a set of 13 specific guidelines and a suite of practical materials that are aimed at different audiences, including criminal justice practitioners and leaders and legislators. This workshop will educate attendees on the national guidelines, discuss the benefits of adhering to the national guidelines, and hear from a leader in the field on specific challenges their agency has encountered and their work to use the national guidelines.

Literature and Evidence: Risk and needs assessments are a foundational element of best practices in the corrections field. Every state in the US utilizes post-conviction risk and needs assessments in some capacity yet no standards on the accuracy, transparency, fairness, and communication and use of assessments existed prior to the national guidelines for post-conviction risk and needs assessments being developed. The national guidelines were developed in conjunction with national experts on risk and needs assessments, researchers, tool developers, and practitioners in the field. Adherence to the national guidelines ensures that post-conviction risk and needs assessments are valid on the population served, are equitable based on race, ethnicity, and gender, implemented with fidelity, scoring and use of the tools are transparent, and communicated properly to people served and stakeholders.

Utilizing Supportive Housing as an Investment to Decrease Recidivism for Those Leaving Incarceration - Terri Power

This presentation will begin with providing a definition and overview of supportive housing, highlighting its significance in assisting individuals leaving incarceration with a successful and safe community reintegration.  Then, I will highlight two statewide programs in Ohio utilizing supportive housing as a platform to improve the lives of previously incarcerated individuals.  Finally, the FUSE initiative will be presented which showcases one of CSH’s initiatives in identifying and housing frequent users of systems. Participants will leave with an understanding of incorporating supportive housing as a possible solution in working with their clients.

Supportive housing is an evidenced based solution that leads to stability, better health and other positive outcomes. Supportive housing has over 20 years of research showing the success of working with individuals who are homeless and chronically homeless. Supportive housing has also been successfully utilized in reducing recidivism for individuals leaving state prisons and local jails. Tenants in supportive housing are provided affordable housing with wraparound support services, which can significantly reduce returns to jail/prison and homelessness, reliance on emergency health services, and improve overall quality of life.

Three programs will be highlighted to show the effectiveness of supportive housing with previously incarcerated individuals. Two statewide programs in Ohio will be presented: Returning Home Ohio (RHO) and Community Transitions Program (CTP). Funding, target population, collaborative partnerships, referral process, service components, program management and most recent outcomes, including the low recidivism rate, for both programs will be presented.

FUSE, Frequent User System Engagement, is a CSH initiative for local communities to identify and work with frequent users of jail, healthcare, shelters and/or other crisis public services. It is a proven model that uses data across systems to identify and understand the frequent users and then improve their lives through supportive housing. The FUSE program serves as a catalyst for systems change and improved coordination. The FUSE initiative in Franklin County, Columbus will be highlighted as an example, focusing on identification, coordination with the jail, and the decrease in jail days that have been shown. Other FUSE programs across the country will also be mentioned.

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Centering Coaches and Players: How the Shift in Our Language Can Create a Coaching Connection- Brian Lovins, Ph.D.

Our system has been historically built on a referee model where staff are forced to take an us/them approach to the work.  This conversation will help us reimagine how we present and connect with the people that move through our system.  Using evidence informed practices, delivered in ways that improve the uptake of new skills, is an important component of the work we do.  Participants will learn new ways to engage people moving through our system to establish a coaching connection. 

Hoops and Hurdles: Examining “Failure to Appear” in Court and Why People Don’t Get to Court as Scheduled - 

Kevin Kuehmeier, Shannon Magnuson

Did you miss that doctor’s appointment? Or did you fail to appear? Does that second question hit differently? Historically, courts, researchers, and practitioners have used “failure to appear” -- both in language and in measure – without critically examining how much it overestimates someone’s unwillingness to come to court while underestimating how much systems play a part. Instead, courts rely on a menu of options, with limited evidence of how well they work, to ensure an individual comes to court as scheduled. Importantly, these strategies can exacerbate the collateral consequences of legal system involvement, increase disparate outcomes, and ultimately cost courts more money.

However, when we reframe “did you failure to appear?” into “did you get to court as scheduled?” we are able to ask more thoughtful questions about “why not?” In doing so, we can consider all the dynamic reasons people don’t show up to places as scheduled or on time and build more effective pretrial services to attend to these very relatable reasons.

