Individuals honored at the 2005 Winter Conference.

Author:Comey, Philip
Position:2005 Winter Conference Phoenix

During the 2005 Winter Conference, the American Correctional Association presented awards that honored individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to the corrections field.

Evelyn Dixon, a student at Jackson State University seeking a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a correctional case manager with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, received the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Award for her commitment in aspiring to reach her dreams despite a difficult struggle, much like Martin Luther King Jr. faced reaching for his dream to bring equality to all people. Despite a tight budget and a demanding home life, Dixon completed an associate's degree in criminal justice studies at the University of Mississippi Delta Community College. As a case manager, she helps inmates obtain employment, education and treatment. In accepting the award, Dixon acknowledged that working full time, raising children and pursuing an education is not easy, but that it is well worth it. "Thank you. I'm very appreciative to the election committee for bestowing me with such a great honor, and I also thank the American Correctional Association for making this award possible," Dixon said. In addition, she thanked the leadership of the Mississippi DOC for its guidance and encouragement to apply for this award, as well as her family members for their support.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Florida received the Exemplary Offender Program Award, for its In-Jail Substance Abuse Treatment Program, an eight-week program with a heavy emphasis on relapse prevention. It includes two hours of group substance abuse treatment counseling daily, individual treatment counseling, daily educational classes and life skills classes such as parenting and AIDS awareness. The program also extends its reach into residential life through formulated plans for continued substance abuse counseling for inmates when they return to the community and a transitional release plan with a community case worker.

Since July 2001, 1,113 inmates have participated in the program, with 91 percent of them graduating. There has been a 27 percent improvement in the recidivism rate of inmates who complete the substance abuse treatment program compared with those who did not participate. Jan Bates, Maj. Elaine White and Joel Pietsch were present to accept the award on behalf of the sheriff's office and thanked ACA for the award and attributed their success to dedicated personnel. "The key to any...

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