Leadership

The SAW Project is guided by an executive director and advisory board members respected for their collective experience in community corrections, including exposure to and knowledge of best practices from around the world.

Key Staff

Julie Truschel

Julie Truschel

Executive Director

Julie Truschel is the Founder and Executive Director of the SAW Project and the President of Community Supervision Solutions, a consulting agency that helps community corrections practitioners achieve better outcomes for their constituents. Julie has worked in various capacities of juvenile and adult corrections for more than 30 years. She began working in criminal justice in 1987 as a community corrections professional with Boulder County, Colorado and worked upward through various positions until becoming Director of Program Integrity and Development for BI Incorporated.  During her career, she has also provided independent consulting services to government agencies as well as national and international private companies, with an emphasis on a continuum of care model. Julie has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master’s degree in Organizational Management. She served on the Program Committee for the 2015 World Congress on Probation, and is a member of the International Relations Committee for the American Probation and Parole Association. Over the years, Julie has gained status as a leader in the community corrections field, and, through her relationships with key researchers all over the world, she stays current with the newest developments and innovation in program design, operational reform and efficiencies assessments, curriculum development, outcomes evaluation and more.

SAW Project Advisory Board

Michelle Carpentier

Michelle Carpentier

Board Member

Michelle Carpentier began her career in 1984 as a Correctional Officer after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Criminology at the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. She has held various frontline positions while working with the correctional service, including Parole Officer, Program Officer, Offender Employability Manager and Learning Programs Director, in addition to senior management positions including Director of Information Sharing and Director of Intergovernmental Relations. During her career, Michelle had the rewarding experience of spending 20 months on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti as a Senior Correctional Advisor and Mentor. From 2016 to 2020, she served as the Executive Director of the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA), working with the Board of Directors and ICPA members to advance professional and humane prisons and corrections worldwide.

Doug Dretke

Doug Dretke

Board Member

Doug Dretke is the Executive Director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas at Sam Houston State University’s George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center, which serves the training and professional development needs of correctional professionals across the broad spectrum of corrections and facilitates international exchanges and training with correctional agencies abroad. A 26-year veteran of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Doug began his career as a Correctional Officer for the Department and served as Warden for two different facilities before becoming Director of the Department’s Correctional Institutions Division. He retired from the Department in July 2006 to become Director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas. Earlier, Doug earned his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University in Criminology and Corrections and his master’s degree in Public Administration with a Criminal Justice concentration from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. He currently serves as an Adjunct Faculty member at the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University and is active with a number of state, national, and international professional associations including the American Probation and Parole Association, the American Jail Association, the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents, International Corrections and Prisons Association and the American Correctional Association. Doug is also a highly regarded presenter who lectures nationally and internationally on criminal justice-related issues.

Gary Hill

Gary Hill

Board Member

Gary Hill is the Chief Executive Officer of CEGA Services in Lincoln, Nebraska and the President of Contact Center, Inc., a private, nonprofit, international information and referral clearinghouse in the areas of human services, criminal justice and illiteracy. Gary also serves as the Staff Training and Development Director of the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) and on the United Nations Committee of Experts, which prepared the update of the United Nations Standards for the Treatment of Offenders. While on special assignment to United Nations organizations, he produced more than 40 draft training manuals used to help write the formal training programs for prison workers around the world. Gary has worked in corrections since 1964 and has been recognized by the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel, the ICPA and the American Correctional Association, which awarded him its highest honor. In 2008, Gary was selected to serve on the U.S. Institute for Peace Council of Experts of the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law, and in 2017 was named one of 18 Commissioners of the United States Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.

Steve Pitts

Steve Pitts

Board Member

Steve Pitts began his career as a Probation Officer in London, later moving to national and international roles where he worked on issues including probation service work in partnership, prisoner resettlement, and strengthening probation’s quality and impact. He holds a master’s degree in Organisational Behaviour from the University of London. During his career, he was selected to the European Commission as a Twinning Advisor on probation development, and later established and led the England and Wales Prison and Probation Services International function. While working in this role he led multi-partner European-wide effective practice research and development projects as well as the organization’s International Justice Assistance Program. Steve was also involved in developing the World Congress on Probation concept and bringing the biannual practice, research, and idea-sharing conference to fruition. He remains an active member of the World Congress Advisory Group. A strong advocate of global international knowledge exchange and effective evidence-informed, sustainable approaches to community-based justice, Steve now works independently, as well as in concert with organizations including the United Nations, as an International Advisor on community-based justice. Steve is also an active supporter of several international organizations in the justice field and serves as an Ambassador on behalf of the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) – the European Organization for Probation.

SAW Project Liaison

Veronica Ballard Cunningham

Veronica Ballard Cunningham

Veronica Ballard Cunningham is the Executive Director of the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), a professional membership association made up of over 30,000 probation, parole, and pretrial professionals at all levels in the juvenile and adult sectors as well as judges, educators, researchers, and law enforcement officials. As APPA’s chief executive officer, she manages operations and supports the strategic direction of the Association, which offers professional development, technical assistance, advocacy support, and education on best practices in community corrections. Veronica has a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Louisiana State University and has worked as a justice-system practitioner and reentry professional for more than 30 years. She has held top leadership positions at two of the largest community corrections agencies in the country – Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Parole and Cook County Adult Probation Department (Chicago). Veronica is a member of a number of national and international professional justice organizations including the World Congress Advisory Group which provides strategic direction and leadership to the biennial World Congress on Probation. She serves on several think tanks, task forces, and non-profit boards; and has performed related work in the private and not-for-profit sectors, including the Vera Institute of Justice. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has been published in various justice industry journals.