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ICA Reaches Out to Corrections Professionals and the Public.

Since its inception in 1979, the Illinois Correctional Association (ICA) has provided networking and professional development opportunities to corrections, probation, court and social service staff across the state. At the same time, it has reached out to the public to educate citizens about the importance and difficulty of correctional work.

Training sessions for members are held four times per year in various locations around the state to give ICA's 1,200 members the opportunity to enhance their skills and gain exposure to other corrections professionals, says ICA President Jerry Butler. In addition, ICA hosts a three-clay conference each fall, offering professional development workshops and an exhibit hall, featuring nearly 40 exhibitors with the latest in correctional products and services. This year's conference, which had the theme "Learning From Experience, Growing by Design," was held Sept. 30 - Oct. 3 in Schaumburg, Ill. Approximately 550 members attended and American Correctional Association President-Elect Charles J. Kehoe was one of the keynote speakers.

In addition to professional development opportunities, Illinois corrections and criminal justice practitioners can use ICA as a means to collectively recommend, initiate and advocate for changes in state and federal laws that will improve conditions in corrections, which ultimately impacts ICA members, according to documentation provided by Butler.

Through its public relations efforts, ICA members work to change society's negative stereotypes about corrections and educates citizens about the reality and difficulty of the work. As a result, they hope the public will lend its support to proposed changes in the corrections field. Being a member of ICA "has given me the opportunity to promote the profession of corrections, which has been my main personal objective during my second term as president," says Butler, retired superintendent of the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles. One of the ways Butler promotes corrections is by speaking before other community and statewide organizations.

ICA has members from county, state and federal levels. Offices include president, vice president, president-elect, secretary and treasurer, as well as several committees, such as marketing, membership, elections and bylaws.

This is the second year ICA offered a scholarship to assist its members and families who are interested in pursuing a college degree. Each year, ICA determines how many ICA Educational Scholarships it can afford. The application process includes a 200-word essay describing the applicant's long-term and short-term goals, both in school and in corrections.

"This is just an additional benefit even though it only affects a small number of people. It shows that we are doing something for our members. It promotes further education plus it promotes the profession of corrections," says Butler.

Butler strongly encourages people to get involved in an organization that is comprised of members who share the same profession, experiences and needs. "ICA has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with corrections professionals all over the country," he says, adding that those contacts aided him during his 31-year corrections career and will aid others as well.

Michele D. Buisch is senior editor of Corrections Today.

Vital Statistics

* Founded: ICA was founded in 1979.

* Objectives: To provide professional development and networking opportunities to members, and to educate the public about the mission of corrections.

* Leadership: Comprised of a president, vice president, president-elect, secretary and treasurer.

* Membership: ICA has approximately 1,252 members.

* Publications: ICA publishes its newsletter, The ICA Bulletin, quarterly.

* Conferences: ICA holds an annual conference each fall.
COPYRIGHT 2001 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Illinois Correctional Association
Author:Buisch, Michele D.
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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