Peer Specialist Support Training Opportunity

Promise Resource Network is offering an intense, 40-hour training, for Peer Support Specialist Certification from March 6 through March, 10. The professional development course includes coursework, homework, class exercises and sharing recovery stories.

Peer Support Specialists are people who provide support as mentors to others in recovery by using their own recovery story as motivation and guidance. The sense of being on the journey with the person in recovery is central to the success of the Peer Support system.

You can learn more about the qualifications and registration for this training.

Attorney General Sessions Issues Memo Reversing Ban on Private Prisons

Weeks into his new role, Attorney General Sessions has started  rolling back important positive steps in the criminal justice system put into place during the Obama Administration. In this case, Attorney General Sessions issued a memo rescinding the 6 month old Obama directive to end the use of privately run prisons.

According to the New York Post, AG Sessions believes that the Bureau of Prisons needs to use private prisons to meet the future needs of the federal corrections system.  While this reversal is disappointing, it is not entirely unexpected.  It is imperative that those who care about positive criminal justice reform take a stand against policies that move the nation backwards.

Read more on this policy reversal.

Mental Health and Criminal Justice Collaboration Grant – Update

As we reported in our last update, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for funding for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The purpose of this grant is to help communities create and continue cross-system collaborations for people with mental health issues that may become justice involved. To promote the grant, a series of webinars were presented to help grant seekers understand the process.

Units of local government are eligible to apply for this grant. To be considered for the grant the application must demonstrate that the proposed project involves collaboration between criminal justice and mental health agencies. The deadline for submission for this grant is April 4, 2017. The application can be accessed online.

You can also view a recorded webinar on the grant project and application process.

National Alliance on Mental Illness NC 2017 CIT Conference

Last week, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) held its annual CIT Conference. The conference was designed for law enforcement officers, jail administrators, court personnel, emergency responders, social workers, counselors, and mental health advocates. During the conference attendees heard from criminal justice professionals about how to effectively and humanely deal with the growing number of criminal justice involved people with mental health issues.

A highlight of the conference was a lecture by Risdon Slate, Ph.D., Criminology Professor. He bravely shared how his personal battle with mental illness caused him to be involved with the criminal justice system. As a criminal justice professional who has personally experienced being mentally ill and justice involved, his perspective was powerful and enlightening.

During an award luncheon at the conference, the following people were recognized for their outstanding work with CIT:

CIT Officer of the Year CIT Champion of the Year
Officer Darrell Meadows Suzanne Porter
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept.

CIT Volunteer of the Year Outstanding CIT Trainer of the Year
Keith Gibson Senior Sergeant Hardin Brown, Jr.
Cumberland County Sheriff Dept.

Outstanding Law Enforcement Executive of the Year
Sergeant Christopher Smith
New Hanover County Sheriff Department

Outstanding CIT Partnership
Lincoln County CIT Steering Committee

We encourage you to reach out to the municipalities the honorees represent to learn more about how CIT is making a difference in their communities and how you may be able to advocate for CIT training in your community.

Nancy Shakir: A Loss to the Advocacy Community

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Nancy Shakir, a friend to CJPC and a tireless activist for social justice in North Carolina, including educating citizens about the documented racial bias in North Carolina death penalty cases and the Racial Justice Act. Even as she struggled with her health, she NEVER stopped working to make North Carolina fair and just.

Nancy Shakir dedicated her life to serving others. When running for Congress in 2010, she shared that she was a retired educator who started her career in the classroom, but eventually served in administrative roles. The self-described activist wrote that she began her activism as a teen during the Civil Rights movement when she participated in demonstrations against Woolworth’s and other companies that did not hire people of color. She was a founding member and officer of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

Shakir wrote opinion editorials for the Fayetteville Observer where she served as a member of the Community Advisory Board. She volunteered with the Cumberland County Progressives, hosted a local Progressives cable show and volunteered as a reader for the blind and as a reading buddy in Fayetteville schools.

Right until the end of her life, Nancy Shaker gave all she could to create social change. On a personal note, Ms. Nancy was a warm, beautiful soul who we all should strive to emulate. At this critical time in American history, Ms. Nancy should serve as the prototype for what our activism to protect social and civil rights should look like. We were privileged to work alongside her and we promise to use her life as an example of who and what CJPC should be.

Re-entry Grants Awarded

In mid-January, the Department of Public Safety awarded Re-entry contracts to  four additional “Intermediate Agencies” areas of the state.   Five areas are currently funded.

The new areas and agencies are:

  • Leading into New Communities –  New Hanover
  • Durham County – Durham
  • Family Resource Center South Atlantic – Wake
  • Freedom Life Ministries –  McDowell

Agencies received $150,000 each to coordinate local re-entry councils and job development for the re-entry population.

We are delighted to see funding for Re-entry Council work move forward.  All funding is expected to be short term and agencies are expected to identify local funding.  We would like to see some state funds be allocated to this purpose  to insure the continuation of the Councils.