State of Nebraska
BOARD OF PAROLE
NOTE: Due to circumstances related to the solar eclipse, the Board of Parole will commence August 21, 2017 parole hearings at 8:30am and recess at 10:30am. The Board will resume parole hearings at 2:30pm.
The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) offers a program called Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD). It is provided through the Department’s Victim Services program. It is a victim-initiated program that allows the victim of a crime the opportunity to meet with the offender in their case to discuss the impact of the crime in a controlled environment, with trained facilitators to engage in a purposeful and meaningful conversation. Although victim-initiated, it also requires the offender to admit to the crime and be willing to speak with the victim. The program is victim-centered but can have positive effects on the offender as well. The program gives both the victim and the offender an opportunity to discuss the crime from each of their points of view. It lets the victim share with the offender how the crime has affected the victim and their family. It gives both the victim and the offender an opportunity to ask and answer questions about the crime often assisting in the healing process for both the victim and the offender. It is an emotional process for the victim, offender, and the trained facilitators. Trained facilitators are there for the entire process to help provide structure and assistance as needed. All facilitators undergo a lengthy training process and maintain their training and skills through annual training.
A victim who participated in VOD reached out to NDCS and Parole Administration in regard to her personal participation in the program to say that after going through VOD she felt that a huge burden was lifted from her. She continued stating that she is happy again and attributes that to the Victim Offender Dialogue program and the facilitators who worked with her on her VOD case. Specialized Parole Officer Andrea Wever was one of the VOD facilitators with Parole Administration and is a trained Victims Representative. She has been a Victim Services Representative for 10 years and a VOD facilitator for approximately 8 years. In talking about the program, Ms. Weaver reports that seeing the strength in the victim and seeing the changes in both the offender and victim is hugely impactful for all involved. She continued stating that being able to be a part of a program such as VOD that provides the opportunity to help victims and offenders in a meaningful way is amazing!
Members of the Nebraska Board of Parole and Division of Parole Supervision joined together on April 1, 2017, at Sunset Bowl in York, Nebraska, to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s bowling fundraiser. Over $10,000 was raised for the Foundation in Nebraska to fight Breast Cancer through this event.
Twenty-one Parole agency/board staff enjoyed the day bowling, supporting a worthy cause, having fun and interacting with each other and other volunteers. The staffs of the Nebraska Board of Parole and the Division of Parole Supervision encourage everyone to volunteer in their communities and across the state
Update on Parole Administration’s Transition to
Nebraska Board of Parole
July 1, 2017, marked the one year anniversary of the Division of Parole Supervision being placed under the Nebraska Board of Parole’s authority, Parole having historically been a program within the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. This change was a result of the passage of LB 598 in 2015 and is attributed to the work of many, including the Council of State Governments, the Legislature, and Criminal Justice stakeholders across the state. LB 605 was also passed in 2015 which paved the way for major changes in Parole. Another bill, LB 1094, was passed in 2016 which clarified some of the language in LB 605, in particular the provisions relating to custodial sanctions.
As part of the transition, the new Mission and Vision Statement for the agency are as follows:
It is the mission of the Nebraska Board of Parole and the Division of Parole Supervision to continue its research, understanding and implementation of evidence-based approaches as it pertains to the release of clients who have appropriately been prepared for community supervision. The Board and the Division of Parole Supervision are dedicated to maintaining public safety, reducing recidivism and addressing the need of victims, while integrating clients into society through a balance of best practice supervision and treatment strategies.
The Nebraska Board of Parole and Division of Parole Supervision are committed to serving and protecting the public. The Board will strive to make informed and appropriate parole decisions by giving due consideration to and utilizing the resources of the Division of Parole Supervision, including innovative case management, for the successful re-entry of clients back into the community to become productive and responsible citizens.
