Local, regional, and tribal programs involving drugs, juvenile rehabilitation, and courts were among the winners of the annual awards given this year by the National Criminal Justice Association. The honors were announced this week in Chicago at the organization’s National Forum on Criminal Justice. The Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative won the award from the West Region. The project, under way in three pilot counties, deals with misuse of prescription medication. The New Mexico Tribal-State Judicial Consortium was the winner in the tribal nations category. It woks on improving efforts against domestic violence and other legal issues.
The Midwest Region award was won by the La Crosse County, WI, Chemical Health and Justice Sanctions program, which is aimed at finding smarter, cost-effective ways to reduce the jail population. The county cut the number of jail inmates from 297 to 194 between 2001 and 2012. Operation Drawbridge won the South Region award for placing small remote cameras along the 1,200-mile Texas Mexico border to help apprehend drug smugglers and human traffickers. The Northeast Region award was won by DC YouthLink, which helps rehabilitate juvenile offenders in Washington, D.C. The program has reduced recidivism and connected youth to jobs, education, and treatment.