The American Probation and Parole Association’s 41st annual training institute is being held in Cleveland this week, focusing on best practices in community corrections.
About 1,200 criminal justice professionals are expected at the convention for workshops and meetings on both adult and juvenile corrections.
The parole association’s executive director, Veronica Cunningham, says one topic of discussion this week will be on the industry’s more personal approach to ex-offenders. She remembers a case of a young lady who turned out to be stealing repeatedly simply to feed her two younger siblings.
“We’re starting to embrace people like that [and] recognize their strengths. As an industry, we have become more compassionate so it’s not just about quantity; it’s about quality.”
Cunningham adds that technology and data will be at the focus of many of the sessions, since they are an increasingly valuable tool in dealing with a diverse population.
“Many of them have spent a lot of time in prison. So they’re getting out and they’re a lot older than the populations we used to supervise on parole. We all kind of call it ‘geriatric parole.’
"There are some individuals who will get out of prison tomorrow who’ve never used a cell phone. So that’s a whole other set of needs that you have to try to work toward.”
Along with workshops and presentations, there will be more than 70 exhibitors showcasing electronic monitoring and case-management systems.