Association of Paroling Authorities International 936-294-1706   koonce@apaintl.org

APAI Resolutions

A resolution is a formal statement regarding a course of action on a matter or issue related to and in support of the mission, goals and strategies of APAI. Resolutions are reviewed by the Executive Committee and adopted by a vote of that committee.

Resolutions

Resolution on Responses to Individuals with Mental Illness

WHEREAS, people with mental illness often come into conflict with the law as a direct result of the challenges created by their mental illness, and

WHEREAS, the criminal justice system has become the primary service provider for offenders with mental illness but is ill equipped to meet the needs of this population, and

WHEREAS, crimes committed by people with mental illness are often non-violent and criminal justice professionals agree that offenders with mental illness are often not best served by incarceration, and

WHEREAS, people with mental illness who commit crimes are in need of mental health services but often have been unable to get effective mental health services prior to and during their involvement with the criminal justice system, and

WHEREAS, court officials struggle to respond appropriately to defendants with mental illness who often cycle through the courts, prisons and jails repeatedly and the care of persons with mental illness in prisons and jails exacerbates the overcrowding and cost of operating correctional facilities; and

WHEREAS, the lack of appropriate resources in prisons and jails to provide screening and treatment for the person with mental illness often lengthens the incarceration time of the offender with mental illness, and

WHEREAS, the members of the Association of Paroling Authorities International are in a unique position to influence policy makers to improve the response of the criminal justice system to the needs of people with mental illness who come in conflict with the law,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Association of Paroling Authorities International encourage government officials to develop and promote policies and legislation that accomplish the following goals:

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Association of Paroling Authorities International recommends that the United States Congress, officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and equivalent departments in other governments represented by the membership of the APAI, work internationally to better meet the needs of people with mental illness who come in conflict with the law to accomplish the following:

Adopted April 30, 2008

Resolution on Truth in Sentencing

WHEREAS, greater credibility with the public and more predictability of sentences imposed and other community sanctions are goals of both the "truth-in-sentencing" advocates and parole boards; and

WHEREAS, "truth-in-sentencing" should be perceived as the method by which a criminal sentence is defined rather than as a form of sentencing; and

WHEREAS, in order to ensure that "truth-in-sentencing" has the same meaning to all who advocate its use, it must be properly defined and explained; and

WHEREAS, in order for the public to know the "truth" about a sentence, it should provide for a period of expected community sanctions and/or incarceration plus a period of time that Carl be adjusted according to the offender's performance in prison, thus providing for incentives and consequences which reflect adjustments for risk to the public safety. There also can be a period of time during which the offender is supervised in the community in order that the offender can mare likely be reintegrated or returned to prison if there is a danger to public safety; and

WHEREAS, the parole board or other similar releasing authority is the visible, accountable and independent decision-making body that is necessary to ensure implementation of the sentence in a way which maximizes public safety; and

WHEREAS, all such sentences are a limitation of freedom or other form of correctional control and thus must be defined as encompassing simple incarceration as well as split incarceration, community corrections, post-release supervision and/or any other sanctions that may be imposed; and

WHEREAS, in order to be truthful regarding any sentence, the terms of the sentence must be understandable, the public must be able to comprehend the sentence as it relates to the original crime, and any activity which goes with the sentence, such as incentives or consequences that shorten or lengthen the sentence, must be clearly stated and open for public accountability; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the concept of "truth-in-sentencing" is supported by the Association of Paroling Authorities, International, provided it is properly defined as outlined in this resolution.

Adopted April 30, 2008

Resolution in Support of Reentry

WHEREAS, the membership of the Association of Paroling Authorities International is committed to protection of the public in carrying out statutory release practices and community field supervision;

WHEREAS, the membership strives to employ quality release practices to identify those offenders who are likely to succeed in the community recognizing that some offenders present a continuing risk to the public and may not be successfully reintegrated into the community before the termination of their sentences;

WHEREAS, the membership is committed to effective community supervision by promoting public safety, assessing the risk and needs of the offender, holding them accountable to the conditions of release, while including offenders' families in the planning, and maintaining sensitivity to victims and their families.

WHEREAS, the membership works to reduce the recidivism in our community by promoting successful reintegration of the offender; and,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Paroling Authorities urges Parole Boards and other releasing authorities to be included as a critical partner in the reentry process, collaborating with the corrections system, policy makers, and practitioners to develop consistent policies to guide reentry; and,

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the membership and other entities, such as those in a policy making or funding role (legislative, federal funding agencies, etc.), support the development of comprehensive reentry practices.

Adopted September 30, 2015

Resolution on Substance Abuse

WHEREAS, the membership of the Association of Paroling Authorities, International, recognizes that overwhelming evidence exists linking illegal drug use and alcohol abuse to criminal activity; and

WHEREAS, the Association has acknowledged that the substance-involved offender must learn to identify and correct problematic behavior and develop self-control over their addiction in order that the number of crimes they commit may be reduced; and

WHEREAS, it is recognized by drug and alcohol experts and criminal justice practitioners that chemical dependencytreatment provided to offenders must be evidence-based, measurable and have definable outcomes related to practical realities (recidivism, and victim satisfaction); and

WHEREAS, it is further recognized that treatment serves as a major vehicle for breaking the cycle of addiction and crime for the substance-involved offender and that substance abuse recovery is a difficult process requiring a wide range of sanctions, case management strategies and supervision, pro-social structure and services; and

WHEREAS, paroling authorities are positioned to requiretreatment and encourage use of relapse prevention strategies for the substance-involved offender through appropriate release and violation decision-making;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that paroling authorities promote the development of on-going support in natural communities, to serve as a tool to positively reinforce desired new behaviors in the substance-involved offender.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that paroling authorities support both the incorporation of substance abuse treatment in criminal sanctions and the effective use of the progressive sanction process, in an effort to facilitate treatment of the substance-involved offender as a risk-reduction and rehabilitative measure.

