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Certification program raises standards for corrections.

Nicholas Demos, a retired U.S. Department of Justice official, heard about the American Correctional Association's Certification Program and e-mailed: "Nearly 20 years ago, I worked on [certification] quite intensively while at [the Department of] Justice.... One has only to read the newspapers every day to know the importance of establishing higher standards and supporting the certification process for corrections."

ACA's national Certification Program began certifying corrections professionals in August 2000. The number of Certified Corrections Professionals (CCPs) has grown from the original eight individuals to more than 400. The passage of time means that the Certification Program is entering into a new phase--the initial three-year certification period is expiring for an increasing number of CCPs.

After becoming certified (by qualifying and passing a 200-item, multiple-choice examination), all CCPs must keep current their skills and knowledge about the corrections field. This is accomplished by each CCP accumulating continuing education contact hours by:

* Participating in corrections-related training, education or online courses;

* Attending or participating in national, regional, state or local conferences;

* Publishing an article, book chapter or book on a corrections-related topic;

* Participating in a formal reading or study group; or

* Engaging in similar activities that are approved for this purpose by the national Commission on Correctional Certification.

Primary factors considered by certification staff when evaluating the documentation submitted by CCPs seeking re-certification, are that the correct number of continuing education contact hours has been acquired; that these continuing education hours are in at least two of the above categories; that the instructors are qualified; and that the course content is in a corrections-relevant area. For each certification level, the number of continuing education hours required is specified in the chart below.

Those who successfully complete the re-certification process receive a new certificate indicating their achievement. CCPs who do not become re-certified within the three-year period are sent a notice and are automatically granted a six-month "grace period." Once this grace period has expired and still no re-certification application has been received, the individual's original certification is terminated.

With the re-certification of the original groups, and the growing number of interested candidates in applying for certification, it appears that many have drawn the same conclusion as Demos--that it is indeed important to establish higher standards in the field of corrections.
Certification Number of
Category CE Credits

Executive 100
Manager 80
Supervisor 60
Officer 40

Robert B. Levinson. Ph.D., is a certification specialist in the American Correctional Association Professional Development Department.
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Title Annotation:Professional Development Update
Author:Levinson, Robert B.
Publication:Corrections Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Previous Article:Controlling the debate.
Next Article:Director of adult and juvenile detention.

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