Nancy Ware has technically been on the job as new director of the D.C. Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency since December, but she was ceremonially sworn in yesterday afternoon.
Ware, a former management analyst for the agency, was nominated by the White House to take over the agency in August. She was confirmed by the Senate in November and was sworn in to begin her duties on Dec. 1.
Yesterday's investiture offered Ware a chance to lay out her goals for the agency, which include focusing resources on the most serious offenders, reducing the rate of returning offenders and making sure residents on probation or parole get the services they need.
“My charge is a serious one,” Ware said. She said she wanted to help former offenders stay out of jail “by establishing strict accountability and continuing to strengthen our sanctions and incentives model.”
The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency is a federal body that oversees probation, parole and supervised release for both local and federal courts in Washington; the agency oversees about 15,000 adults on release at any given time. District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judge Eric Washington, accompanied by U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth, presided over the ceremony.
Special guests included Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Mayor Vincent Gray (D). Norton praised Ware’s experience as the former executive director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a local group that brings together leaders from the city’s government, courts and law enforcement agencies.
Ware has been “preparing her whole life for this mission,” Norton said.
Gray, who had worked with Ware on youth services programs more than 15 years ago, said Ware had a knack for bringing people together and convincing them to collaborate. He said he expected Ware would “leave [the agency] far better than how you found it.”
Susan Shaffer, director of the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia, said in her remarks that Ware “pushes her agenda with thoughtfulness and care.” Shaffer also lauded Ware’s ability to “work with anyone.”
The agency has been without a permanent director since 2008. Deputy Director Adrienne Poteat has led in the interim.
National Law Journal photo by Zoe Tillman.