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Enhanced Sentencing Authority
Enhanced Sentencing in Tribal Courts: Lessons Learned from Tribes

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, in partnership with the American Probation and Parole Association, the National Tribal Judicial Center, and the Tribal Judicial Institute, announces the release of “Enhanced Sentencing in Tribal Courts: Lessons Learned From Tribes.” This publication provides a brief overview, not a comprehensive review, of the changes under the Tribal Law & Order Act (TLOA) of 2010 (Public Law 111–211, H.R. 725, 124 Stat. 2258, enacted July 29, 2010) regarding enhanced sentencing authority, offers considerations for correctional/detention and community corrections programming related to enhanced sentences, and provides tribes with a checklist to help guide discussions around implementation of enhanced sentencing authority. Additionally, this publication explores the adoption of TLOA’s enhanced sentencing authority through interviews with several tribal court judges and personnel who have been intricately involved in establishing the provisions required to convey enhanced sentences. Finally, this publication provides information on financial resources to fund enhanced sentencing authority implementation.

Intersecting Laws: The Tribal Law and Order Act and the Indian Civil Rights Act

The American Probation and Parole Association, in partnership with the Tribal Judicial Institute at the University of North Dakota School of Law and with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, is pleased to announce the release of its publication, Intersecting Laws: The Tribal Law and Order Act and the Indian Civil Rights Act. This publication explains the expanded sentencing rights of Indian tribes under the Tribal Law and Order Act and how those rights must be exercised consistent with the rights of criminal defendants protected by the Indian Civil Rights Act. In addition, Intersecting Laws explains a number of challenges that tribes should consider when imposing enhanced sentencing on criminal defendants, as well as offers solutions to overcome the challenges.

Tribal Law and Order Act: Enhanced Sentencing Authority: Tribal Code Development Considerations & Quick Reference Overview & Checklist

This publication provides background information on how the Tribal Law & Order Act of 2010 amended the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1978 as well as a quick-reference checklist to aide jurisdictions as they initiate discussions around or begin planning for implementation of this new authority. Within this publication are two functional tools jurisdictions can use to guide discussions and/or implementation processes:

Quick-reference overview of statutory & due process requirements. This Overview is provided to assist tribal teams, committees or individuals by highlighting the primary statutory requirements of the TLOA. The Overview can be used as a guide to assess tribal readiness and to provide tribes with necessary statutory references pertinent to enhanced sentencing provision of TLOA.

Quick-reference checklist for tribal code review, amendment & development. This Checklist is provided to assist tribal teams, committees or individuals by providing a list of the primary code considerations that must be considered and/or incorporated prior to the tribe imposing enhanced sentences. The Checklist can be used as a guide during the tribal code review, amendment and development process.

The Delivery of Pretrial Justice in Rural Areas: A Guide for Rural County Officials

This is a guide for implementing pretrial justice practices in rural jurisdictions, and should be of assistance to the many tribes that are located in rural areas. It presents information on how to effectively implement pretrial justice in jurisdictions where the volume of cases is small and the available resources limited. It also includes recommendations for establishing or enhancing pretrial justice practices in rural jurisdictions.

Glossary of Terms

PJI has developed a new Glossary of Terms webpage. The page focuses on key terms and phrases relating to bail and the pretrial release or detention decision. We hope this will be a valuable tool for those working on improving pretrial justice across the country

A Guide for Developing Tribal Codes for Pretrial Release Decision Making

In making pretrial release decisions, tribal judges must be guided by the laws in place within their tribes. These laws, laid out in tribal codes, lay out the factors that judges are to consider in making a pretrial release decision, the release and detention options that are available to the judge, and the actions that may be taken against defendants who fail to comply with conditions. This document is a guide for tribal jurisdictions seeking to assure that comprehensive procedures are in place governing the pretrial release decision. It presents all the decisions and events that are part of the pretrial process, and cites numerous examples of existing tribal codes that address each of those decisions and events.

Pretrial Services Program Implementation: A Starter Kit

Pretrial services programs, which operate in hundreds of county and state jurisdictions, gather information about new arrestees, assess their risks of failing to appear in court and presenting a danger to the community while the case is pending trial, present recommendations regarding pretrial release to the judicial officer, and then supervise any conditions of release imposed by the judicial officer. This document walks through the steps in implementing such a program.

