Delaware Department Of Justice Announces Availability Of $2 Million In Re-Entry Grants

Funds Represent Largest New State Investment In Community-Based Re-Entry Programs In At Least a Decade

Attorney General Matt Denn announced Thursday that workshops will be held in early August to explain to non-profit groups how they can apply for grants from $2 million that has been set aside to support community-based efforts to reduce recidivism among adults and juveniles released from Delaware correctional facilities.

The $2 million in grant funds were allocated to the state’s Criminal Justice Council for this purpose by the Department of Justice, with the agreement of the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee, from settlements with national banks for alleged misconduct in national financial markets.

The workshops will be hosted by the Criminal Justice Council on Wednesday, August 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Dover Police Department, 400 S. Queen St., in Dover, and on Thursday, August 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Goodwill Center, 300 E. Lea Blvd., in Wilmington. Video of the workshops will also be posted on the websites of both the Delaware Department of Justice and the Delaware Criminal Justice Council for interested non-profit groups that cannot attend.

Grant decisions will be made by the Criminal Justice Council, and the Criminal Justice Council will also monitor recipients’ use of the grant funds. Grants will be available in amounts up to $150,000, and for periods of up to two years, and the grant guidelines employed by the Criminal Justice Council will be designed to ensure that funds are available both to larger organizations with a history of receiving and spending grant monies, and smaller qualified organizations that may not have an extensive history of receiving grants.

“Re-entry programs are a critical part of our state’s broader effort to reduce violent crime,” Attorney General Denn said. “This is by far the largest new state investment in community-based re-entry programs in at least a decade. It will allow us to keep good established programs afloat, provide an opportunity to expand newer programs, and create an even more clear record that these programs work so that the state can assume funding for them when the settlement funds run out. We are grateful to have the Criminal Justice Council’s expert assistance in overseeing the awarding and spending of these funds.”

Currently, approximately two-thirds of adult inmates released from Delaware correctional facilities commit new crimes within three years of release that are serious enough to result in their re-incarceration, and an even higher percentage of juveniles are re-incarcerated after being released.

DE Attorney General Seal - new dec 2014

State Attorneys General Call on Phone Carriers to Offer Call-Blocking Technology to Customers

Attorney General Matt Denn Wednesday joined 44 other state attorneys general calling on five major phone companies to offer call-blocking technology to their customers. In a joint letter to the chief executives of the carriers, the attorneys general said a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule clarification allows telecommunication service providers to offer customers the ability to block unwanted calls, and confirms that federal law does not prohibit offering the services.

In the letter to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink, the attorneys general stated, “Every year, our offices are flooded with consumer complaints pleading for a solution to stop intrusive robocalls. Your companies are now poised to offer your customers the help they need. We urge you to act without delay.”

Phone carriers had previously claimed they could not offer such services.

“The FCC has made it clear that phone companies can give their customers what they have been asking for – a way to stop these calls before they ever come through,” Attorney General Denn said.

Call-blocking options already exist for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service and Android cell phones, and the phone carriers should move quickly to implement and inform their consumers of these options, the letter said.

In September 2014, 39 attorneys general, led by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, called on the FCC to allow phone companies to utilize call-blocking technologies. The FCC chairman endorsed the request in late May and the FCC voted to pass the rule clarification on June 18.

The letter to the phone companies can be found HERE.

Attorney General Denn Urges Oil Companies to Eliminate Synthetic Drug Sales At Gas Stations

Attorney General Matt Denn recently joined with 42 of his counterparts in asking the CEOs of nine oil companies to eliminate any synthetic drug sales from retail locations operating under their brand names.

Synthetic drugs started appearing in gas stations, tobacco shops and liquor stores over the last seven years. In 2010, more than 11,000 people nationally – many of whom were younger than 17 – went to the emergency room after using synthetic marijuana, and in 2011 the number was more than 28,000.

“The impact and dangerousness of synthetic drugs has become clear in Delaware. In 2011, a man high on the synthetic drug known as bath salts killed New Castle County Police Lt. Joseph Szczerba,” Attorney General Denn said. “Delaware lawmakers passed legislation making bath salts illegal following that incident, but new varieties of synthetic drugs continue to be created, and none of them should be available at stores in Delaware or anywhere.”

The contents and effects of synthetic drugs are unpredictable due to a changing variety of chemicals used in manufacturing processes that are devoid of quality controls and regulatory oversight.
The letter asks company officials to prohibit franchisees from selling any synthetic drugs, revoke the franchisee/franchisor relationship with any gas station or convenience store that sells any kind of synthetic drug, and report to local law enforcement if they learn that any franchisee is selling synthetic drugs.

Companies receiving the letter with the request from the state Attorneys General included BP, Phillips 66, Chevron, Shell, Citgo, Sunoco, Exxon Mobil, Valero, and Marathon Petroleum.

The state and territorial Attorneys General offices that signed the letter are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.