Efforts to reduce murders in New Orleans and keep offenders out of Illinois prisons and suspects out of New York City jails were among winners of awards given Tuesday by the National Criminal Justice Association. NOLA FOR LIFE, which was set up in 2012 as a public health approach to fight violence in New Orleans, got an outstanding criminal justice program award at the National Forum on Criminal Justice in Atlanta. The program was credited with helping reduce New Orleans’ murder count to a modern low last year. Another award went to Adult Redeploy Illinois, which provides incentives to counties for reducing the number of non-violent offenders sent to state prisons. A winner in New York was the Bronx Freedom Fund, which helps poor defendants pay bail.
An honor for the association’s western region was given to the Williamson County, Texas, Sheriff’s Crisis Intervention Team for diverting mentally ill people from hospital emergency rooms and the criminal justice system when possible. A team of mental health workers and police officers uses de-escalation tactics instead of force, helping 4,444 people over a decade and saving more than $10 million. An award for tribal nations went to the Turtle Mountain Sex Offender Registry Program, which insures that all tribes in North Dakota properly register sex offenders under federal law. The Justice Research and Statistics Association gave two awards to its crime statistical analysis center in Colorado and one each to similar agencies in Maine and New Mexico for high-quality reports and analyses. The centers are established to compile and analyze crime and justice statistics in each state.