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Certification: making a statement.

On Jan. 10, 70 people were gathered in a large room in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. They were from all over the country and represented both genders and many races. They ran the gamut in terms of age, height and other personal and physical characteristics, and claimed a variety of occupational titles. Despite their many differences, they were gathered in the hotel room with a single purpose--to make a statement.

What kind of statement was the group there to make and why were they making it? To whom was the statement being made? What would be the impact of that statement? The answers to these questions are the very heart of the Certified Corrections Professional (CCP) program initiated by the American Correctional Association Professional Development Department four years ago.

Since its inception, more than 750 individuals (including 70 in New Orleans) have come forward to make a statement. They include correctional executives, managers, supervisors and officers. The individuals completed applications, submitted required documentation, studied recommended materials and took an examination--all to become CCPs. Since being awarded CCP status, they have engaged in continuing education activities to assure recertification after a three-year period.

What kind of statement did the group in New Orleans make and why were they making it? In pursuing the certification process, each individual proclaimed his or her belief that the field of corrections is indeed a profession. Each person sought to transcend the thinking that corrections was merely a job or a mindless occupation. Each strove to increase the credibility of the corrections field by showing that it attracts knowledgeable practitioners who possess specific skills and abilities.

To whom were they making a statement? Perhaps some were making a statement to clear up public misperceptions and misunderstandings about corrections and what it entails. More than likely, however, the statement was personal. It was made as a self-affirmation that corrections is a vocation that requires education, specialized training and a high level of commitment. The corrections professionals made their statement because they believe that they are members of a true profession that deserves to have appropriate credentials associated with it.

What would be the impact of the statement? Answers to this last question are more varied and subjective. In some cases, the impact was perhaps a sense of gratification that comes with embarking on a course of study and mastering the material. In other cases, the impact was experiencing greater self-confidence or self-assurance that comes with validating what one knows and building on that knowledge.

Moreover, in still other situations, the impact would be tangible. Based on a review of individuals who have recently become CCPs, passing the examination led to greater opportunities or promotions within their organizations. Many have reported that attaining certification caught the attention of management, who recognized their initiative and acknowledged their achievement.

The above is best illustrated in talking with CCP Randy Watson, who was in the original group that tested for Certified Correctional Manager (CCM). When asked why he took the examination Watson replied, "Becoming a Certified Correctional Manager allowed me to validate that I was a part of a profession--one that requires unique knowledge and skills."

Since becoming a CCM, Watson has been promoted twice. He currently serves as assistant commissioner for security within the Maryland Division of Correction. Also, it should be noted that Watson was the first individual to become dually certified--moving from CCM to Certified Correctional Executive (CCE)--last October.

Watson's sentiments are echoed by John J. Ford III, CJM, CCE, assistant administrator at the Criminal Justice Center in Nashville, Tenn., who stated that "[T]he addition of a CCP designator following your name places you in a great position when applying for a job or promotion. It places you in a group that is recognized as professionals in a field. CCP is not the one thing that will get a person promoted--it is that additional piece that will make you stand out as an achiever."

Watson and Ford are certainly not alone, as interest in the certification process has continued to build. Louisiana and Maryland have large numbers of certified personnel working in their correctional facilities. The Professional Development Department receives several calls a day from interested candidates who are just learning about the program and are searching for ways to enhance their professional growth and development.

As noted, Professional Development staff are available and welcome the opportunity to talk to prospective certification candidates. Staff can provide information packets, explain the required procedures, and provide guidance in selecting the appropriate level, completing the paperwork and preparing for the examination.

Like the group in New Orleans, correctional staff will continue to gather to make a statement in the months and years ahead. In attaining certification, they will demonstrate to themselves and others that corrections is a bona fide profession. By becoming CCPs, they will set higher standards of performance and achievement for themselves, and in doing so, enhance their self-image and their careers. Most important, they will significantly increase the effectiveness of correctional systems throughout the country.

