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Policy ratified, resolutions adopted at summer congress.

NASHVILLE--One policy dealing with employee assistance programs was ratified, and two resolutions dealing with incarceration of undocumented immigrants and NIC's budget reduction were adopted by the ACA Board of Governors and Delegate Assembly during the 1993 Congress of Correction.

Public Correctional Policy On Employee Assistance Programs

Introduction: The most valuable resource in any correctional agency is the staff employed by that agency. Corrections is a service delivery enterprise with people as its most important product. The employees who deliver these services should be afforded all reasonable assistance to allow them to do the best job possible.

Policy Statement. Employee assistance programs should be made available to all employees. The programs should address employee needs and requirements that will help ensure a high level of on-the-job performance. Correctional agencies should:

A. Establish employee assistance programs based on appropriate assessment of employee needs and desires;

B. Publicize program availability regularly and frequently in a variety of ways to ensure that all employees know not only what is available to them, but also how to access and participate in them;

C. Provide programs at no cost to the employee where possible. Where the employee must pay some or all of the cost of the program/service, it should be an amount that does not exceed what that person could reasonably be expected to pay;

D. Provide an employee in the central/main office of the agency who would be responsible for coordinating all employee assistance programs. Each facility or major organizational unit should have one person designated as the coordinator of employee assistance programs;

E. Ensure programs and services are provided either directly by the agency or by other public or private agencies to which the employee is referred for assistance;

F. Require the Employee Assistance Program Coordinator to report at least quarterly on the level and type of activity that has occurred. That information should be used to assess the need for adding, deleting or modifying specific employee assistance programs; and

G. Ensure employee requests or referrals for assistance remain confidential, unless the employee expressly elects to waive confidentiality.

Resolution on National Institute of Corrections Budget Reduction

WHEREAS, the National Institute of Corrections, an agency of die U.S. Department of Justice, was created by Congress to provide assistance to state and local corrections, nationwide; and

WHEREAS, the National Institute of Corrections, since its inception, has proven to be an invaluable source of technical assistance, training and information to state and local corrections; and

WHEREAS, the delivery of these services is now more important than ever, given the tremendous pressures confronting American corrections;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the membership of the American Correctional Association, that we strongly oppose any cutback of the National Institute of Corrections' budget or the services it delivers.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that this Resolution, upon adoption, be immediately forwarded to the President, Attorney General, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of the United States.

Resolution on Incarceration of Undocumented Immigrants

WHEREAS, the American Correctional Association represents the interest of all state prison administarator in the United States; and

WHEREAS, there are tens of thousands of undocumented aliens who each year commit crimes and are sentenced to state prisons in the United States; and

WHEREAS, these undocumented criminal felons in state prisons collectively cost state governments almost $1 billion each year; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has been unable to prevent these undocumented aliens from entering the United States; and

WHEREAS, the number of undocumented criminal felons in state prisons has been annually escalating at an alarming rate;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Correctional Association urges Congress and the President to annually appropriate sufficient federal funding to reimburse the states and localities for the full cost of housing undocumented criminal felons, or in the alternative, take and hold in continuous federal custody these undocumented criminal felons until deportation proceedings are completed or their sentences are satisfied.

The following DRAFT policy was reviewed and placed in the membership input process by the Board of Governors and Delegate Assembly. There will be a public, hearing on this policy during the Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 15.

ACA members are encouraged to provide input. If you would like to do so, contact Parker Evatt, Commissioner, South Carolina Department of Corrections, 4444 Broad River Road, P.O. Box 21787, Columbia, SC 29221; (803) 896-8555.

ACA Sentencing Policy

Introduction: Changes in U.S. sentencing policies have been a major cause of an unprecedented prison population expansion in the past 20 years. The cost of constructing and operating prisons at a time of decreasing revenues is getting die attention of more and more elected officials who have to make the difficult budget decisions. In addition, the absence of a noticeable reduction in adult crime rates as incarceration rates have climbed raises serious questions about the efficacy of America's sentencing policies.

