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128th Congress attendees celebrate successful programs.

DETROIT - More than 5,100 corrections professionals gathered here Aug. 9-13 for ACA's 128th Congress of Correction. The conference theme, "Successful Programs Are the Way: Do We Have the Will?" encouraged attendees to share their ideas and experiences and challenged them to implement programs that aim to rehabilitate offenders under their care.

During Sunday night's Opening Session, outgoing ACA President Reginald A. Wilkinson unveiled Best Practices: Excellence in Corrections, the 608-page volume that has come to symbolize his presidency. The book highlights dozens of programs in the United States and Canada that have been successful in managing and rehabilitating offenders.

"The aggregation of superior correctional programs found in this publication goes a long way in refuting the naysayers by demonstrating, without a doubt, that there is a solid body of successes in our craft," Wilkinson told the crowd. Best Practices: Excellence in Corrections is a testament to the individuals and teams who have worked hard and taken calculated risks to develop and implement programs that make a measurable difference in the bottom line."

Wilkinson called on participants to not only implement similar programs in their own jurisdictions, but to continue to experiment with new and better ways of doing their jobs and to seek accreditation of their facilities. He also urged them to speak out against negative images of corrections as portrayed in the media and by Hollywood. "Each of us must accept the additional role of 'corrections ambassador' to refute some of the misconceptions of our profession," he said.

Also during the Opening Session, Congress attendees were privileged to hear from the Honorable Andy Scott, solicitor general of Canada. in his address, Scott discussed Canada's approach to criminal justice and his vision of effective corrections. "Effective corrections is built on the premise that we must do what we can to assist offenders to reintegrate into the community," Scott said. He stressed that while some offenders belong in prison, others can and do benefit from alternatives to incarceration and conditional release programs.

"This approach is not about emptying our prisons and putting our children at risk; it's not about setting arbitrary quotas to determine who will serve their sentences in prison or in the community. It is about using tools we have at hand to better distinguish those who need to be separated from society versus those who can be safely managed in the community," Scott said. He noted that in order for alternatives to be successful, they must be supported by those in the criminal justice system, the public, politicians and others.

At the General Session the following morning, Michigan Gov. John Engler reiterated his belief that "the only thing more expensive than the cost of criminals doing time is the cost of criminals doing crime." Engler outlined several initiatives undertaken by his state to reduce crime while controlling prison costs. He also thanked the participants for the difficult work that they do, vowing to do what he could to ensure that "we get the job of corrections back in the hands of the professionals."

During his eight years as governor of Michigan, Engler has spearheaded sweeping public safety reforms, including increasing the number of state troopers and signing tough juvenile justice reform measures. The state also recently enacted truth-in-sentencing laws, which, Engler says, "absolutely slam the door on a core group of violent offenders."

During the rest of the Congress, attendees participated in nearly 70 workshops and seminars on such topics as health care, juvenile justice, community corrections, special needs offenders, probation and parole, sex offenders, technology and international corrections, to name a few.

Throughout the Congress, attendees had the opportunity to visit ACA's Exhibit Hall, which featured approximately 600 exhibits displaying the latest in correctional products and services. Special events held in the Exhibit Hall during the week included the Specialty Break and the "Meet Your Match" Grand Prize Giveaway. Barbara Lathers, warden for the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego, won a new 1999 Pontiac Grand Am.

At the Delegate Assembly meeting on Wednesday, the association's newly elected officers were sworn in to office. Wilkinson presented Richard L. Stalder with the president's gavel. And Stalder announced that during his term in office, he will stress the importance of establishing partnerships between all facets of corrections.

On the final evening of the Congress, members honored three prestigious corrections professionals at the E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Awards Banquet. This year's winners were Judy C. Anderson, manager for institutional operations for the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice; Dennis S. Avery, manager for the Department of Community Corrections, Adult Probation, Hennepin County, Minn.; and Bobbie L. Huskey, former ACA president and owner and president of Huskey and Associates, a national criminal justice consulting firm in Chicago, Ill.

Following the awards presentation, the Temptations entertained the crowd with hit songs spanning several decades.

Each year at the Congress, several individuals and organizations are honored for their outstanding contributions to the corrections field. ACA would like to congratulate the following award recipients, as well as any others who were recognized in Detroit:

Volunteers of America (VOA)

* Maud Booth Award - Chase Riveland, principal, Riveland Associates and former secretary, Washington State Department of Corrections

* The Hope Award - June Koegel, president of VOA operations, Northern New England

Salvation Army

* Chaplain of the Year - Jerry Groom, administrator of chaplaincy programs, Texas Department of Corrections

Accreditation awards

* Walter Dunbar Accreditation Achievement Award Geno Natalucci-Persichetti, director, Ohio Department of Youth Services

* The Chairman's Award - Phoebe Johnson, warden, Perry Correctional Institution, South Carolina Department of Corrections

American Correctional Association

* Exemplary Offender Program Award - New York City Department of Juvenile Justice Aftercare Program

* Blanche La Du Award - Illinois Correctional Association

Produced by a Correctional Facility:

* First Place: "New Attitude," submitted by Randy Warren, Manatee County Sheriff's Office

* Second Place: "Safety for Court Service Workers," submitted by Sheelah Sodhi, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice

Produced by a Non-Correctional Agency:

* First Place: "When I Was Nine: The Silent Victims of Sexual Abuse," submitted by John Earls, GWC Inc.

* Second Place: "Re-Engaging Into Society: Accessing the American System," submitted by John Earls, GWC Inc.

Public Service Announcement (PSA):

* First Place: "Rise to the Challenge," submitted by Ruth Ann LeFebvre, Arizona Department of Corrections

* Second Place: "Please Don't Drink and Drive," submitted by Rick Kitson, Santa Clara County Department of Corrections

Public Interest/Safety:

* First Place: "Wheels for the World: Paying Back to Society," submitted by Tomasz Bugajski, Colorado Department of Corrections

* Second Place: "Under the Watchful Eye," submitted by Lee M. Berger, Florida Department of Corrections
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Title Annotation:Detroit: 128th Congress of Correction, August 9 - 13, 1998; Congress of Correction
Author:Clayton, Susan L.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Oct 1, 1998
Previous Article:Where do criminal justice organizations stand on critical correctional issues?
Next Article:Workshops address variety of criminal justice issues.

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