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October 15, 2012

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Instructor Ilana Zablow addresses a class of female inmates at the start of the C.R.E.W. Program.

The Community Re–entry for Women (C.R.E.W.) Program of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has been recognized with a Bright Idea Award by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

The C.R.E.W. Program is a multi–phased gender–specific life skills and job placement, and healthcare service program for female offenders re–entering their communities from the Suffolk County House of Correction. The program is designed to identify and address the unique challenges faced by female offenders, regardless of length of stay, with pre– and post–release case management to assist them with achieving their housing, health care and career goals.

Bright Idea Awards are given to organizations and agencies from all levels of government – including school districts, county, city, state, and federal agencies as well as public–private partnerships – and demonstrate a creative range of solutions to issues such as urban and rural degradation, environmental problems, and the academic achievement of students. Programs are evaluated and selected by a team of policy experts from academic and public sectors.

Selected programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources. In addition, programs must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

Chosen as one of 111 awardees out of a field of over 600 candidates, the C.R.E.W. Program was selected under the heading of “Preventing Crime Before It Happens & Reintegrating Offenders.” Other Bright Ideas awardees were chosen from the following categories: Economic Development; Energizing our Nation’s Students; Environmental Protection & Conservation; Real–Time Data; and Transparency.

Speaking about the Department’s constant and tireless resolve to enhance and upgrade programming, including those programs already considered to be models within the field of corrections like the C.R.E.W. Program, Director of Women’s Program Services Christina Ruccio was appreciative of the recognition.

“Over the past two years, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and Project Place have worked hard at improving our employment and job training components for women, because we know that the likelihood for women to re–offend decreases if they’re gainfully employed,” said Ruccio. “This award is a testament to that hard work.”

According to Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center, agencies like the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and its C.R.E.W. Program stand out because of their abilities to achieve excellence while working within budgetary limitations.

“Government innovation does not require endless resources and generous budgets,” Goldsmith said. “As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, some of our country’s smartest innovations can in fact reduce government’s size while serving our citizens more efficiently and effectively.”

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit


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