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Building on a commitment to training.

Education, training and staff development have been an integral part of ACA since its inception. The National Congress on Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1870 adopted the Declaration of Principles, which proclaimed that:

Special training, as well as high qualities of head and heart, is required to make a good prison or reformatory officer. Then only will the administration of public punishment become scientific, uniform and successful when it is raised to the dignity of a profession, and men |and women~ are trained for it, as they are for other pursuits.

Although the content of training has varied, we have always demanded that staff development programs, which typically range from on-the-job training to continuing education programs, be in place. In the years since 1870, we have emphasized the importance of training and staff development in all we have done--workshops at our annual Congresses, Winter Conferences, regional training and chapter and affiliate meetings; correspondence courses; and the development of standards and correctional policy.

The lack of qualified professional management and properly prepared staff were two issues addressed in the first ACA Manual of Correctional Standards, published in 1946. In the most recent edition of Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions, one section of 22 standards relates directly to training while standards in other sections also require specialized training and higher education. Education, training or staff development also are stressed in the corresponding standards for other areas, such as local detention, adult community residential programs, probation and parole, and juvenile programs.

ACA's correctional policy development, a process that began in 1981, reemphasizes the need for adequately trained and professionally competent staff. Of the 28 ratified public correctional policies, 12 specifically include training and two--higher education and staff recruitment and development--are devoted to these issues.

ACA's policy on higher education, unanimously ratified by the Delegate Assembly in January 1990, charges that "academic programs concerned with criminal justice and corrections should provide a pool of qualified candidates for correctional service...." There are currently more than 1,000 institutions of higher education providing criminal justice programs that include criminology and justice-related curriculum.

This issue includes several articles on the challenge of providing relevant education, training and staff development opportunities. Bruce Wolford and Karla Kowalski of Eastern Kentucky University provide a snapshot of training programs offered by federal, state and local juvenile and adult correctional agencies.

Renee Bergeron and Richard Stroker of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services discuss important aspects of implementing a responsive training program. Their article highlights ways training can be integrated into an agency's mission.

Special needs offenders and juveniles continue to challenge all components of the criminal justice system. Gwendolynn Chunn and Cindy Thacker of the North Carolina Division of Youth Services focus on the concerns of the juvenile justice system, and Joann B. Morton of the University of South Carolina outlines ways to help staff work with older inmates and offenders with physical disabilities.

The issue also includes a career guide for correctional employees prepared by the staff of Corrections Today.

The importance of training is evident throughout corrections. I frequently think about the horror stories I heard when I was new to the field. One involved a new officer reporting to work the first day and being locked in a cellblock with 100 inmates; the only training the officer had was a two-minute explanation of which unmarked key fit which unmarked lock. I am proud that ACA has recognized the need for--and has actively advocated--providing professional education, training and staff development.

Judy C. Anderson is warden of State Park Correctional Center in South Carolina. She served as theme coordinator for the staff education portion of this issue.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:correctional officers
Author:Anderson, Judy C.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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