Sandra Hahn, deputy director of the Washington County Department of Community Corrections, has received a state association award for her work on a program that connects domestic violence victims and advocates helping reduce future risk of domestic violence.
The Minnesota Association of Community Corrections Act Counties Board of Directors recognized Hahn at the organization’s Sept. 20 conference.
The award recognizes exemplary individuals, programs or projects that serve to advance the knowledge, effectiveness, and integrity of the criminal justice system.
Hahn was instrumental in introducing the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) to Minnesota and Washington County. She sought ways to improve the county’s response to domestic violence assaults following work by the Community Corrections’ Advisory Board on this topic, a double homicide in Washington County and a national conference she attended.
Hahn was the first person in the nation from a probation agency to coordinate the use of the LAP tool between all criminal agencies. The LAP tool and its use were developed in Maryland in collaboration with Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The series of questions asked at the scene of domestic violence are designed to predict risk in intimate partner domestic violence situations, specifically lethality. The protocol involves immediately connecting victims and advocates to reduce future risk, and provides the court with information on the level of danger the offender presents to the victim.
Hahn worked with trainers and added a more complete collaboration in the Washington County model by training probation officers and developing a targeted domestic violence team to track the cases from bail hearings through supervision. Because law enforcement sees the tool being used by the rest of the justice system, officers in the field consistently used it.
In addition, Hahn meets monthly with others on the Tubman Think Tank, an agency that serves victims of domestic violence, to explore ways to improve the response to domestic violence.
It was also noted that other Minnesota jurisdictions are now using and requesting assistance in implementing the LAP, showing that this project will have a significant impact on Minnesota’s response to domestic violence.
In June 2012, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar conducted a forum in Washington County that highlighted the use of the LAP as an effective tool in the response to domestic violence.
Hahn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in social work from Augsburg College and a state license in social work. She has worked for Washington County for more than 30 years.
Since 1987, Hahn has trained extensively in the areas of deviant and extremist groups, including threat groups and gangs. Her primary focus has been female involvement with gangs, as well as investigating women as perpetrators of violent crime. Hahn has instructed various law enforcement and community groups within the United States, and has been on the faculty of the National Academy of Corrections.