News Release


For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
Telephone:  (845) 486-2000
, FAX: (845) 486-2021;

March 28, 2001


County Executive Appoints New Criminal Justice Council Chair

Poughkeepsie. . . Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has announced the appointment of Major Gary Christensen as Chairman of the Criminal Justice Council (CJC). Christensen, who is Assistant Correction Administrator at the Dutchess County Jail, succeeds Legislator Hamilton Meserve, whose two-year term has expired.

The CJC was created in 1993 by the Legislature at the recommendation of the County Executive. The purpose of the council is to collaborate and advise the legislature and the executive regarding policy formulation and to provide a managed response to all critical issues involving the criminal justice system. The councilís participants include the County Executive, District Attorney, Public Defender, Sheriff, Director 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, law enforcement officials and concerned Dutchess County citizens.

"The complexities of the criminal justice system demand a coordinated, strategic response. Dutchess County is recognized nationally as a leader and innovator due in large part to the collaboration of our Criminal Justice Council members," noted Steinhaus.

Christensen, a Corrections professional with more than twenty years of experience, holds a B.A. in Psychology, an M.A. in Counseling/Professional Psychology and a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology. In addition, he has been Chairman of the Criminal Justice Councilís Prevention Committee and a member of the councilís Executive Committee. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Graduate Psychology in the Criminal Justice Program at Marist College and a New York State Master Instructor.

As Chairman of the CJC, Christensen will coordinate the work of the council and set its agenda for his two-year term through 2001 and 2002. He will facilitate the evaluation of existing criminal justice services and development of new program initiatives to be recommended to the County Executive and the Legislature. "Mr. Christensen possesses a unique combination of academic training and professional experience and has a thorough understanding of all the elements involved in the criminal justice system," noted Steinhaus. Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian "Butch" Anderson, the official having operational responsibility of the jail, commented, "The CJC has played an important role in developing and supporting initiatives designed to break the cycle of recidivism - the proverbial revolving door of crime and punishment. Major Christensen has been at the forefront of that effort as it relates to both jail-based and community-based initiatives. He possesses the leadership skills and program knowledge needed to guide the CJCíS many voices in a common direction for the benefit of Dutchess County residents."

During the past two years, under the chairmanship of Hamilton Meserve, the council championed several initiatives including enhancements to the jail-based Transitions and Mental Hygiene Case Management programs, expansion of the Community Residence and Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) program, addition of an Alternatives to Incarceration worker in the Public Defenderís Office, expansion of the very successful electronic monitoring program and several victimsí assistance programs as well as a Youth Asset Building Crime Prevention Program. Also during this period, the County initiated analysis of future needs for jail beds and alternatives to incarceration/community-based programming.

"I am very proud of the way the Criminal Justice Council has brought together the often-divergent viewpoints of its members for the ultimate benefit of the system as a whole and the individuals and communities it serves. I thank Ham Meserve for his leadership, and I look forward to continued success under Mr. Christensen," said County Executive Steinhaus.


2001 Press Releases