Lycoming County CJAB receives criminal justice best practice award

 Lycoming County CJAB Chair President Judge Nancy L. Butts speaking to the audience on behalf of the Lycoming County CJAB. Pictured behind President Judge Butts left to right include Jeffrey Snyder, CCAP First Vice President and Clinton County Commissioner; Jennifer McConnell, Director of Court Services and Facilitator of the Lycoming County CJAB; Ed Robbins, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer and Chair of the Lycoming County CJAB Youth At-Risk Subcommittee; John Stahl, Deputy Chief Officer of the Adult Probation Office and Chair of the Lycoming County CJAB Reentry Services Center Subcommittee; Shea Madden, Executive Director of the West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission and Co-chair of the Lycoming County CJAB’s Substance Abuse Coalition; Keith Wagner, Executive Director, Lycoming-Clinton Joinder Board/Administrator, Lycoming-Clinton MHID Programs and Co-chair of the Lycoming County CJAB Mental Health Subcommittee; Chris Ebner, Deputy Warden of Inmate Services and Co-chair of the Lycoming County CJAB Mental Health Subcommittee; and Taylor Paulhamus, Court Clerk and Chair of the Lycoming County CJAB Elder Law Task Force Subcommittee.

WILLIAMSPORT -- The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) and Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) recently bestowed a 2019 Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century Best Practices Awards to Lycoming County. 

Under the 2019 Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century Best Practices Awards program, the Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) Best Practices Award was presented to the Lycoming County Criminal Justice Advisory Board during PCCD’s annual CJAB Conference on April 9, 2019, at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College. 

The Commonwealth’s CJAB Regional Specialists submitted nominations based on their interaction with county CJABs in their application of best practices with Lycoming County carefully chosen to receive this year’s state-wide award.  

The Lycoming County CJAB is chaired by President Judge Nancy L. Butts. 

Over the past few years the Lycoming County CJAB has accomplished many goals including: providing mental health first aid training to court staff, law enforcement professionals, and prison staff; implementing a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT); hiring a CIT Coordinator that serves both Lycoming and Clinton counties; establishing the Lycoming County Reentry Services Center; creating the Youth Enrichment for Success (YES) program with STEP, Inc.; working with Williamsport Area School District to employ Aggression Replacement Training; creating the Lycoming County Reentry Coalition in cooperation with a five-year strategic plan; supporting the creation of a jail-to-treatment program; working with the PA Opioid Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center and forming the Lycoming County Substance Abuse Coalition; supporting the application of the Supportive Housing and

Master Leasing programs; helping to provide naloxone kits to local law enforcement; assisting with the Canine in the Courts program; working collaboratively to reduce the number of people with mental illness in the Lycoming County Prison; as well as many others. 

The Lycoming County CJAB, established in September 2002, is a local criminal justice planning group that includes county stakeholders who work with state agencies, recommend best management practices, and promote communication throughout systems. Membership is diverse, including representatives from the Courts, corrections, law enforcement, government offices, community-based organizations, executive branch of county government, health and human service agencies, and victims’ services agencies.

The mission of the Lycoming County CJAB is to improve the safety of the citizens by providing a forum for communication regarding critical issues and concerns and to foster a collaborative effort of key decision makers by evaluating, analyzing, planning and recommending action that facilitates the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall system.

Yearly, the Lycoming County CJAB conducts a review and update of its strategic plan assuring the most significant, critical and helpful priorities are being addressed. The CJAB’s process is comprehensive by engaging all members, incorporating across-the-board input. 

For 2019, the CJAB will work together to focus on the following priorities: mental illness; substance-related disorders; prison reentrants; youth at-risk; and elderly at-risk. 

According to CCAP’s website, the awards program is conducted by the Committee on County Criminal Justice Systems for the 21st Century and is sponsored by CCAP, Pennsylvania County Corrections Association along with the Pennsylvania Prison Wardens Association, CCAP Insurance Programs and Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs. The goal of the awards program is to recognize and acknowledge actual practices known to be in existence in Pennsylvania.