ACA honors awardees.
Thigpen also announced that Nyzual Streater is the 2012 recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Award. A recent high school graduate, Streater is the first of six siblings to pursue a college education. As a student at Norfolk State University, he plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice and eventually a career as a lawyer. By becoming a lawyer, Streater believes he would not only be able to help people in his country, but in his community as well. During his time in high school, Streater was involved in many school and community activities. He was captain of both his high school football and basketball teams, as well as an assistant coach for the Lindenwold Little League football team. He has won numerous awards for his leadership and athleticism. While working at a barber shop, Streater also became a mentor to the youths in his community by teaching them, in his own words, that "there is more to life than just hanging in the streets" as well as how to set goals for themselves and reach them. Unfortunately, he was not able to be present in Phoenix to accept the award.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections received the Innovation in Corrections Award for its efforts in reducing recidivism and promoting future success for offenders through the Engaging the Family--An Innovative Approach for the Max-Out Offender program. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Promoting Responsible Fatherhood/Healthy Marriage Grant Program selected the New Jersey Department of Corrections as a grantee for its program. Implemented in 2007, the program's goal is to increase the cognitive and life skills of its inmate participants and includes the family in this endeavor with the ultimate goals of strengthening families and reducing recidivism. Components include a link to licensed outpatient drug treatment opportunities, family counseling, parenting skills and other social support services. The program is currently being conducted in six correctional facilities in New Jersey. In 2010, another grant was awarded through the Bureau of Justice Administration to further expand the program to two more facilities and one satellite unit. Currently, 293 participants have been enrolled in the program. Of this number, 218 have completed the program, with 37 pending release. Preliminary data demonstrate the effectiveness of this program in reducing the rate of recidivism, with only 4.9 percent of offenders who completed the program having been rearrested and reincarcerated. "Preparing inmates for successful reentry is a vital component of our department's mission," said Mark Farsi, deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. "The key to achieving desirable results is to utilize the programs that provide offenders with the tools they need so they are prepared to live their lives as productive members of society once they are released."
Following former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson's Annual Luncheon speech on Tuesday, ACA Deputy Executive Director Jeff Washington presented Stephan Van Dine, chief of the Bureau of Research for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, with ACA's Peter P. Lejins Research Award. Van Dine has been active in criminal justice research since 1973. His extensive research during the last 35 years has significantly influenced and improved the correctional systems, both in Ohio and nationally. Since joining the Bureau of Research, Van Dine has guided and completed numerous research projects. He assisted in the development, design and implementation of a new case management system for the Ohio Adult Parole Authority (APA) using risk assessment instruments; helped test the impact of a major change in Ohio's sentencing code; and helped adapt the 1986 APA Parole guidelines for Ohio. Through the years, the information and analysis that Van Dine has provided has aided in the successful implementation of policy changes within the department. Van Dine continues to work toward improving statistical information systems within the corrections field. He is also working with academics in outside research studies. He is an active participant in the ACA Research Council and has made a number of presentations at ACA conferences. Accepting the award, Van Dine said, "One person is only a small portion of that effort ... I want to share this honor with those who I work with in my department. I certainly would do little of this on my own. Researchers can thrive in a large organization only if they have people who believe that the information they provide is worthwhile."
The Award of Merit was given to Correctional Officer Tonya Meunier and Wastewater Treatment Supervisor Robbie E. Jones, both of the Nottoway Correction Center in Virginia. As they were each driving home from work on Jan. 27, 2011, they came upon an accident. Meunier, who arrived at the scene first, reached into the driver's side of the vehicle to assess the driver's condition. Suddenly, the engine burst into flames, causing Meunier to seek additional help. Jones arrived at the scene shortly after Meunier and saw smoke coming from the vehicle. He immediately attempted to break the rear window with his fist. Jones then used an ax handle to break the glass. He entered the vehicle through the rear window, unsecured the driver's seat belt, and helped lift the driver out of the vehicle. The vehicle's interior was later consumed by flames. Sadly, the driver died at the scene of the accident. Neither Meunier nor Jones knew the identity of the person driving the vehicle. It was not until later that they learned that the driver was Warden Shirley T. Avent of the Lunenburg Correctional Center. "I'd like to thank ACA and the Virginia Department of Corrections for this award," Jones said. "I appreciate it. Thank you so much."
Washington presented the Outstanding Journalism Award to Breaking Down the Bars, an emotional and informative look at the transformation of eight female prisoners during their time at the Rockville Correctional Facility in Indiana. The seven-episode docu-reality series, which aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network, follows the women as they wrestle with the weight of their crimes, learn to take responsibility for their decisions, and work on rehabilitating their lives. With the help of therapist Dr. Stephanie Covington, Breaking Down the Bars documents the journeys of these women, as well as allows them to share their personal stories of self-discovery and redemption while reflecting upon their lives, hopes and dreams for the future. The series also gives viewers an inside look into a day in the life of the offender at the Rockville Correctional Facility to help these women in their rehabilitation as they prepare to return to society. Adriene Hooper, executive director of 44 Blue Productions accepted the award. "Thank you very much. By producing Breaking Down the Bars with the Oprah Winfrey Network and the help of IDOC and Rockville Correctional Facility, we took a small step to break the silence by giving a voice to those who made bad decisions but wanted to tell their stories so others wouldn't repeat them," she said. "I thank ACA for this award and honor."
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|Title Annotation:||2012 Winter Conference PHOENIX; American Correctional Association|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2012|
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