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Conference workshops explore a variety of correctional issues.

Attendees of the 1998 ACA Winter Conference in San Antonio were treated to a plethora of workshops and seminars on topics from health care to the death penalty. Below are highlights from a few of those workshops.

Managed Care and Preventive Medicine

The most effective way to improve the quality of health care in prisons while reducing costs is to manage health care delivery, including the implementation of preventive medicine, education and the careful management of off-site visits, according to presenters at the "Managed Care and Preventive Medicine in Corrections" workshop.

"As we look at health care in corrections, we realize that you not only have to treat the ill, but you have to prevent them from getting ill in the first place," said Herbert A. Rosefield, assistant director of health services for the North Carolina Division of Prisons. "If we do that, we will automatically reduce costs."

Ernest R. Williams, M.D., medical director of Correctional Medical Services for the Orange County Corrections Division, outlined the obstacles to providing preventive care, including lack of training of correctional health care staff; doubts about the effectiveness of preventive medicine; skepticism about patient commitment; limited reimbursement from insurance companies; and conflicting professional involvement.

Punishment vs. Rehabilitation

In the second of two widely anticipated debates, Joseph D. Lehman, secretary of the Washington Department of Corrections, and Terry L. Stewart, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, debated the pros and cons of punishment versus rehabilitation.

"Punishment is a more effective approach than rehabilitation," Stewart said, adding that by focusing on punishment, prison systems can give inmates an incentive to change their lives. "We simply do not know how to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens."

Lehman insisted that "we do have a body of research and information about what constitutes the best practices in what we do." He called for a balanced approach to rehabilitating all those under correctional jurisdiction.

Planning for Emergencies

The need for careful and efficient planning was the overriding consensus of the "Planning for Emergencies" workshop, moderated by Kathleen M. Hawk, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All three speakers agreed on the absolute importance of planning, along with preparation, knowledge and experience when responding to emergencies from natural disasters to riots to equipment failures.

Wayne Scott, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, pointed out that all agencies should consistently plan for the worst; encourage the testing of every aspect of an agency's plan; interface with other agencies prior to a disaster; and critique all of their plans repeatedly. Planning helps to avoid preventable emergencies, save lives and property, reduce reaction times and improve coordination efforts, he said.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:1998 Winter Conference; 1998 American Correctional Association Winter Conference
Author:Harry, Jennifer L.; Clayton, Susan; DeGroot, Gabrielle
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Apr 1, 1998
Words:442
Previous Article:Winter conference attendees network for success.
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