Significant strides have been made in implementing provisions contained in the legislation during the first year under the Board’s authority, including changes required due to the transition to a new agency. These include:
- Implementation of the Strong-R, a risk and needs assessment tool, for offenders paroled by the Board which assesses risk of reoffending and criminogenic needs as well as a Quality Assurance process to ensure fidelity to the instrument;
- Implementation of Payport, a website feature which allows clients to pay programming fees online—the Division also assumed accountability regarding collection of fees;
- Development of new and existing policies into Protocols;
- Implementation of EPICS (Effective Practices in Community Supervision), a case management model that is based on effective intervention and use of core correctional practices;
- New Drug Testing Service/Process;
- Incentive/Sanctions Matrix and implementation of Behavior Management System (BMS) to track—the agency is in the process of contracting with counties regarding custodial sanctions with a target date of August 1, 2017, for implementation;
- Streamlined processes relating to placement investigations and travel permits and elimination of certain reports in which information was documented elsewhere;
- Programmer for Parole Information Management System (PIMS) which has allowed us to make needed changes within the system and to focus on data driven case management;
- Reorganization of Parole to meet the needs of the new agency;
- Town Hall meetings across the state to address pay issues and Parole Officer structure;
- New office location for the Lincoln Regional Parole Office and Parole Administration staff in Heritage Square, 421 South 9th Street Ste. 220, Box 25, Lincoln, NE 68508;
- In process of adding additional services statewide and meeting with providers; and
- Nearing finalization of Memorandum of Understanding between the agency and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska to allow clients to parole there.
Development of the agency’s own training program, another provision of the legislation, has been a priority this past year, which includes preservice and inservice training for Parole staff. In addition to training that was conducted earlier this year on the EPICS model for case management, ongoing training is being provided on EPICS case management. There has also been training for Parole staff on Evidence-Based Practices in Community Supervision and Motivational Interviewing. The most recent training conducted for staff has been the new Behavior Management System to track response to non-compliance with conditions of supervision.
Parole staff successfully completed Certification Lean Six Sigma – White Belt, Governor Rickett’s Training Initiative. All State government employees were required to be White Belt certified by the first of the year. This training introduced State employees to this process improvement methodology. By the work that has been done and continues to be done, we are working toward a more effective, more efficient, more customer-focused way of doing business.
The transition from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services to the Board could not be accomplished without staff from both agencies working together and therefore appreciation is extended to everyone who has been and continues to be involved in this process. Although much has been accomplished this past year, there is still much to do. As Julie Micek, LIMHP, Director of the Division of Parole Supervision, shared some months ago in a presentation of the 2017 Strategic Plan, with change comes endless possibilities.
WESTERN OFFICER RECEIVES QUARTERLY EMPLOYEE AWARD
The State of Nebraska Craft Office Building in North Platte has selected Senior Parole Officer Christina Bivens as its Employee of the Quarter for 2017. Criteria used in selecting an employee include the professional and dedication demonstrated by the employee on a daily basis. Incentives for the selection include a personal parking spot identifying the employee as such. Recipients of the Quarterly Employee Award are nominated by their peers. Bivens has been a Senior Parole Officer for 4 years. Prior to that assignment, she was a Unit Caseworker at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York. During her 2 years at York, Bivens received a “Challenge” coin from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) for her efforts in helping to save an inmates life. She also received a “Team” award in 2012 for her participation in the Inclusion and Diversity Council for NDCS. Director of Parole Supervision and Services Julie Micek applauded the recognition expressing her gratitude for Bivens stating “these types of awards serve to let our employee’s know they are truly valued and appreciated.” Bivens and her husband of 18 years, Scott, reside in North Platte.
Victory Boxing Club Awards Night
Nebraska Board of Parole member Virgil Patlan, accompanied by several Omaha Parole Officers and a district supervisor, attended the Victory Boxing Club Awards Night event in Omaha. Victory Boxing Club and Community Center has been working with the youth of South Omaha for over 10 years in its commitment to provide a safe place for the youth of the community to pursue principles of faith, excellence, and discipline inside the ring and in their everyday lives. A silent auction, guest speakers, and the Mayor were all part of this event to benefit a great program for the youth of Omaha and to recognize the achievements of the youth involved in the program. Congressman Don Bacon was scheduled to make an appearance, but was unable to attend in person, so he appeared via video and made a great speech to honor the award recipients.