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ACA honors Cass Award winners.

The E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award, ACA's highest honor, was bestowed upon Morris L. Thigpen, Gail D. Hughes and The Honorable Helen G. Corrothers at the ACA Awards Banquet, Aug. 4, in Nashville, Tenn. The following citations are printed as they were read at the event.

Morris L. Thigpen

Morris L. Thigpen represents the highest calibre of the corrections profession, both in terms of his achievements and the qualities he brings to the field.

Mr. Thigpen began his distinguished corrections career in 1971, when he became coordinator of personnel and training for the Mississippi Department of Youth Services. In this position, Mr. Thigpen worked with the Governor's Office of Job Training and the University of Southern Mississippi to provide a continuing training development program for childcare workers and other staff.

In 1974, Mr. Thigpen was appointed chief administrator of the community services division of the Department of Youth Services. While director, he emphasized the importance of dealing with the child before and after adjudication. He initiated a comprehensive tracking system to track youths throughout the system, from court to institution to home.

Mr. Thigpen's career in adult corrections began in 1977, when he was appointed deputy commissioner of community service for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. In this position, he developed a comprehensive classification and case load management system for the state's community work and restitution centers. This program placed probationers and parolees into different levels of supervision and eventually returned hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution fines, court costs and taxes to the state.

Mr. Thigpen was appointed commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections in 1980, a position he held for six years. During his tenure, the department instituted a paramilitary prison rehabilitation program called Regimented Inmate Discipline. Numerous states visited the Mississippi RID Program and patterned their programs after this innovative concept.

Mr. Thigpen was named Alabama's corrections commissioner in early 1987, where he served until early 1993. During this period, Mr. Thigpen continued making his mark on adult corrections. Through his quiet diplomacy, Mr. Thigpen worked to reduce prison crowding and was greatly responsible for the removal of Alabama's prison system from federal court control.

Mr. Thigpen has been a very active member of ACA, serving as chairman of several of the Association's committees. In addition, he has served as president of the Southern States Correctional Association, an ACA affiliate. Mr. Thigpen has attended and contributed to the National Institute of Corrections' Advisory Board hearings and has been an active member of the National Drug Task Force. He also has been president and an active leader of the Association of State Correctional Administrators and recently received its 1992 Michael Francke Award for his outstanding contributions and achievements in Alabama and Mississippi.

Mr. Thigpen's compelling guidance and exemplary leadership have inspired employees, others in the criminal justice system, and those interested in a better correctional system to look beyond political interests, budget restraints and crowding as well as other obstacles that stand in the way of a better tomorrow.

ACA is proud to bestow its highest honor, the Edward R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award, upon Morris L. Thigpen.

Gail D. Hughes

Gail D. Hughes' vision of corrections and long history of accomplishments put him in the forefront of innovative correctional practitioners. His professional career has spanned 40 years, during which he has served in various positions in probation, parole and institutional services and touched the lives of countless corrections professionals.

Mr. Hughes began his career with the Missouri Department of Corrections as a caseworker at the Missouri State Penitentiary in 1952. In 1957, he became an institutional parole officer with the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole.

In 1965, Mr. Hughes was appointed chief state supervisor of the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole, where he was responsible for the state's probation and parole field services and institutional parole services.

Mr. Hughes kept Missouri in the forefront of innovation with his progressive ideas. Under his leadership, the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole undertook a number of initiatives, including the Client Analysis Scale, community resource units, specialized caseloads, intake programs, an extensive volunteer program, citizens advisory boards and community sentencing.

After more than 20 years as chief state supervisor, Mr. Hughes became deputy director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, where he served until his retirement in early 1993. While in this position, he broadened his involvement in corrections and significantly improved Missouri's correctional institutions.

His contributions to ACA have been many through the years. Mr. Hughes has served on the Membership Committee and Program Council and is a past chairman of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee. Currently, he serves as a Board of Governors representative to the Association's Executive Committee.

