2019 Award Winners

               2019 MASCA President’s Award

                                            Scott Semple
        Corrections Leadership and Staff Wellness Instructor

    Scott Semple is the former Commissioner of the State of Connecticut, Department of Correction. After more

than 30 years of service, he retired on January 1, 2019. Scott joined the Connecticut Department of Correction

in 1988, as a front line correction officer at the high security Cheshire Correctional Institution.

In 1990, he became a member of the Correctional Emergency Response Team and in 1992 was promoted to

the rank of correctional lieutenant. Scott entered the field of correctional training in 1996 and was assigned as

a training officer at both the Enfield and Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institutions. Following this assignment,

he was promoted to the rank of correctional captain. And served as both the PREA-Service Coordinator

and Accreditation Coordinator.

    In 1999, Scott was assigned to Central Office and the Office of Public Information where he served as an

agency spokesperson. During this assignment, he developed the agencies first Critical Incident

Communication Response Manual, which was designed to function as a comprehensive reference document

during an active emergency response.

    Scott was promoted to the rank of major in 2000 and served in the capacity of legislative liaison. This position

serves as the agencies contact with other components of state government. In addition, he was responsible for

tracking, preparing and introducing the agencies legislative agenda within the General Assembly.

In 2004 Scott was assigned to the Garner Correctional Institution and provided a key role in completing an

ongoing transition to establish the agency's first consolidated environment for male offenders with significant

mental health needs. During this tenure, he was promoted to deputy warden and then appointed the rank of

Warden on July 1, 2009.

    In August 2014, Scott was chosen by Governor Dannel Malloy to serve as the interim commissioner for the

Connecticut Department of Correction. On March 10, 2015, after nomination by Governor Malloy, the Senate

resolution unanimously passed consent on his appointment to Commissioner of Correction.

During his tenure, Scott implemented various correctional practices designed to improve public safety, efficiency

and wellness. Most notable was the creation of re-integration centers, a community release unit, incentivizing

the application of statutory good time credits, modernizing parole practices, the creation of emerging

adult units, and addressing the unique needs of the female population.

    Today, Scott works with various criminal justice and correctional entities as a consultant.

                2019 Carol Robinson Award

                                                Janay Williams
                    New Beginnings YDC District of Columbia


    Ms. Janay Williams serves as the Deputy Superintendent of Treatment for The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services at New Beginnings Youth Development Center with the Government of the District of Columbia. Just recently, she was moved into a new role as a Program Manager over the Achievement Centers.  Prior to these administrative roles, she served four years as the Treatment Manager for a unit at New Beginnings. Deputy Williams has also served as a Residential Placement Specialist and Special Education advisor with the District of Columbia Public Schools DCPS and a Program Director with Fairfax County Public Schools, adding up to over 15 years of Direct Care service. She has a passion for bringing healing to those who have been through a traumatic experience.
    Deputy Williams has been instrumental in helping to shape and develop the Treatment Program at New Beginnings Youth Development Center. Most recently, with the onboarding of the Title 1 Youth, Deputy Williams Co-Developed the Lotus Behavior Modification Program which infuses aspects of Dialectical Behavior Therapy such as Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance & Radical Acceptance. Her presence on the Leadership Team at New Beginnings Youth Development Center has been vital and instrumental to the quality of care and successful outcomes over the last years. She enjoys helping residents and families build healthy perceptions of themselves by strengthening their relationships to a safe environment.
    Deputy William’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Virginia State University and a Master Degree in Forensic Psychology from Walden University.


                2019 MASCA Founder's Award

                                                Babatunde Amona
       Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA)

    Babatunde Amona is a Community Supervision Officer with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA). He joined CSOSA in October 2015 and was assigned to the Sex Offender Unit upon completion of the CSO academy. In June 2018, he was selected as the CSO for the Pathways Program and has been working there ever since. 
    Pathways is a program under the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE) that provides services geared towards high risk individuals likely to engage in and/or become victims of violent crimes. The overall goal of the program is to address criminogenic risk factors and improve outcomes in the areas of education, employment, housing, health and much more.
    CSO Amona is stationed at the ONSE program and is tasked with supervising individuals who are currently under CSOSA supervision. He performs general CSO duties, engages in groups, participates in field trips, collaborates with ONSE staff/service providers as well as many others. He engages program participants individually and collectively, in efforts to meet CSOSA supervision standards as well as meet ONSE’s mission which is to foster a community-oriented model to
violence prevention and public safety. The purpose of having CSO Amona at the program is to meet those on supervision where they are and to afford them the opportunity to focus primarily on programming so that maximum results can be achieved without supervision serving as a barrier to their success.
    CSO Amona appreciates the fact that he can work with participants outside of the typical supervision setting, give them a positive perception of law enforcement and collaborate with ONSE staff as well as other service providers at the ONSE office while ensuring their needs are met, conditions are completed and recidivism is reduced.

