I am both honored and humbled to serve as president of the Texas Corrections Association. When I began my career in 1989 as a social caseworker on the Beto I unit with what was then the Texas Department of Corrections, I could not foresee this happening.
Many changes have occurred since that time, and I have had the fortune of working as a transitional case manager, institutional parole officer (IPO), parole supervisor, regional IPO Supervisor, Parole Division Section Director and in my current role as Director of Adult Probation for the McLennan County CSCD. I have had the pleasure of serving on the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable and the McLennan County Reintegration Roundtable. I’ve also held correctional officer certification and licensure as a chemical dependency counselor.
Had it not been for my continued involvement in the Texas Corrections Association, my career path would not have been possible. TCA has allowed me to learn about different aspects of the criminal justice system in Texas and has afforded me the opportunity to network with the finest corrections professionals in the world.
TCA has truly become an umbrella agency. Membership includes individuals that serve adults and juveniles in the areas of custody/care of offenders, reentry, probation/parole, offender treatment/programming, pre-trial services, etc. It also includes a wide variety of vendors that offer correctional goods and services. This is not meant to be an all-encompassing listing, and I apologize to those that I may have failed to recognize. The point that I am trying to make is our diversity gives us strength.
Our department recently compiled a strategic plan and, in doing so, we created a vision statement: “We envision being a dynamic organization that embraces change while recruiting, training and retaining criminal justice professionals that are equipped and committed to providing quality service to the Courts, clients and community.” During my term as president of TCA, I believe that we should share in this vision.
We can certainly focus on recruitment by challenging one another to spread the message of TCA as an umbrella agency to those we currently work alongside with. Additionally, we can utilize existing relationships with schools and universities to bolster membership of individuals who are working toward careers in the field of corrections.
In developing our conference trainings, we should focus on topics that are timely and relevant to our diverse membership. During our conferences, we should challenge ourselves to network with others outside of our area of expertise and gain a better understanding and appreciation for the role they play. Doing so will allow for growth as individuals and as an association.
I believe that by following these steps, TCA will continue to retain “criminal justice professionals that are equipped to provide quality service,” no matter what role we play as individuals. Again, I am proud to serve as president of TCA, and I’m committed to the growth of the association.