2017 TASC Leadership Award Honorees Announced

(Chicago) – Howard A. Peters III and Jessica Hulsey Nickel, longtime advocates in the fields of criminal justice and healthcare policy, will accept TASC’s 2017 Leadership Awards at the agency’s annual luncheon in Chicago on December 14.

Howard A. Peters III, 2017 TASC Justice Leadership Award Honoree

TASC will present its Justice Leadership Award to Peters, who currently serves as vice chair of the Medicaid Advisory Committee under the Illinois Health and Human Services Transformation initiative. In his 40 years of public service, Peters has led the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Human Services, and was appointed in 2015 by Governor Rauner to the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.

“For many the years, in settings where policy decisions are being made about justice reforms and healthcare access, Howard Peters has been an experienced and respected voice in the room,” said TASC President Pam Rodriguez. “He is a strong advocate for under-served communities and populations. Through his broad experience in both corrections and healthcare, he helps build consensus to improve policies and access to care.”

Nickel, who founded and leads the national Addiction Policy Forum, will receive TASC’s Public Voice Leadership Award. Nickel has been instrumental in shaping and advancing federal legislation to improve justice and support recovery, including the landmark Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, which fights the opioid epidemic and supports front-end criminal justice diversion among its key provisions, and the groundbreaking Second Chance Act, which has seeded more than 700 local reentry initiatives across the country.

Jessica Nickel, 2017 TASC Public Voice Leadership Award Honoree

“Jessica Nickel is helping communities across the country make strides against addiction and its consequences,” said Rodriguez. “Through federal legislative initiatives and through the Addiction Policy Forum, she’s bringing forth practical solutions to help families and communities that want to know what works and what they can do.”

Rodriguez added, “We are thrilled to present our 2017 leadership awards to both Howard and Jessica.They each are thoughtful, committed leaders who inspire others.”

The 2017 TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon will take place at the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago on Thursday, December 14 from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Registration is requested by November 28. For sponsorship opportunities and additional information, please click here.

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U.S. Senate Panel Votes to Cut Second Chance Funding

(Washington, DC)The Crime Report, a news service that covers national criminal justice issues, reported Thursday that the Senate subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Justice Department’s budget has voted to eliminate funding for the federal Second Chance Act, which funds community reentry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals nationwide. The House appropriations committee had recently approved $70 million for Second Chance in the new fiscal year, which begins October 1.

Since fiscal year 2009, select states and localities have received Second Chance funds to support community reentry services such as drug and alcohol addiction treatment, mental health treatment, job training, education opportunities, and housing.  Second Chance funding was reduced to $83 million in fiscal year 2011, down from $100 million in fiscal year 2010.

“The Second Chance Act is critically important not only because it funds evidence-based reentry programs, but also for the groundwork it lays in terms of criminal justice policy,” said TASC President Pamela Rodriguez.

Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced the Act in 2007, and it was championed by bi-partisan co-sponsors in both the House and Senate. “These leaders took important and courageous stands in protecting public safety while helping people rebuild their lives,” said Rodriguez.  “With more than 725,000 people being released from state and federal prisons every year, it is unwise to take away one of the few avenues that supports successful community reentry.”

According to the Crime Report, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, who is also a member of the funding subcommittee and was one of the co-sponsors of the original legislation, said he would work to restore Second Chance funding.

YouthToday.org reported that Senator Leahy did not offer an amendment to restore some of the funding, but may seek to include it when the bill comes up for consideration by the full Senate.