News Release



For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

April 16, 1999


County Executive Appoints New Criminal Justice Council Chair

Poughkeepsie, NY - Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has announced the appointment of Hamilton W. Meserve of Amenia to the position of Chairman of the Criminal Justice Council (CJC) Meserve, currently serving as County Legislator for District 28, covering the Amenia/Stanford area, succeeds Jim Sproat whose two year term has come to an end.

The CJC was originally created in 1993 by the Legislature on the recommendation of the County Executive. The objective was to create a permanent, independent council to collaborate and advise the legislature and the executive regarding policy formulation and provide a managed response to all critical issues involving the criminal justice system. The council's participants include the County Executive, District Attorney, Public

Defender, County Sheriff, Directors of Probation and Community Corrections, Commissioner of Social Services, Commissioner of Mental Hygiene and the Director of the Youth Bureau, as well as legislators, members of the judiciary, citizen appointments and law enforcement. "The challenges associated with criminal justice issues must be at the forefront of the county's work plan and work schedule. The council has emerged into a significant and important advisory and policy formulation group," Steinhaus said. "The council today continues to pull together all the elements of the criminal justice system to make recommendations to the County Executive and the Legislature. Thanks to their efforts, today Dutchess County is a leader in creating alternatives to incarceration, another effort which continues to save our property taxpayers money."

Hamilton Meserve's appointment will be effective at the next CJC meeting at noon on Tuesday, April 22.  Meserve served on the Criminal Justice Committee of Enhancing Racial Harmony. As a participant of this committee, he helped formulate recommendations for alternatives to incarceration. "This committee was a precursor of the Criminal Justice Council," said Meserve.

Meserve was first elected to the County Legislature in 1997. As County Legislator, Meserve has served as chairman of the County Infirmary Committee, vice-chair of the Committee on Capital Projects & Economic Development and has served on the Charter & Local Law and Family & Human Services Committees. Among his recent activities was an investigation into the use of video cameras in the county jail to guard against real and perceived prisoner abuse and to eliminate the cost associated with prisoner liability suits.

As chairman of the CJC, Meserve will coordinate the members of the council and set its agenda through 1999 and 2000. He will facilitate the development of new programs and initiatives and make recommendations to the County Executive and the Legislature. "I am confident that Hamilton Meserve will successfully continue the tradition of the CJC," Steinhaus said. "He has a very good understanding of all the elements involved in the criminal justice system and will be instrumental in finding new ways for the system to work more efficiently."

In the past two years, under Chairman Jim Sproat, the Dutchess County CJC was selected as one of only nine county CJC's nationally to receive training and technical assistance from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) for a major federal study project. During those years, a data-base was developed to help the various members of the council improve case processing, disposition and make strategic decisions. "The council allows all those involved in the criminal justice process to better coordinate and create solutions to complex problems," said Jim Sproat. "We deal with issues that extend far beyond the bricks and mortar of a jail cell, the council seeks solutions to problems involving human behavior. It's always the offender that is the problem, not simply the offense."

"The CJC has made notable headway under Jim Sproat and I appreciate his commitment and leadership," said Steinhaus. "But the work of the CJC is ongoing, and the torch is now passed to Legislator Meserve, also a well qualified and capable person."



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