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Cultivating criminal justice professional in Maryland.

Since 1985, the Maryland Criminal Justice Association (MCJA) has been an affiliate chapter of ACA. Launching in 1956 as the Maryland Parole, Probation and Corrections Association, this growing professional association meets monthly in Montgomery County, Maryland and continues its mission to cultivate and elevate criminal justice professionals throughout the state.

Over the past few years, MCJA has provided exceptional training in the areas of critical incident management, LGBTQIA inmate practices, security threat groups, leadership and partnerships, wellness in corrections and the Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA). Participants are also offered the opportunity to test for service learning credits through the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC).

According to research supported by Southern Columbia University and conducted by retired Sergeant Thomas Dworak of the Virtus Group, the field of criminal justice is substantially growing. Predictions state that by the year 2021, the criminal justice profession will experience a steady increase of about five percent. Professionals entering this arena will need to be stand out candidates. (1)

Gone are the days when people think of a criminal justice career as only becoming a trained police or correctional officer. Society has begun to understand that professionals who focus on human resources, case management, procurement or medical services can also be geared towards careers that have significance in the criminal justice field. Specialized training or a degree in many fields of study will offer a way to serve the public and help to meet the mission of various criminal justice agencies across the country.

MCJA is comprised of a highly diverse group of 300 professionals in the criminal justice field. Members are encouraged to evolve, grow and develop strengths that will enhance their career and their lives. Members learn to enhance leadership skills, speak with greater authority and confidence and stay current with criminal justice trends. In addition, specifically learning how to enhance a criminal justice career is a major focal point of the association. Members are professionally trained in team-building techniques, tools for better management and supervision and how to negotiate management conflicts or human resources issues.

The association sponsors two successful training events each year in various locations across the state. The MCJA Annual Spring Training Conference is a one-day training event, centrally located, that features top speakers in the field. The MCJA Annual Fall Training Conference is a three-day training event held in Ocean City, Maryland. This event features local, state and nationally renowned speakers and vendors who provide training and interactive participation. A silent auction is held to benefit the MCJA scholarship fund. State and local agencies also receive training waivers and special discounts to ensure maximum attendance by deserving staff who seek training and professional development.

In 2016, MCJA launched the Nan Regan Scholarship to benefit correctional officers and their children with college tuition. This is a one-time scholarship award offered during the Fall Conference. Since its inception in 2016, two recipients have received the award.

The efforts of MCJA are spearheaded by seasoned criminal justice career professionals and partners who hope to have a lasting impact on the future of the overall profession. These professionals serve as board members and ad hoc committee chairpersons. They offer the experience of public service longevity, set a professional standard and serve as successful examples to those who have the desire to do the same. MCJA is dedicated and committed to having a positive long-term impact on the future of all Maryland's criminal justice professionals.

For more information and to be a part of MCJA's future success, you are invited to attend the monthly meetings held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds, Maryland. During the meeting, the board and committee chairs cover current matters and discuss future training programs. Everyone is encouraged to attend and participate in discussions that may impact programs, needs and trends. Contact MCJA President Ivonne Gutierrez at Ivonne.Gutierrez@montgomerycountymd.gov and reserve your seat at the table!

REFERENCES

(1) Dworak, T.(2018). Criminal Justice Outlook. Columbia Southern University. Retrieved from www.columbiasouthern.edu/criminal-justice-job-outlook

BY THE MARYLAND CRIMINAL JUSTICE ASSOCIATION
COPYRIGHT 2018 American Correctional Association, Inc.
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Title Annotation:TRAINING
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Nov 1, 2018
Words:675
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