The American Correctional Association (ACA) is the largest correctional association in the world and represents all organizations of corrections within the criminal justice system. “The ACA is comprised of 78 chapters and affiliated organizational members, including federal, state, and military correctional facilities and prisons, county jails and detention centers, community corrections and halfway houses, and probation/parole agencies. The organization leads the cause of corrections and correctional effectiveness for practitioners and to benefit the public” (Gale). In 1870, it was established as the National Prison Association (later renamed the American Prison Association), which makes it the oldest association in the correctional profession. The organization changed its name from the APA to the ACA in 1954 because they recognized that the corrections concept extends beyond prisons and jails.
The ACA contributes towards increasing professional knowledge and abilities by providing an academic forum. The annual conventions focus on information about new philosophies and practices within the correctional disciplines. “The ideas and information exchanged may ultimately affect over 600,000 staff members and inmates in the nation’s correctional systems” (Gale). The ACA also provides professional development, certification to standards and accreditation, and aids with research and publications.
The ACA advocated for rehabilitation by providing offenders with physical exercise, recreation, religious programs, education, and job training. Another issue within the ACA is the treatment and rehabilitation of female offenders. The Association on Programs for Female Offenders (APFO) is an affiliate of the ACA and serves as an advocacy group for female offenders. They advanced correctional concerns that pertain to female offenders. Some concerns are visitation with children, intra-prison pregnancies, and drug treatment programs designed to prevent harm to...
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