President Chunn reveals plans for ACA during closing plenary.
The American Correctional Association's 134th Congress of Correction closed on Thursday, Aug. 5, with incoming president, Gwendolyn C. Chunn, bringing together a panel representing the leadership of ACA ACA - Application Control Architecture and outside advocates to discuss the Association's future. In her final moments before formally assuming the presidency of ACA, Chunn began the discussion with an overview of the values that she will use to lead the Association for the next two years.
"There are certain values that I have that are important to ACA," Chunn said. "One is participation. We have work to do. And we must do it at all times, not just at conferences or other meetings. The beauty of ACA is that anyone who is a member--and even those who are not yet members--can contribute to our process." Building upon the theme of participation, Chunn discussed the importance of inclusivity. "We are an organization of people at the line level and at the management level. We must build a joint agenda," she said.
Building upon the theme of inclusivity that highlighted the keynote address keynote address
An opening address, as at a political convention, that outlines the issues to be considered. Also called keynote speech.
Noun 1. of Kweisi Mfume Kweisi Mfume (born Frizzell Gerald Gray, October 24, 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland) is the former President/CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as a five-term Democratic Congressman from Maryland's 7th congressional district, , president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), organization composed mainly of American blacks, but with many white members, whose goal is the end of racial discrimination and segregation. (NAACP NAACP
in full National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization. It was founded in 1909 to secure political, educational, social, and economic equality for African Americans; W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. ) at ACA's 2004 Winter Conference in New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded , Chunn stressed the importance of reaching out to minorities, retirees and women as corrections strives to conquer the challenges of the future. "We have more to give together than we do as individuals," she said. "Together, we can combat the aging work force and ensure that we do not lose the wisdom of those retiring from the profession. Together, we can find a way to combat disproportionate minority confinement. These are two examples of issues that we will combat ... together."
Each panel member was invited to give their perceptions of the challenges that corrections must face during the coming years. Panel members included James A. Gondles Jr., executive director of ACA; Jamie Fellner, director of Human Rights Watch; Dr. David L. Thomas David Lloyd Thomas is a Republican member of the South Carolina Senate, representing the 8th District since 1984. External links
Gondles summed up his view of the challenges facing corrections by recalling a quote from Robert F. Kennedy: "Some men see things as they are and say, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'" Gondles used the quote to illustrate his belief that ACA must serve as an advocate to improve the corrections profession and change the way others view the profession. He noted that ACA joined several correctional organizations to quickly defend the profession against allegations of widespread abuses earlier this year. "ACA was quick to condemn the abuses in Iraq," Gondles said. "However, we do not believe that what occurred in that country is indicative of what happens in U.S. correctional systems. We will not be critical of the profession as a whole, and we will continue to advocate for those who do their jobs in a professional manner."
Fellner echoed those remarks by claiming that corrections has to work to improve its perception among the public. "ACA needs to speak out. It must have a strong voice inside the profession and outside the profession," she said. "ACA must uphold a vision of what confinement should be, a vision that upholds human rights and human dignity Human dignity is an expression that can be used as a moral concept or as a legal term. Sometimes it means no more than that human beings should not be treated as objects. Beyond this, it is meant to convey an idea of absolute and inherent worth that does not need to be acquired and , a vision that's purpose is rehabilitation."
Both Thomas and Verdeyen discussed the role that standards have played in bringing about improvements to correctional facilities nationwide. Thomas specifically mentioned how openness and transparency and respect for the human rights of offenders, help the public to understand the mission of corrections and are keys to ensuring that facilities are well-managed.
As the dawn of Chunn's ACA presidency neared, she summed up her vision for ACA. "I value America Value America or VA (valueamerica.com, va.com) was a dot-com company founded in Nevada in 1996 by Craig Winn and Rex Scatena, and relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia in February of 1998. and the ideals of our country," she said. "It is important to recognize that everyone makes sacrifices. We must remember, both individually and as an association, what we stand for. And we cannot be afraid to stand up for our beliefs."
Joey R. Weedon is director of Government and Public Affairs for the American Correctional Association The American Correctional Association is an association of providers of services to prisons in the United States. It holds an annual trade show where products used in prisons are shown to prospective purchasers.
It was formerly known as the American Prison Association. .