September 2014

Press Release

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc.

September 1, 2014

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, a private not-for-profit institution founded in 1984 for the purpose of improving local, state, and federal systems of justice within the United States of America, hosted its 29th awards banquet on September 27, 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. At the banquet we honored our 2014 Paul H. Chapman award winners. Each year, the Foundation accepts nominations for the Paul H. Chapman award to recognize and reward individuals or organizations whose innovative programs and work have made improvements in the various systems of justice. Over $2,380,000 in cash awards have been distributed since 1986. This year’s award winners are:

ANTOINETTE TUFF, Atlanta, GA – is recognized for her heroic actions when a man armed with an AK 47 entered the school where she was working and took her hostage. Her calm voice, quick thinking and compelling compassion towards the gunman resulted in saving countless lives in the building of 800 students, faculty and staff members. She was able to persuade the would-be shooter to surrender and talked him through the process as he surrendered to police. The police never even spoke directly with the gunman. Experienced hostage negotiators applauded her performance, and many have praised her amazing grace under pressure.

JULIO MEDINA, New York, NY – is recognized for his vision, leadership and perseverance founding EXODUS, Transitional Community, Inc., a faith-based, non-profit organization that provides supportive services to formerly incarcerated men and women in order to help them reintegrate into their communities. They have served over 7,000 men and women addressing the unique needs of individuals facing re-entry from securing employment to emotional and spiritual support. The recidivism rate of program participants is under 10% annually. The recidivism rate for the re-entry population statewide in 2009 was 41%.

JEFF BAUER and THE FAMILY PARTNERSHIP, Minneapolis, MN – are recognized for protecting vulnerable children and advancing crime victims’ rights by successfully leading the 2011 passage of the Safe Harbor law in Minnesota. The law prevents child sex trafficking victims from being prosecuted for prostitution thereby protecting them from being criminalized due to their exploitation. In addition, they drove the creation of the innovative No Wrong Door safe shelter and supportive services model in 2012 and in 2013 secured the largest state budget allocation in the entire nation to fund it.

HONORALBE JAMES M. MIZE, Sacramento, CA – is recognized for his innovative response to severe backlogs and budget cuts by designing and implementing a new One Day Divorce program in the County Superior Court. Cases that sometime took years to complete are now done virtually on-the-spot, clearing crowded dockets, conserving scarce resources and saving litigants from missing work and family obligations due to repeated trips to the courthouse. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students assist litigants prior to their day in court by preparing all the necessary paperwork. It is the first and only program of its kind in California.

VICTIMS OF CRIME AND LENIENCY, Montgomery, AL – is recognized for championing the rights of crime victims in the state of Alabama. Organized in 1982, it is responsible for the passage of twenty-three crime victims’ rights laws in Alabama. Before the organization of VOCAL there were no crime victims’ rights in Alabama. In addition to legislative advocacy, VOCAL also provides victim assistance from the onset of the crime throughout the entire journey through the criminal judicial system including crime-scene-clean-up, courtroom advocates through all phases of the criminal judicial system, housing at their center for victims to attend pardon and parole hearing and trials, aid completing compensation forms and counseling services.

TEXAS LOVES CHILDREN dba CHILD PROTECTION CONNECTIONS, Dallas, TX – is recognized for transforming how child abuse cases are handled across Texas by creating an Online Legal Resource and Communication Center or the “Online Center”. The Online Center harnesses expertise across the state and brings it to the fingertips of judges and attorney’s handling child abuse cases for free twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. It provides access to psychological, medical, and legal resources from national and state experts and allows judges and attorneys a secure communication tool enabling them to discuss ideas for improving the system, ask questions and mentor less experienced colleagues. They have replicated the Online Center for Alabama, California, Florida and Maryland.