This workshop will unpack how a jurisdiction analyzed disparities around those in jail for failing to appear in court.  The workshop will reveal “real” stories from individuals who struggled with navigating trying to get to court, explain a framework for understanding court absence, challenge how our system assesses failure to appear, and discuss innovative recommendations that will enhance equity by reducing or eliminating barriers that get in the way of individuals getting to court.

Why Staff Stay in Corrections: The Importance of a Stay Interview for Staff Retention - Jacob Sadon, Jodi Glitzenstein

It is important to understand why staff may be leaving your Agency, but it is equally if not more important to understand why staff are staying at your Agency. This is often an overlooked data set when studying staffing shortages. Far too often Agencies focus on recruitment while minimally addressing retention. This workshop will address the importance of a Stay Interview, the components and technical aspects of a Stay Interview, and our own experience and results completing an evidence-based Stay Interview at a corrections agency. We will share our successes and failures throughout the process as well as our moments of comic relief. This will be an engaging and interactive workshop that provides practical and implementable skills and processes for your Agency.

Lessons Learned During the National Institute of Corrections’ Project to Validate the Community Corrections Report Card (an RNR Based Agency Level Assessment Tool) - Brian Colgan, Melanie Lowenkamp

Agency level evaluations of practices in community corrections agencies are traditionally based on compliance with administrative standards and service delivery timelines. If you work in a county-based community corrections office, it is likely the state office that provides your funding also provides oversight. At some regular interval, your agency is assessed for compliance with the state-wide standards of practice. A report is then created identifying identified deficits and those results are reported to internal and external leadership. A likely agency response to the results of these reviews is the increased focus on the shortcomings that are identified. Additional resources are then directed to correcting the deficits related to the measured administrative standards. Unfortunately, evaluations focused on operational efficiencies, seldom examine comprehensive adherence to the Risk, Needs, Responsivity Model (RNR) both organizationally and at the point of service.

In this context, the “million-dollar question” is – do these common administrative evaluations identify areas an agency can address that will improve adherence to RNR so that mission critical outcomes are improved? The answer is typically no. Why does the examination of an agency’s adherence to RNR based principles matter? Bonta and Andrews in the Psychology of Criminal Conduct (sixth edition) provide a summary of over empirical 300 tests of the RNR model over the last four decades, in 3 types of contexts: a demonstration project, a project that is part demonstration and part real world/routine and Real World/Routine. Simply, as RNR adherence increases, mission critical outcomes improve, across all three contexts.

The focus of this workshop will be on how an agency can evaluate its own adherence to the RNR model. Dr. Ralph Serin, Dr. Cristopher Lowenkamp and Dr. Guy Bourgon collaborated to create an evaluation tool rooted in RNR model that is public domain and focused on measuring both organizational and service delivery practices as they relate to RNR.

We will review the process used during the 2022 National Institute of Corrections funded project to examine the usefulness of the Community Corrections Report Card by measuring RNR related practices at both the organizational level and at the point of service, in nine different agencies. We will discuss the activities associated with use of the tool as well as some of the general findings of the project.

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)

Addressing the Needs of People with Mental Illness Under Community Supervision - 

Andrea Murray-Lichtman, Dr. Rebecca Smith, Dr. Tonya Van Deinse

Estimates suggest that up to 1 million people on probation have a mental health condition, and approximately 55% of those with mental illnesses on probation have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Further, individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders often face additional challenges, including unemployment, unstable housing, and lower levels of treatment engagement. Given these complex and co-occurring needs, probation agencies need evidence-informed practices to support people on probation who have mental illness and substance use disorders and to help them remain stable in the community and complete the terms of their probation. This session will summarize the research on the prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders among justice-involved people and evaluate the evidence on specialized mental health probation approaches. In addition, the presenters will discuss an innovative implementation strategy, clinical case consultation, for enhancing probation officers’ capacity for addressing the needs of people on probation. The session will conclude with a discussion about how this strategy and other mental health probation approaches can be used to promote responsivity. 

*This workshop is eligible for 1.5 Changing Offender Behavior Credits (COBs)

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