September 2017

Press Release

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc.

September 1, 2017

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice is 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 32nd awards banquet on September 23, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. At the banquet we honored our 2017 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 $2,610,000 in cash awards have been distributed since 1986. The year’s award winners are:

COURTHOUSE DOGS FOUNDATION, Bellevue, WA – is recognized for its unique program that brings trained service dogs into the courtroom to help calm and comfort witnesses and victims enabling them to be better able to testify accurately. This foundation is dedicated to educating legal professionals about the benefits of this innovative practice, providing advice about developing best practices for courthouse programs, and connecting them with certified assistance dog training programs. They began with one assistance dog in a Juvenile Drug Court in 2003 and today have 140 dogs in 36 states.

Dr. Mark W. Perlin, Pittsburgh, PA – is recognized for his invention, development and use of TrueAllele® technology. This computer technology automated the task of interpreting genotypes in DNA. Additionally, the automation increased the speed, removed human bias, and surpassed crime lab limitations in reliably processing evidence. In over 400 cases to date, Dr. Perlin and his company, Cybergenetics, founded in 1994, has worked with police, crime labs, prosecutors, defense and innocence groups helping to prosecute the guilty and exonerate the innocent. “Justice through better science”, the company motto, fits perfectly.

Krysta’s Karing Angels, Cypress, TX – is recognized for efforts to educate the public and prevent tragedies that result from driving drunk. After the loss of their daughter to a drunk driver, Mark & Teri Rodrigues formed this organization in order to bring attention to and educate the public about the horrors that result from driving drunk. Additionally, they provide emotional support and court accompaniment to affected families. Since the founding, they have spoken at and participated in over 400 events/conferences state-wide and nationally where they display wrecked vehicles from drunk driving accidents to show the impact on victim’s lives.

Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, Powell, OH – is recognized for its work with crime victims. The Center provides free legal representation for victims of crime to ensure that their constitutional rights are recognized and protected. They also offer free training to hospitals, law enforcement, attorneys, judges and the community on the rights of victims. In addition to these services, founder Cathy Harper Lee, developed The Crime Victim’s Rights Toolkit, which allows victims of crime the ability to keep up with their case online. The Center was also instrumental in getting “Marsy’s Law”, a proposed constitutional amendment, on the Ohio November ballot.

The First 72+, New Orleans, LA – is recognized for reducing recidivism through their transitional housing and reentry program. Their services begin from the moment of release providing transportation, clothes, food, and support navigating the reentry process. The center partners with a local medical school to provide healthcare and the local public defender’s office for legal support. They also host regular social events that provides opportunity for residents and participants in the program to interact with the community. The First 72+ has worked with over 40 residents and 100 non-residents of whom they boast that none of them have returned to prison and all of their graduates are expected to remain involved in order to “pay it forward”.

Tyler Shultz, Los Gatos, CA – is recognized for exposing fraudulent diagnostic blood testing results that were analyzed on unreliable proprietary machines produced by the company that employed him. Within months of working for the start-up tech company, Tyler noticed that results of blood tests run on the same sample varied widely. When his concerns were brought to the attention of the CEO, Tyler was assured that all was well and was directed to ignore the issues. Not satisfied, he took his concerns to a public health lab in another state, which validated his suspicions. Subsequently, an exposeʹ on the tech company was published and shortly thereafter, a drugstore chain that had contracted to use the tech companies machines canceled their order and is now suing the company. His actions as a whistle-blower served to prevent thousands of people from receiving inaccurate blood results/diagnosis.