Founded in 1870, the American Correctional Association (ACA) remains one of the revered organizations with over 200,000 members or stakeholders (The American Correctional Association, 2017). Some of these members include staff from different correctional facilities, experts in the criminal justice system, public representatives, social workers, and human service professionals. The association has attracted several agencies in order to focus on the unique issues and challenges affecting the realm of prisons and corrections in the United States. The ACA takes up leadership roles in an attempt to transform correctional policy. This paper gives a detailed analysis of the ACA’s impact on prisoners’ rights and the wider field of corrections.
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Impact on Prisoner’s Rights
The ACA has been on the frontline to support the rights of many inmates and prisoners in the United States. Injustices in the American criminal justice system are not new. Past studies in the country have indicated that minority groups such as Latinos and African Americans have increased chances of being victimized within the criminal justice system (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). Such injustices and malpractices have affected the outcomes of many people especially those in underserved communities. These injustices occur from the moment a victim is arrested and incarcerated. It is also agreeable that the country’s Constitution provides specific rights, liberties, and freedoms to every offender (The American Correctional Association, 2017). The ACA has therefore been on the frontline to ensure such liberties are available to every offender.
The association has been liaising with different departments, policymakers, and the police to ensure arrested individuals receive fair trial. This process is embraced in order to reduce chances of incarcerating a citizen who has not committed a crime or offense. Another unique objective of the ACA has been to monitor the criminal justice process. Speeding up the judicial process is something that has been influenced by this agency (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). Consequently, more people are currently able to receive timely and fair sentencing procedures. In order to achieve this goal, the association collaborates with legal experts and attorneys. Consequently, the strategy has made it easier for juvenile and adult prisoners to get fair trials.
The association presents adequate strategies to promote the efficiency of correctional efforts and services across the nation. The current level of cooperation has led to a stronger correctional services system in the country. For instance, the increasing number of community-based programs and rehabilitation facilities can be attributed to the endless efforts of the ACA. These facilities are used to rehabilitate individuals who are on parole. More often than not, many offenders are paroled before completing their sentences (Conrad, 2016). This approach has made it easier for more offenders to pursue their goals in life.
The actions of the ACA have gone further to develop powerful standards that support the needs of more prisoners (Jacobs & Cooperman, 2012). Whenever they are incarcerated, the prisoners are able to receive standardized custody and care. The agency has supported more offenders depending on their unique needs. The association supports the training of correctional officers in order to address the needs of more prisoners.
The surveys and studies completed by the association have been used by different stakeholders to develop better models for dealing with criminals. These measures have made it easier for more prisoners to receive desirable sentencing procedures and better living conditions (Teitelbaum & Hoffman, 2013). This discussion shows clearly that the association has continued to support the rights of many American prisoners.
Influence on the Field of Corrections
The actions undertaken by the ACA have transformed the field of corrections positively. The first influence arises from “the improved coordination of correctional organizations, programs, and services” (Conrad, 2016, p. 39). The members of the association collaborate whenever focusing on specific policies and projects that have the potential to improve correctional processes in the country. The approach makes it easier for different stakeholders, agencies, and policymakers to come up with new ideas depending on the targeted issue (Teitelbaum & Hoffman, 2013). For instance, new policies aimed at streamlining the judicial process or empowering offenders can be presented by different stakeholders.
This achievement has led to increased efficiency of services across the nation. The ACA supports close relations across the nation in order to exchange ideas. The emerging ideas and proposals are usually informed by the gaps in the country’s correctional field. Community members are also involved in order to present valuable insights that can be used to transform various criminal and correctional procedures (Conrad, 2016). This strategy has continued to attract a wide range of players, institutions, individuals, lobbyists, and human rights activists.
The association has managed to promote better standards that have streamlined the processes of criminal justice delivery, training, and support for offenders. For instance, legal experts are guided to embrace new proposals and suggestions in order to support the needs of their clients. The criminal justice system borrows numerous ideas from the projects completed by the ACA in order to achieve its objectives. The approach has made it easier for more people to receive fair judgment and incarceration.
A wide range of community-based programs have emerged to improve the effectiveness of corrections in the country (Teitelbaum & Hoffman, 2013). The programs are usually aimed at empowerment different stakeholders such as police officers, attorneys, social workers, and community organizers. These measures have streamlined the judicial processes undertaken in the country. Parole, probation, and incarceration facilities have found it easier to complete their duties using different ACA standards. Such standards can be used as evidence-based guidelines that outline how various problems within the wider correctional process can be addressed.
The association presents adequate support and technical assistance in order to ensure every organization engages in evidence-based correctional practices. This goal is founded on the premise that correctional facilities should promote fairness and support the wellbeing of the targeted offenders. The obligation of the ACA is to strike a balance between corrections and the rights of the offenders (Conrad, 2016). That being the case, technical assistance is presented by the agency in order to ensure different stakeholders focus on the best measures to empower the affected citizens.
The association requires every organization to satisfy various standards that have the potential to transform corrections in the country. These standards should be met by facilities that want to be accredited. Consequently, the field of corrections has managed to meet the needs of both criminal justice professionals and prisoners (Human Rights Watch, 2012). This discussion therefore shows clearly that the actions undertaken by the ACA have promoted professionalism in the field of corrections. Conrad (2016) believes strongly the functions and roles of the ACA will continue to revolutionize the nature of corrections in the United States and eventually support the welfare of more citizens.
Conrad, S. (2016). Prison librarianship policy and practice. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Books.
Human Rights Watch. (2012). Old behind bars: The aging prison population in the United States. Web.
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Jacobs, J., & Cooperman, K. (2012). A proposed national corrections college. The New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, 1(1), 1-30. Web.
Siegel, L., & Bartollas, C. (2016). Corrections today. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Teitelbaum, J., & Hoffman, L. (2013). Health reform and correctional health care: How the affordable care act can improve the health of ex-offenders and their communities. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 40(4), 1322-1356. Web.
The American Correctional Association. (2017). Standards. Web.