RELATED ARTICLE: Certification Results

As of Jan. 10, the following individuals most recently successfully completed their certification process and are now recognized as Certified Corrections Professionals (CCP). Currently, there are 401 CCPs.

Special recognition is due to David W. Davenport, CCO, CCS, correctional officer for the Calcasieu Correctional Facility in Jennings, La., who became the second CCP in the nation to attain a dual designation when he recently passed his Certified Corrections Supervisor exam.

Roy L. Adams, CCO, Corrections Officer, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, La.

Colby J. Barbier, CCM, Accreditation Division Manager; Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, Lafayette, La.

Mary Barrow, CCO, Sergeant, Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women, St. Gabriel, La.

Jan C. Borskey, CCO, Master Sergeant, Louisiana State Penitentiary

Frances Hayes Brown, CCE, Director, 11th District Court Services, Petersburg, Va.

Steven H. Brumm, CCE, Coordinator, Division of Public Safety, Panama City, Fla.

Larry Chandler, CCE, Warden, Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, LaGrange, Ky.

Diane Davis, CCO, Sergeant, Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women

Carol Duthu, CCM, Assistant Mental Health Director, Louisiana State Penitentiary

Julie S. Eudy, CCM, District Manager/Juvenile, Office of Youth Development, Hammond, La.

Paul M. Fontenot, CCM, Social Worker 5, Louisiana State Penitentiary

Brian David Henry, CCO, Supervisor, Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center, Roanoke, Va.

George S. Hill, CCO, Sergeant, Louisiana State Penitentiary

Scott C. Hobart, CCE, Director, Scott County Juvenile Detention Center, Davenport, Iowa

Melissa J. Ingram, CCO, Master Sergeant, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, St. Gabriel, La.

Napoleon B. Johnson III, CCE, Regional Vice President, The Kintock Group, Newark, N.J.

John Knight, CCO, Master Sergeant, Washington Correctional Institute, Angie, La.

Brandy Landry, CCO, Master Sergeant, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center

Deborah G. Leonard, CCS, Captain, Louisiana State Penitentiary

Bernice Morgan, CCO, Master Sergeant, Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women

Beth A. Oprisch, CCE, Executive Director, Sargus Center, St. Clairsville, Ohio

David Stanley Pearson, CCO, Corrections Officer, Jail North, Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, Charlotte, N.C.

Herbert Ragle, CCM, Major, C. Phelps Correctional Center, DeQunicy, La.

Robert J. Reardon, CCE, Director of Corrections, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office, Lafayette, La.

Roland J. Robert III, CCS, Lieutenant; Elayn Hunt Correctional Center

Eliseo Santana Jr., CCM, Communications Maintenance Manager, Pinellias County Sheriff's Office, Largo, Fla.

Dahn Edward Shaulis, CCS, Case Work Specialist II, Ely State Prison, Ely, Nev.

Dennis C. Shipman Jr., CCS, Lieutenant, Lockart Pre-Release Facility, Lockart, Texas

John D. Simmons, CCM, Captain/Shift Commander, Jail Central, Charlotte, N.C.

Summer M. Slater, CCO, Master Sergeant, Louisiana State Penitentiary

Seth H. Smith Jr., CCM, Director, Mental Health Nursing, Louisiana State Penitentiary

Chad Sokolowski, CCE, Director, Oakview Juvenile Rehabilitation District, St. Clairsville, Ohio

Douglas Scott Terr, CCO, Master Sergeant, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center

Henry Gregory Tete, CCE, Major, Corrections Division, Lake Charles, La.;

Alvin Watts Jr., CCO, Master Sergeant, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center;

Clayton R. Williams, CCM, Director Mental Health, Louisiana State Penitentiary;

J. Walter Wood Jr., CCE, Executive Director, Alabama Department of Youth Services, Montgomery, Ala.

Julie Boston, CCM, is office manager for the American Correctional Association Professional Development Department. Inquiries can be directed to her at (301) 918-1864;; or Bob Levinson at (301)
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Title Annotation:Professional Development Update; Certified Corrections Professional
Author:Boston, Julie
Publication:Corrections Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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