Adopted April 30, 2008

Resolution on Family Based Reentry

WHEREAS, the membership of the Association of Paroling Authorities Internationalbelieves that more emphasis should be placed on Family-Based Reentry Plans upon an offender’s return to society, because studies have shown that a strong family support system will lessen the chance of re-offending for some offenders; and

WHEREAS, recent studies have shown that, approximately, 600,000 individuals are incarcerated each year, while more than 585,000 are released back into society; and

WHEREAS, the Urban Institute conducted a study in Chicago that reported 71% of former prisoners that were interviewed cited family support as important in helping them to avoid going back to prison. Indicative of that support, of those interviewed four months after leaving prison, 88% were living with family and 59% were receiving financial assistance from a spouse, other family member, or friend; and,

WHEREAS, the study reveals in the contrary that negative family relationships, or their absence, pose risks for released offenders attempting to navigate the many challenges of reentry. This study is an in-depth look at how former convicts adjust after prison and what types of assistance can insulate them from re-offending and, thus, reduce recidivism rates; and,

WHEREAS, studies have shown that to facilitate lasting change in the lives of some offenders, a Family-Based intervention system is necessary for successful transition; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association of Paroling Authorities International supports reentry planning that provides for family-Based intervention programs shown to improve the quality of life for offenders upon their release from prison, thereby reducing recidivism for this offender population.

Adopted April 30, 2008

Resolution on Community Corrections

WHEREAS, the membership of the Association of Paroling Authorities International, recognizes that alternatives to incarceration facilitate both public safety and rehabilitative interests; and

WHEREAS, parole is a form of community corrections, as an alternative to continued incarceration; and

WHEREAS, paroling authorities have a unique opportunity to identify, at the release and violation decision-making points, those offenders who pose a minimal risk to community safety and for whom community resources would have a positive impact; and

WHEREAS, prison programs and facilities are costly with limited resources to initiate and effect offender rehabilitation; and

WHEREAS, parole supervision is an economical correctional alternative with expanded resources capable of completing the offender rehabilitative process; and

WHEREAS, the most effective sanction, after taking into account all available evidence concerning the potential benefits and costs to the offender, the offender’s family and society, can be community programming and supervision;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that paroling authorities, in decision making, promote the use of parole as an alternative to continued incarceration for appropriate offenders as a means to facilitate both public safety and rehabilitative interests; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that paroling authorities support both the utilization of effective restrictive sanctions, programs and facilities consistent with public and individual safety and maintenance of social order.

Adopted April 30, 2008

Resolution on Crime Victims' Rights

WHEREAS, the membership of the Association of Paroling Authorities International recognizes that there are millions of individuals worldwide who become victims of property and violent crime each year, and

WHEREAS, crime has a physical, psychological, and financial impact on entire communities, families, and the individual victims; and

WHEREAS, victim participation in the criminal justice process from the earliest possible stages of the system (arrest, prosecution and sentencing) through the release decision-making process is essential; and

WHEREAS, victims must be notified at the earliest stages of the criminal justice process of their right to participate and be heard, verbally and in writing, during all critical stages of the system, to include sentencing and the release decision-making process; and

WHEREAS, a victim’s right to participate is diminished unless honored and encouraged; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, and releasing authorities are in the best positions to ensure victims are made aware of these rights, and to ensure victims who desire to participate in the process are given such an opportunity; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, and releasing or paroling authorities must make every effort to ensure crime victims have a role in the sentencing process and release decision-making process, while simultaneously balancing the constitutional and statutory rights of offenders; and

WHEREAS, by working together we can help victims’ voices be heard and ensure victims receive the support they need and respect they deserve; and

WHEREAS, the Association of Paroling Authorities International recognizes that by serving victims of crime and ensuring justice for all, we, through our evidence-based and informed decision making practices, enhance public safety by creating safer homes, neighborhoods, and communities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association of Paroling Authorities International urges prosecutors, judges, and releasing authorities to make every effort to ensure victims have a meaningful role in the criminal justice process, from the earliest stages of the criminal justice system, to include the investigation, arrest, prosecution and sentencing, and the post-conviction process, by way of notification, providing relevant information in a timely manner, and allowing meaningful participation; and to ensure victims of crime are treated with dignity, respect and compassion in all interactions with prosecutors, judges, and releasing or paroling authorities.

Adopted September 30, 2015

Resolution on Restoring Voting Rights

WHEREAS, several jurisdictions continue to disenfranchise people with felony convictions who are out of prison and living in the community, and

WHEREAS, the membership of the Association of Paroling Authorities International recognizes that continuing to disenfranchise individuals after conviction or release from prison is inconsistent with criminal justice policy and violates core principles of democracy and equality; and

WHEREAS, the Association acknowledges that it must seek new and effective ways to foster reintegration back into the community and prevent a return to criminal ways; and

WHEREAS, the Association believes that bringing people into the political process makes them stakeholders in the community and helps facilitate pro social behavior; and

WHEREAS, the Association recognizes that restoring voting rights helps rebuild families and empower communities; and

WHEREAS, the Association believes that restoring voting rights to people who have been released from prison and are living in the community is good criminal justice policy; and

WHEREAS, the Association recognizes there are differing sentence structures within jurisdictions, thus the timing of voting rights restoration will be different among jurisdictions;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association of Paroling Authorities International supports the restoration of voting rights for offenders reentering the community and encourages the participation of paroling authorities in the passage and implementation of laws that engage former offenders in the civic discourse.

Adopted April 30, 2008

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