                2019 Sal Russoniello Service Award

                                                        Amy Lopez
                                    DC Department of Corrections

    Amy Lopez began her career as a public school teacher and then administrator in Texas, her home state.
She found her way into the criminal justice field as the principal of a school inside a maximum security
prison for juveniles in Texas. A year later, she was promoted to Superintendent of Education for the Texas
Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). At the TJJD, she led a team of talented educators and correctional
officers to implement numerous innovative practices that improved student outcomes, reduced behavioral
incidents, and were studied and replicated in other states such as Positive Behavior Intervention
and Supports (PBIS) for inmate behavioral management, Project Based Learning, and Career Academies.
    Ms. Lopez was later recruited to initiate reforms for the 160,000 inmates in the custody of the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice. These initiatives improved outcomes for inmates, the agency,
and assisted in reducing the state’s recidivism rate and included training programs to fill the state’s employment
deficit in middle skill STEM jobs, effective Literacy programming, a workforce development/
reentry strategy for placing returning citizens in jobs for which they had been trained, and specialized
cognitive intervention curricula for juveniles in the adult system. In 2016, Obama-era Attorney General
Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates recruited Ms. Lopez to build a school district
within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
    In May of 2017, Ms. Lopez joined the DC DOC family. In the course of her tenure, she has implemented
inmate instructional/reentry programs such as:

  • Partnering with higher education institutions to provide credit bearing courses funded by the Second
Chance Pell Grant and taken via distance learning on mobile devices, college level courses
taught face-to-face, and industry certification course
  • Securing a grant that allows the DC DOC to offer five national industry certification training courses
to prepare inmates for employment in STEM jobs that are needed in the community
  • Launching an inmate-generated newspaper as the result of a Graphic Design/Journalism course in
partnership with local higher education partners and print shops
  • Introducing a cognitive intervention curriculum taught by a returning citizen
  • Providing post-release preparation through a series called Master Classes, where community based
organizations, higher education institutions, partnering DC agencies, and local industry partners
teach workshops to inmates within 90 days of release
  • Creating a Literacy pathway for inmates functioning below the 8th grade level with aligned curriculum
standards and curricular scope and sequences guidelines
  • Improving instructional and organizational best practices by implementing Communities of Practice

professional development activities for staff
    Ms. Lopez has recently been given oversight of the agency’s Center for Professional Development and
Learning which is comprised of recruit training and all staff professional development offerings. Ms.
Lopez is currently a doctoral candidate at Sam Houston State University.




                                               2019 Harold Miller Award

                                                                                Mikisha Freeman
                                                               DC Court Social Services Division 

    Mikisha Freeman was hired as a Probation Officer by the D.C. Courts, Court Social Services Division (CSSD), in 2010. She was subsequently assigned to the UTURN Program, which is the CSSD’s highest level of supervision program for juvenile offenders. She remained in the UTURN Program until 2016, when she was reassigned to the Southwest Satellite Office. Prior to her employment with the D.C. Courts, Ms. Freeman worked as a Certified Police Officer/Probation and Parole Officer for the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (SCDPPPS)-Orangeburg County from 2005-2009 and a Probation Officer for the Virginia Department of Corrections from 2009-2010. While at SCDPPPS, she specialized in the supervision of adult sex offenders and earned the titles of South Carolina Department of Corrections Parole Officer of the Year, SCDPPPS Regional Agent of the Year, SCDPPPS Statewide Agent of the Year, and the Alston Wilkes Society Mark Hart Agent of the Year.
    Ms. Freeman recently completed the prestigious, year-long, D.C. Courts Management Training Program in September 2018. Her presence has been requested by judges to provide insight regarding juvenile supervision at Juvenile Subcommittee Meetings and she serves on several committees in the CSSD.
    As a Probation Officer, not only does Ms. Freeman ensure youth are adhering to the orders of the court, she encourages each youth under her supervision to become productive members of the community. Her goal is reducing recidivism by supporting each youth in their rehabilitation, while also focusing on the safety of the community. During her tenure with the CSSD, Ms. Freeman has facilitated community based mental health services, substance abuse services, mentoring, and tutoring services to assist youth in their rehabilitation. She has attended Advisory Neighborhood Commission meetings to better understand the concerns of the community in the area she supervises. She has organized and accompanied youth on several community service events to prepare food for the homeless and discard trash. Youth under her supervision decorated hats and socks for cancer patients and passed out gift bags to the homeless filled with toiletries and snacks. Ms. Freeman participated in the Partnership for Success Program with the Metropolitan Police Department to provide additional community supervision, support, and services for high risk youth. She participated in the Anacostia High School Safe Passage Initiative to minimize violence and provide safe passage to students returning home after school.
    Ms. Freeman has facilitated youth participation in competency building programming, such as the STEM Program, and meetings with the 1st District Citizens Advisory Council to bridge the gap between the community and at-risk youth. Youth under Ms. Freeman’s supervision have attended Youth Call-In Sessions to learn and speak about violence in the community and one of her youth served as a keynote speaker. She recently participated in the CSSD Family Day at the R.I.S.E. Center, where she served cotton candy and jumped double dutch with CSSD youth and members of the community.
“Developing a healthy relationship with the youth, their families, and the community and being a part of positive change is my driving force.”  -Mikisha Freeman.