Sentencing policy today takes many forms. In some venues legislatures have taken authority over that policy, leaving little discretion in the sentencing of individual offenders to the judiciary. Under these circumstances "sentencing" discretion is shifted to the prosecutors and takes the form of plea bargaining and charge selection. In others, judges and parole boards retain wide discretion on a case-by-case basis. In still others, sentencing commissions have been given responsibility for defining how offenders are punished. But whatever its form, sentencing policy directly affects what the correctional practitioner does on a daily basis, and to the extent that this policy fails in fairness and rationality, then our practice is adversely affected.

For that reason, we as members of the American Correctional Association, have a vested interest in the sentencing policies which we must carry out, and as implementors of these policies we have a unique vantage point from which to provide input on their effectiveness and consequences. If we do not provide that voice of our collective experience on this matter, then sentencing practices, nationwide, will fail to be as soundly based as they should be in this important public policy area.

Policy Statement. It is important for correctional professionals and their association to take an active role in voicing concerns and providing input into the establishment of sound sentencing policies. The American Correctional Association should:

A. Develop and actively advocate, in coordination with the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, model sentencing policies. Those policies should:

1. Be based on the principle of proportionality. The punishment imposed should be commensurate with the seriousness of the crime and the harm done.

2. Be impartial. Both the individual discretion exercised in sentencing and the policies that define how offenders are to be punished must be impartial with regard to race, ethnicity, gender and economic status.

3. Include a broad range of options for punishing, controlling and treating offenders, including total confinement, residential and non-residential community-based programs, community service, restitution and day fines.

4. Be purpose driven. They must be based on a clearly articulated understanding of the purposes they purport to have. Sentencing policy should be grounded in knowledge of the relative effectiveness of the various punishments we impose in our attempts to achieve these purposes.

5. Encourage the evaluation of sentencing policy on an ongoing basis. The monitoring of the use of the various sanctions should be done to determine their relative effectiveness based on the purpose(s) they are intended to have. Likewise, monitoring should take place to ensure that the sanctions are not applied based on race, ethnicity, gender or economic status.

6. Recognize this the official sentence must be based on multiple criteria. In addition to the crime of conviction, consideration should be given to such factors as the harm done to the victim, the past criminal history, the need to protect the public and die opportunity to treat the offender as a means of reducing die risk for future crime.

7. Allow for recognition of individual case differences. Sentencing policy should provide the framework to guide and control discretion according to established criteria and within appropriate limits, but must allow for tailoring of sentences within those limits to fit each case presented to the court

8. Have as a major purpose restorative justice--righting the harm done to the victim and the community. The restorative focus should be both process and substantively oriented. The victim or their representative should be included in the "justice" process. The sentencing procedure should address the needs of the victim including their need to be heard and as much as possible to be and feel restored to whole again.

9. Adhere to the principle of imposing the least restrictive amount of control necessary to achieve the appropriate treatment of the offender. Sentencing policy should be based on the presumption that for most offenders the community is the best, and in the long run the most economical, setting for positive change. Community-based programs should be utilized for those offenders who, consistent with public safety, can be retained there.

10. Be linked to the resources needed to implement the policy. The consequential cost of various sanctions should be assessed. Sentencing policy should not be enacted without the benefit of a fiscal impact analysis. Resource allocations should be linked to sentencing policy so as to ensure adequate funding of all sanctions including total confinement and the broad range of intermediate sanction and community-based programs needed to implement those policies.

B. Promulgate information concerning sentencing policies including model guidelines which will encourage more rational sentencing practices and reduce nationwide sentencing disparity.

C. Develop and implement an extensive education program to inform the public and elected officials about the need for informed policy in this area.

1. Develop and implement a capacity to provide corrections agencies with printed and audio visual material describing model sentencing guidelines.

2. Provide technical assistance and information packets explaining how to effectively use the media, both electronic and print, including editorial boards as a means of engendering support for improved sentencing policies.

3. Provide technical assistance and/or information packets on establishing speakers bureaus and act as a clearinghouse providing experts to speak to public groups and/or testify before legislatures to the subject of sentencing policy.
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Title Annotation:American Correctional Association's 123rd Congress of Correction
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:Juvenile justice news.
Next Article:Why Punish the Children? A Reappraisal of the Children of Incarcerated Mothers in America.

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