Promising Practices in Providing Pretrial Services Functions Within Probation Agencies: A Users Guide

Many pretrial services programs are located administratively within probation departments. Such an arrangement makes particular sense in smaller jurisdictions, including most tribes, where it would be very expensive – and inefficient – to set up separate programs for probation and pretrial. This document reviews the benefits of housing pretrial services within existing probation agencies, and presents strategies for successfully delivering pretrial services under the administration of probation.

Pretrial Risk Assessment 101: Science Provides Guidance on Managing Defendants

Pretrial services should be delivered in accordance with principles of evidence-based practices. One of the key areas where evidence-based practices should be employed in pretrial services is in assessing the risks that defendants pose to fail to appear in court when required or to present a danger to the community while out on pretrial release. This document provides a short overview of evidence-based pretrial risk assessments.

The State of Pretrial Release Decision-Making in Tribal Jurisdictions: Closing the Knowledge Gap

There are over 150 tribal jurisdictions that handle criminal cases. In each of these jurisdictions, tribal judges must make decisions regarding the pretrial release of defendants pending adjudication of their cases. This article examines what is known about pretrial release decision making in those jurisdictions. The article finds that there is a wide range of circumstances across the tribes in terms of the volume of cases coming through the courts and the resources available. It also addresses the questions that tribes should address when seeking to implement or enhance pretrial services.

A Desktop Guide for Tribal Probation Personnel

This guide is intended to provide tribal probation personnel with information on how the screening and assessment process can facilitate and promote offender accountability and long-term behavior change. This guidebook discusses the use of screening and assessment tools within the constructs of Risk-Need-Responsivity Model; the benefits of using screening and assessment tools; the challenges to using screening and assessment tools; and the factors to consider when choosing tools to use in your agency. Further, Appendix A of this guidebook provides tribal probation officers with an index of screening and assessment tools which were cataloged by the Reentry Policy Council. These tools are searchable by domains, or focus areas, including criminal thinking, employment & education, family relationships, financial status, housing, mental health, physical health, recidivism risk, and substance abuse. Appendix B provides screening and assessment tools for domestic violence.

Addressing Responsivity Issues with Criminal Justice-Involved Native Americans

The purpose of this article is to increase the level of understanding of correctional professionals about how the responsivity issues of Native American (NA) individuals can be effectively addressed. NA offenders are involved in criminal and juvenile justice systems handled by tribal, county, state, and federal agencies. As a result, there are several levels of justice practitioners, administrators, and policy makers that come into contact with NA supervisees at various stages of the criminal or juvenile justice system. This article focuses on how probation and parole officers (PPOs) are addressing responsivity factors of NA youth or adults on their caseloads throughout the supervision process. There are few NA-specific studies on responsivity; therefore, this article will discuss what is needed to expand knowledge in this area along with selected findings from a survey conducted by the American Probation & Parole Association (APPA) and the American Indian Development Associates, LLC (AIDA), of PPOs working with NA supervisees throughout the country. Recommendations to improve research, practice, and policy are also included.

Elder Panels: An Alternative to Incarceration for Tribal Members

The Tribal Justice Plan reflects the desires expressed by many tribal nations to keep their people out of correctional facilities—if they can safely be supervised in the community. To realize this, communities are looking for alternatives to incarceration that meet the goals of community supervision of holding individuals accountable while also providing them the tools they need to change their behavior.

In many tribal communities, elders serve their tribes as traditional healers, spiritual guiders, and council members. In a growing number of tribal communities, elders are also being asked to serve within tribal justice systems to assist tribal members in making reparations to victims and/or the community as a result of criminal/delinquent behavior. This bulletin will provide a brief overview of the various ways elders can be used within the justice system and provide guidance on important things to consider if your community is interested in developing a formal elder panel or is interested in utilizing elders informally in your community.

Expert Working Group Report: Native American Traditional Justice Practices

This document summarizes findings from a focus group convened by the American Probation & Parole Association, with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, comprised of three jurisdictional teams of federal, state, and tribal probation officers to identify effective and collaborative information and resource sharing strategies among tribal, state and federal jurisdictions. The focus participants identified challenges they have encountered in their quest to collaborate in these areas as well as identified solutions to the challenges to implement in their communities.

