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Ringing in the new year
By Ann Coppola, News Reporter
Published: 01/26/2009

Aca The American Correctional Association’s 2009 Winter Conference wrapped up in Kissimmee, Florida this month, and hundreds of correctional colleagues gathered from around the United States to workshop, network, and learn from one another. The six-day event, called “Forward Thinking and Futurism,” kicked off the new year for corrections as budgets are tightening and departments face a growing number of new challenges.

This year, ACA went digital with its Winter Conference Blog Team. Five bloggers hailing from Florida’s Orange County Corrections Department, Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas, and ACA detailed their experiences at the conference online. The team took notes on workshops they attended, followed the conference’s registration events and awards ceremonies, and snapped and posted photos.

Celebrity guests at the convention included CNN commentator and chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute, Donna Brazile, along with award-winning chef and New York Times bestselling author Jeff Henderson.

The winter meeting offered nearly 75 workshops to choose from, and the wide range of themes and issues reflected the depth and diversity of correctional careers. Several of the workshops delved into correctional health care and mental health services. Treatment of bipolar disorder, medical litigation, understanding the HPV vaccine, and evaluating electronic heath records were some of the correctional health care issues discussed.

Several women’s issues were also on the table, among them strategies to reduce the female incarceration rate, and successful mother parenting programs. Other workshops addressed discharge planning, offender labor line supervision, and stress and burnout in the correctional environment. Popular audience draws included PREA standards for community corrections and a review of The Second Chance Act.

As always attendees had the chance to review the latest products and services at the ACA Exhibit Hall. One of the vendors demonstrating its wares was Right Track Media. The company introduced its secure media content kiosk, and personal audio devices for inmates to access music, audio books, and rehabilitation materials. In addition, workshops addressed surveillance systems technology and contraband interdiction technologies.

The conference offered several certification examinations in adult and juvenile corrections, security threat groups, and nursing. Additionally, 13 Florida correctional facilities opened their doors for tours, including work release centers, booking and release centers, jails, youth facilities, and major correctional institutions.

Next up for ACA is the 139th Congress of Correction at the Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The event takes place August 7-12, 2009. Related Resources:

More on 2009 Winter Conference Guide

More on the upcoming Congress of Correction


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