A Network of Similarities and Differences

By Klug, Elizabeth | Corrections Today, February 2000 | Go to article overview

A Network of Similarities and Differences


Klug, Elizabeth, Corrections Today


What do age, gender, degree of offense, health care and work stress have in common? Each must be dealt with on a daily basis by correctional administartors. However, each administrator deals with these issues differently due to the wide range of correctional systems across the United States. Whether one works with juveniles or adults, females or males, in a maximum or minimum security facility, prison administrators share the common bond of working in a risk management environment and dealing with many similar situations. The Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) brings administrators together and gives them the opportunity to discuss their day-to-day problems and accomplishments, exchange ideas and gain information from their colleagues, no matter how different or similar their systems are.

"ASCA is a collaborative association of people who generally are in the same fix," says ASCA President Joseph Lehman. "Every member runs a large, complex organization that involves risk management in both institutional and community environments and each is faced with controversy and challenges. Every one of us brings something different to the organization and each person benefits from the opportunity of hearing what problems exist and how other organizations handle them."

Established in 1970, ASCA was created to help correctional administrators grow professionally and gain a sense of support by sharing their experiences, ideas and knowledge. ASCA makes this possible through professional development seminars, which are coordinated by executive director George Camp. A variety of seminars are held throughout the year including an annual all-directors' training session. In addition, ASCA has two business meetings a year that are held in conjunction with the American Correctional Association's conferences.

According to Lehman, these meetings "give correctional administrators the opportunity to engage in dialogue about what's working, what isn't working, what problems are surfacing and finding solutions. A majority of the work for conferences is done by a series of volunteer committees for which chairs are appointed by the president. There are approximately 12, 10 to 18-member committees, each tackling critical operational or emerging issues the association wants to address. The committees include the Difficult-to-Manage Inmate Committee, Juvenile and Designated Youthful Adult Offenders Committee, Native American Issues Committee, Policy and Resolutions Committee, and Legislative and Legal Issues Committee. …

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