Going Beyond Compliance Monitoring of Drug/Alcohol-Involved Tribal Probationers

This guidance document provides tribal probation personnel with information on working more effectively with drug/alcohol involved tribal members placed on community supervision. It details the important difference between compliance and behavior change and moving beyond just monitoring of court-ordered conditions to using assessment tools to develop case plans designed to motivate and sustain longer-term behavior change.

Implementing the Family Support Approach for Community Supervision

Families and social networks are powerful influences in the lives of individuals under supervision and when their influence is activated appropriately and effectively their support can be leveraged to help individuals under supervision achieve their supervision goals. Helping individuals under supervision identify and tap social networks of support in a strength-based and solution-focused approach can be relatively easy. Family Justice and the American Probation and Parole Association, with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) have developed Implementing the Family Support Approach for Community Supervision to provide community corrections agencies and practitioners an overview of the Family Support Approach for Community Supervision and to describe primary tools and techniques that can be utilized throughout the supervision process—from an individual supervision officer perspective and from an agency perspective—to put the concepts of the approach into everyday practice. Readers will learn how concepts and practices discussed within the Family Support Approach for Community Supervision are not to be viewed as a new or replacement program, but, rather should be viewed as a relatively easy enhancement of a skill set that can complement current practices.

Improving the Administration of Justice in Tribal Communities Through Information Sharing & Resource Sharing

This report provides an overview of the EWG’s discussions and recommendations. ATJ and TJS were pleased to create an opportunity for the Federal government to learn about these important practices and advance recommendations that can support the use of traditional justice throughout the country.

Practical Action Tips on Officer Safety for Tribal Probation Personnel

The community supervision of court-involved individuals in Indian Country provides many challenges. One challenge officer’s face is a lack of access to the necessary equipment to remain safe both in the office and in the field. However, it is not just ballistic vests, electronic control devises, and guns that will keep them safe. There are things officers can do to be proactive in maintaining their personal safety when faced with potentially threatening situations because, the reality is, some individuals placed on community supervision have the potential to pose a threat to their safety. This bulletin will provide tribal probation officers with some practical action steps they can take to make sure they are safe both in the office and out in the field.

Risk-Need-Responsivity: Turning Principle into Practice for Tribal Probation Personnel

This bulletin will provide a brief introduction to the risk, need, and responsivity principles espoused in the evidenced-based principles for community supervision. Further, guidance will be provided on how tribal probation officers can incorporate the premise behind each principle into everyday practice.

Tribal Probation: An Overview for Tribal Court Judges

The use of probation in tribal jurisdictions is a growing trend, as the community supervision of offenders has become a desirable alternative to address the problems of jail overcrowding, monitor conditions of supervision, enforce interventions to hold offenders accountable, address offenders’ substance abuse issues, help change offenders’ behavior, and protect the public. Tribal court judges have the capacity to initiate, develop, and grow a successful community supervision/probation program. This article is designed to provide tribal court judges with a general understanding of community supervision and how it can benefit tribal justice systems.

Re-Discovering the Benefits of Community Supervision in Indian Country: Perspectives

This article developed for APPA’s professional journal Perspectives provides an overview of how community supervision is beneficial in tribal communities and explores ways tribal justice system partners can support community supervision programs as a vital part of their system.

A Tribal Probation Officer’s Guide to Working with Victims

The work of tribal probation officers (TPOs) is essential in promoting individual and community safety. Victims and survivors are members of the tribal community whose lives are often irrevocably harmed and changed by crime. While victims are not the primary client for TPOs, they are in a unique position to provide them with critical information and link them with services. This bulletin is designed to provide TPOs with a brief overview of victims’ rights, tips to help coordinate and improve the delivery of victim services, and information about the varied services available to victims of crime.

Using Family Mapping Tools to Enhance Outcomes for Tribal Members Under Community Supervision

The role that families play in the lives of tribal members on community supervision—both positive and negative—is important to understand. This fact sheet provides an overview of two mapping tools—genograms and ecomaps—that help people visualize the strengths and resources within families and the connections families have to their community. It also provides ideas for how tribal probation officers can incorporate these simple tools into their work.