Creating open dialogue between the various disciplines within state corrections is a relatively new concept. The South Carolina Correctional Association (SCCA), a multidisciplinary organization consisting of corrections professionals, individuals, agencies and organizations involved in all aspects of criminal justice, is the first and only American Correctional Association (ACA) chapter to encourage this kind of interaction.
Recently, SCCA held its annual conference in conjunction with the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (SCNABCJ) and the South Carolina Probation and Parole Association (SCPPA). Conducted Nov. 9-12, 1997, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the conference theme was "Together We Stand: A Partnership for Solutions." Although SCCA and SCPPA had held a joint conference five years prior, this was the first time that these three organizations came together for one event. According to SCCA President Richard Stroker, nearly 600 criminal justice professionals were in attendance, and the meeting was extremely successful.
The idea for a tri-association conference stemmed from cross-membership between the organizations. Stroker says that all three organizations have a tradition of working closely together on numerous issues of mutual interest.
After the presidents and other key members of the three associations convened in November 1996, it was clear that each had something essential and unique to offer, and that a tri-association conference would be larger and stronger than one that any of the organizations could have individually.
The primary focus of the conference was to assist criminal justice professionals in South Carolina through sessions, activities and networking with other professionals to share ideas and perspectives. Agencies were given the chance to highlight and explain new initiatives pertaining to juvenile, adult and community corrections, and criminal justice systems were able to learn more about other systems in the state. Stroker says that currently there is discussion regarding the possibility of holding more conferences in the future in conjunction with these other associations. "All comments that I have received have been very positive," Stroker says. "Each aspect of our meeting involved participation from each association. This led to a well-constructed program that contained pertinent material for all."
In addition to the annual conference, SCCA also sponsors an "I'm Special"...