Mr. Hughes helped develop ACA standards for adult probation and parole field services, and he has written extensively on alternatives to imprisonment and the importance of probation and parole in today's criminal justice community.

Mr. Hughes also has participated in other associations and correctional organizations. He served as president of both the Missouri Corrections Association and the Central States Corrections Association, and he is a longtime member of the Association of Paroling Authorities International. Mr. Hughes has contributed in many ways to the development of the American Probation and Parole Association and serves on its board of directors. He has been an auditor for the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections as well as an adviser to the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Corrections on adult probation and parole issues.

Those who know and have worked with Mr. Hughes know him as a trustworthy leader and a beloved teacher. He is a man of integrity who is deeply committed to the field. In recognition of his excellent leadership in the field of corrections, ACA is proud to bestow its highest honor, the Edward R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award, upon Gail D. Hughes.

The Honorable Helen G. Corrothers

Since her humble beginnings in the rural South, The Honorable Helen G. Corrothers has dedicated her life to the advancement of the field of corrections and to the support of victims. Her many accomplishments have spanned more than 20 years, and are marked by major groundbreaking roles. Her work with victims has been carried on simultaneously wi corrections career.

Commissioner Corrothers has served with distinction in the U.S. Army--she received the National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. She was also Distinguished Military Graduate from Officer Leadership School.

Commissioner Corrothers began her corrections career in 1970. She became warden of the Arkansas Women's Unit in Pine Bluff, a position she held for 12 years. She was the first woman and first African American to hold that position. While she was warden, Commissioner Corrothers did volunteer work for the Juvenile Court, a battered women's shelter and helped rape victims. During that time, she introduced literacy classes, counseling and a job skills program, and also succeeded in having her facility accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections--the first in Arkansas so recognized. In addition, she received local and national recognition and acclaim for her rehabilitative success with predominantly violent offenders.

Commissioner Corrothers received her first federal appointment from President Ronald Reagan in 1983, when she was appointed to the U.S. Parole Commission and became responsible for national policy development and formulation. In January 1984, Commissioner Corrothers assumed command of the Commission's 14-state Western Region, headquartered in Burlingame, Calif. In this position, she handled administration, release decisions and the training of several hundred probation officers, as well as quasi-judicial duties such as issuing summons, warrants and subpoenas for the U.S. Marshals Service. In 1985, President Reagan appointed her commissioner for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where she served from October 1985 to November 1991. She had the honor of being sworn in by the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. In her role as commissioner, she helped establish sentencing policies for the federal criminal justice system. Commissioner Corrothers was the first African American woman to serve on either commission.

In her role as victim's advocate, Commissioner Corrothers has been honored with a seat on the Board of Directors of The Volunteers of America Inc., one of the nation's most diverse human service organizations. The organization also bestowed upon her its Maud Booth Award for her recognition of the human potential of inmates.

Commissioner Corrothers has served ACA tirelessly for more than 10 years in various capacities. Her devotion to the Association has contributed immensely to its recognition as the authority on correctional trends. Commissioner Corrothers, who recently completed a term of office as president, was the first African American officer of ACA and the first woman elected as the Association's treasurer. She has also affected ACA policy through her efforts to have more women and minorities serve on both major and plenary sessions of the Association's conferences. In addition, Commissioner Corrothers has worked on special policies to ensure the retention of ACA members.

Currently, she is an officer and member of ACA's Executive Committee, and a member of the National Board of Directors for the National Assembly of National Voluntary Health and Social Welfare Organizations Inc. Commissioner Corrothers recently became a fellow with the National Institute of Justice, where she is developing a national model for a community punishment system using intermediate sanctions, a project of her own design. She is the first African American woman to become a fellow with the agency.

Because of her outstanding leadership and devoted service to the field of corrections, ACA is proud to bestow its highest honor, the Edward R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award, upon Helen G. Corrothers.
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Title Annotation:American Correctional Association, E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:Experts speak out on the use of sanctions.
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