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FAMILY: The Ultimate Natural System
By Lawrence E. Jordan
Published: 06/22/2009

African american family Editors Note: The following is an excerpt from the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency - Sixth District CJNA News Letter, spring/summer 2009 issue

A product of the September 30, 2008 Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency’s (CSOSA) Annual Citywide Community Justice Advisory Network (CJAN) Forum was the development of a Sixth District strategic plan and theme for FY-09. The Sixth District strategic plan is to support the successful offender reintegration process, the expansion of community and criminal justice partnerships, and to increase public safety via best practice Community Corrections methodology.

The theme or mantra for the Sixth District CJAN is the strengthening and preservation of the family unit. According to the standard internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia, family denotes a group of people affiliated by a common ancestry, affinity, or coresidence. The original concept of family referred to relations by “blood,” however, modern anthropologists and philosophers now argue that the concept of “blood” as the standard for defining family must be understood metaphorically. Furthermore, many societies understand the idea of family through diverse concepts such as: economic equality, geographic proximity, education equality, shared hardship experiences, victories and the list is endless.

A common element in understanding the concept of family is that family members assign value to one another, develop emotional trust, have expectations, find support, feel protected and a part of a unique social group. Community Correction professionals understand the strong connection and influence that an offender’s family has in his or her life. Through this understanding of the power and influence of the family (collateral contacts), we at CSOSA believe that it is essential to collaborate and partner with families of offenders as they support one of their own members; to inform the family of the supervision process so that the family can act as a mentoring unit for the offender; and to provide needed referral services when needed to the family to ensure and support the preservation of the family.

We further understand that during these tough economic and trying times, an individual holding on and maintaining the unity and connective-ness of a strong and vibrant family unit may be the deciding variable between success and the “good life”, instead of misery, struggle and the unfulfilled life.


  1. Dazed IT/CO on 06/25/2009:

    For many years at least as many as I can remember, most religious organizations have understood this concept and the value the family possesses in the nurturing of society as a whole. Gangs (STG) have understood this also. It is good to see that governments and especially the criminal justice system accept this concept and the role it plays in how we do our jobs. Even officers who have been through a common life threatening experience will form a bond very close to a family. Those within the military whether they recognize it or not because of their shared experiences share this also. Those who have been incarcerated become a family of sorts because of their common fight against the system. As correctional professionals, if we are going to be successful, the sooner we accept and understand the importance of the family concept and how it works the better able we will be in habilitating those in our custody.

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