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The Office of Offender Diversion and Sentencing Solutions (OODSS) promotes the use of scientific evidence in designing and evaluating sentencing policies and practices for pre-booking and post-booking diversion programs, pre-sentence and post-conviction proceedings, and offender reentry programs for adult and juvenile offenders. The OODSS carries out this mission by engaging in research-practice collaborations with community partners, evaluations of Arizona criminal and juvenile justice policies and interventions, and the development of innovative educational and training materials for social workers and other criminal justice professionals with an interest in reforming the treatment of offenders in the adult and juvenile justice systems.
The OODSS also provides an on-line graduate certificate in criminal sentencing and sentencing advocacy taught by faculty from the School of Social Work and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University. This program prepares individuals with degrees in social work, criminal justice, and counseling for evidence-based practice as sentencing professionals. This graduate-certificate program exposes students to research and practice skills as presentence investigators, mitigation specialists, and victim service specialists.
The OODSS is currently involved in a research-practice partnership with the Arizona Justice Project. The Arizona Justice Project helps inmates in prisons overturn wrongful convictions and unjust or disproportionate sentences in the state of Arizona.
OODSS is assisting AJP in performing a comprehensive study of clemency and parole boards across the county and a study profiling juveniles serving life sentences in Arizona. OODSS is also partnering with the project in providing interdisciplinary training between law students from the Sandra Day O’ Connor College of Law’s Post-Conviction Clinic and graduate-students from the School of Social Work. The students participating in this interdisciplinary training unit learn how to implement holistic principles of indigent defense and how to develop evidence-supported release plans for presentation at parole hearings for juveniles serving life sentences. The social work students also learn how to develop community supports for offenders reentering the community after long prison sentences.
OODSS has established a research-practice partnership with the City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office to evaluate its domestic violence and misdemeanor assaultive offender diversion programs. It is also involved in the design of an empirically supported set of guidelines for exercising discretion in the prosecution of domestic violence cases. OODSS is also exploring the establishment of a training unit for social workers with interests in forensic assessment and treatment within the City Court that will provide assessment, screening, and treatment services in partnership with other agencies serving offenders processed by the Phoenix City Court.
OODSS is evaluating the effectiveness of a community-support service intervention to prevent recidivism and prevent transitions to adult crime for high-risk youth on juvenile probation. This collaboration is with the Maricopa County Department of Human Services and the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department. OODSS is in the final phases of this project. It is in the process of completing a three-year criminal follow-up of a treatment and a comparison group of high-risk juvenile offenders in Maricopa County Arizona.
Leadership and Advisory Board Members
Director: José B. Ashford, Ph.D., LCSW
Aaron J. Carreon-Ainsa, J.D, Retired Phoenix City Prosecutor, Phoenix, Arizona
William Gonzalez, Trial Bureau Chief, City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office, Phoenix, Arizona
Tina Maschi, Associate Professor, Fordham University, New York
Kenneth Murry, Retired Federal Assistant Public Defender, Phoenix, Arizona
Katherine Puzauskas, Supervising Legal Clinic Attorney, Post-Conviction Clinic, Sandra Day O’ Connor, College of Law, Phoenix, Arizona
Bruce D. Sales, Virginia L Roberts Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Indiana Bloomington
Luigi Maria Solivetti, Professor, University of Rome, La Sapienza
Shawneé Rae Ziegler, Operations Manager Arizona Justice Project, Phoenix, Arizona