Magazine article Corrections Today

Excellence in Corrections: Moving beyond Buzzwords

Magazine article Corrections Today

Excellence in Corrections: Moving beyond Buzzwords

Article excerpt

At every conference and meeting I attend these days, I hear the same buzzwords: leadership, empowerment, Total Quality Management, teamwork, diversity. I have come to realize that what these words have in common is a concern for the pursuit of excellence in all we do.

Excellence. What does it mean? Does it apply to corrections? And when do we know if we have succeeded in getting there?

For ACA, excellence is more than just a tacit or open-ended contract with our members in which we dedicate ourselves to helping corrections achieve its mission. It is present in everything we do or try to do to benefit this profession.

Some may argue whether our society can afford the cost of correctional excellence as we envision it, but the reality is, we cannot ignore the needs that exist. We may perceive our field's circumstances and problems as being uniquely difficult, but this does not give us an excuse to ignore the necessary changes we must make to achieve excellence.

The more I participate in conferences and meetings outside corrections, the more I realize that people working in this field and those involved in ACA are like other business professionals in many ways. Excellence in any organization is tied to its core values, needs and goals--whatever they may be.

The willingness and determination to strive for something as intangible as correctional excellence is probably at the heart of all we accomplish in corrections. But we must remain mindful that while excellence begins with the mission of our profession or organization, it also must be included as part of each individual's personal mission if we are to create a collective vision for the future of corrections. …

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