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In the Spirit of Those Who Shaped the Justice Industry
By Bernita Carmichael, Managing Director at SAFEPAC
Published: 02/09/2015

Justice scale The Justice industry has a progressive movement and the transformation of the justice industry is growing more rapidly than ever. Like signs of maturation our voices are changing; innovative agendas are breaking ground, gender equality in the workforce is on a rise, and pipelines for our future leaders are being restored. We’ve transitioned from eras where justice wasn’t for all; the legalization of marijuana didn’t exist, and the workforce was predominately men. Our history is something to marvel about! Especially, when writers today are raising awareness in areas such as “A Surge of Elderly in Prisons”; noting the last baby boomer will be 65 years of age by 2030. Makes you think about the quality of care and how detention facilities are not designed for geriatric care. It’s a significant struggle for the booming Occupational Safety and Health Professionals to get the buy-in from stakeholders to provide more ergonomic friendly detention beds. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 are 45 years old to date and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is 25 years old to date as well. In the spirit of those who shaped the justice industry; it’s time to evolve and embrace the change in demands. Don’t miss the train!

As various criminal justice related conferences add new members; exhibitors are also picking up the pace in providing what’s current for industry professionals. For example, double bunk cell beds with fixed ladders, key watch systems with more asset management features for items like radio’s, and all sorts of industry driven tools to create a safe and healthy environment as well as a resilient workforce. Now what you don’t typically see at exhibits are basic creature comforts or things geared towards employees. (Ding Dong) Although it’s said exhibitors are looking for the carte blanche; it would be an added benefit to exhibit a room filled with equal concern (Employee’s & Operational needs). The same method can be applied for conference programs and mixing it with a bit of reality and spirited speakers. Our future leaders from our universities could greatly benefit learning not only from the industry professional but also learning from their peer groups. The Middle Atlantic States Correctional Association (MASCA) displays a great interest in providing a generation friendly conference with a greater mix of future leaders alongside notable seasoned justice professionals. MASCA has a great amount of diversity and great fuel for their members. Many associations are struggling that’s been in existence since the late 1800’s so do your research and select who fits your professional goals and values.

As time continues to go forward our hearts and minds should draw closer to repair succession plans as era’s come to an end. Visiting local colleges and universities to give back or pay it forward to stimulate our industry seeds can create a pipeline of retention across the board. Connecting with our academic partners to gather data such as dropout rates, test scores, or finding out what their critical needs are not only contributes to our academic partners; it’s shapes the future of our industry. Customarily, many fundraisers are typically directed to local public schools (Elementary & High School) but keep in mind our colleges and universities have the same needs. As many wait for proposed bills to be passed such as President Barack Obama proposal for free community college; it only takes picking up a phone and engaging ourselves with the local academic community (Go beyond Grants). One program recently introduced by Howard University Sociology and Anthropology Department Chaired by Dr. Rubin Patterson is their Inside Out Prison Exchange Program. After reviewing the program and generating a bigger picture the program may support reimaging the justice professional, create a pipeline of retention, and contribute to the reduction of the recidivism rate. The ultimate question is, “How dedicated is Temple University College of Liberal Arts National Center for the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program”? The Inside Out Center website states, “The program originated from an offender named Paul (deceased) and Founder Lori Pompa brought his vision to life”. It’s a combination of service learning, pedagogy, and ultimately an exchange process between academics and industry.

The exposure and exchange between industry professionals with the academic community creates not only dialogue but it’s a method that can be geared towards implementing a pipeline for retention and captures all of the benefactors in mind. Many raise questions on the longevity of the justice industry and how it appears we are being crippled as many have been called out of retirement to fill positions our future leaders could be prepped for. The recycle bin is at capacity for many organizations with very few timelines on when the recycling will end. Here’s a thought; if the employee has been retired for 5 years or more that means you’re spending more time to reprogram them and they’re not current with the times versus recruiting fresh blood. This makes it more familiar for the retiree to defer to best practices however best practices aren’t always best at keeping up with the times. Internships are based on mentoring; this same process is applicable in-house and it’s always good to follow-up with your interns to see where they are in life, school, and their career. Having a 360° approach as academics and industry professionals provides support for issues that arise such as “Community Policing”, Homelessness, Reduction in Recidivism, and Quality Assurance. It’s all part of making a difference to one another and the whole community we serve. Let’s get back to being a service and providing improved transitional services!

It’s still the start of the New Year and “In The Spirit of Those Who Shaped the Justice Industry”, let’s make a PAC (Pact) to bridge the gaps in partnerships, be equally concerned in our industry, and birth a new fruitful era today. That’s the PAC in SAFEPAC!!!

Corrections.com author Bernita Carmichael began her 14-year long career in Washington, DC with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) Central Treatment Facility (CTF). For the last six and a half years she has been a ProBoard Registered Fire Protection Specialist and Registered OSHA Instructor for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DCDOC) where she contributed to DOC achieving their initial American Correctional Association accreditation for the entire DC Jail. She has also contributed to the delivering of Department of Homeland Security Grants for Emergency Management/Interoperability Communications to implement the 1st Correctional Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration for DCDOC. She also sits as the Vice Chairman on the District of Columbia Homeland Security Interoperability Communications Committee spearheaded by the DC Statewide Interoperability Coordinator Jeffrey Wobbleton. Her passion to serve has birthed her newest creation as Managing Director of SAFEPAC which she states, "Is a seed in progress" for the many seeds her supporters have planted in her.

Other articles by Bernita



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