Maryland's Violence Prevention Initiative Honored By National Criminal Justice Association

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Towson, MD (August 3, 2010)---The Maryland Division of Parole and Probation (DPP) was honored today by the National Criminal Justice Association for the success of the state’s Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI). VPI was recognized with the Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the Northeast Region at the association’s summer conference in Fort Myers, Florida.

VPI, initiated by Governor O’Malley and with support from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, targets repeat violent offenders and those who have violated the terms of their community supervision. It has resulted in specially trained Parole and Probation agents taking more offenders off the streets and returning them to prison.

Starting in 2007, DPP used a data-driven risk assessment tool to identify those offenders with a high propensity for committing future violent crimes. Through improved relationships with local police, intelligence gathering and data sharing, DPP began proactively supervising this violent sub-set of offenders, more effectively allocating its resources to this critical area.

Through the VPI, DPP is getting more violation warrants issued by MD courts and the Maryland Parole Commission. In the last two fiscal years, more than 3,000 warrants have been issued, resulting in 1,363 of Maryland’s most violent offenders having their parole or probation revoked.

The Maryland Division of Parole and Probation has been a key player in the O’Malley Administration’s focus on reducing violent crime. Agents now work alongside police officers in WatchCenters in three of the largest and most crime-plagued jurisdictions – Baltimore City, County and Prince George’s County; DPP has developed cross-border information-sharing agreements with D.C., New York State, and Virginia; and the agency has used grants to purchase technology which dramatically improves the identification process for those under supervision.

During the O’Malley-Brown administration, Maryland’s cross-border partnerships and programs aimed at repeat violent offenders (such as those under supervision) continue to expand, and are contributing to significant reductions in violent crime. According to 2009 year-end crime data compiled by the Maryland State Police and submitted to the FBI for use in the national crime statistics report, Maryland’s violent crime rate is at its lowest level since modern crime-tracking began in 1975.

Similarly, total crime declined to its lowest level since 1975, as have homicides, dropping 12 percent since 2008, with 57 fewer people murdered last year in Maryland than the year before.

“We’re proud of our agents’ contribution to this vital public safety effort,” said DPP Director Patrick McGee, who accepted the National Criminal Justice Association honor at noon today. “We have relentlessly pursued these violent offenders and will continue to work hard to take them off the streets.”

Based in Washington, D.C., the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) represents state, tribal and local governments on crime prevention and crime control issues. Its members represent all facets of the criminal and juvenile justice community, from law enforcement, corrections, prosecution, defense, courts, victim-witness services and educational institutions to federal, state and local elected officials.

The NCJA is a national voice in shaping and implementing criminal justice policy since its founding in 1971, working to promote a balanced approach to communities' complex public safety and criminal and juvenile justice system problems. The NCJA recognizes the importance of interrelationships among criminal and juvenile justice agencies working together, and the strong, steady advocacy necessary to achieve comprehensive planning and policy coordination goals.