Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Department of Justice Announces Designation of New Chairman of U.S. Parole Commission


President Barack Obama has designated J. Patricia Wilson Smoot as of the U.S. Parole Commission effective May 29, 2015.  Chairman Smoot, who has served as Acting Chairman since the retirement of former Chairman Isaac Fulwood on Jan. 30, 2015, was appointed to the U.S. Parole Commission by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 16, 2010.

While at the Commission, Chairman Smoot has spearheaded the USPC Mental Health Docket.  The USPC Mental Health Docket was established in 2012 as an alternative to incarceration for low-risk, non-violent offenders with mental health disorders and/or co-occurring disorders.  Through collaborative efforts with Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, Department of Behavioral Health and Public Defender Service, a multidisciplinary team was formed in an effort to provide swift assistance and administrative sanctions for the targeted population.  To date, the USPC Mental Health Docket has connected a multitude of male and female offenders to in-patient and outpatient treatment services, as well as job training and mentoring programs.  Additionally, Chairman Smoot also served for several months as Acting General Counsel for the agency.

Before her appointment, Chairman Smoot served as Deputy State's Attorney for Prince George's County, Maryland, one of the largest prosecutor’s offices in the State of Maryland. She was appointed to the position in 2002.  As part of her duties, Chairman Smoot oversaw the Sex Offense and Child Abuse Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit, the Juvenile Division and the District Court Division, while serving as an advisor to the state’s attorney.

From 1994 to 2002, Chairman Smoot served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia.  She served, with distinction, as a trial attorney and received both the Department of Justice Special Achievement and the Victims of Crime Awards during that time.  Chairman Smoot ended her tenure in the U.S. Attorney's Office as Director of Professional Development, where she was responsible for attorney movement and management of the training programs for the 700-person office.

Chairman Smoot also served as a Public Defender in Prince George's County, Maryland, as an associate in a tort defense litigation firm in the district and as a judicial law clerk in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.

Chairman Smoot has served on a number of boards and committees including the National Black Prosecutors Association, National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Abuse, the Governor's (Maryland) Sex Offender Advisory Board and Community Advocates for Families and Youth (CAFY).

Because of her work in and outside of the office, Chairman Smoot was named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women by the Daily Record for 2008 and again in 2011.  She has also been recognized by the PEERS Coalition for Innovative Leadership in Public Service in the District of Columbia and has received the Distinguished Service Award, from the Community Advocates for Families and Youth in Prince George's County, Maryland.

Chairman Smoot holds a B.A. in English and Sociology with a concentration in Legal Studies from Bucknell University and a J.D. from Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America.

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