WHO WE ARE
The Virginia Community Criminal Justice Association is a non-profit membership organization. Membership includes, local community corrections and pretrial services directors, staff, and other individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Our membership includes nearly 450 individuals and organizations representing all sectors of public safety and treatment providers. Code of ethics
The purpose of the Virginia Community Criminal Justice Association (VCCJA) is to enhance public safety through the development and expansion of pretrial, community corrections and other criminal justice programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia, by providing a forum for the discussion and communication of ideas. All members of the Association shall be committed to the standards of excellence, integrity, and professionalism in the delivery of pretrial and community corrections services.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
It is my pleasure and honor to serve as the President of the Virginia Community Criminal Justice Association (VCCJA). It is also a humexperience. I have long held VCCJA in high regard due to the professionalism of its leadership and the work of its members—all members, from Administrative Support to Probation and Pretrial Officers to Directors. There have been many accomplishments over the years and VCCJA is now seen as a state and national leader in the community corrections profession.
As many of you know, I have had the privilege of serving as the President of the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), so I have some knowledge of leading a professional association. However, I also know that at the state level the challenges are much greater as we work much closer with our stakeholders such as the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, legislators, the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), local leadership and many others. Hopefully, my experience with APPA will allow me to be an effective President for VCCJA. I know I have many strong leaders who preceded me in that role, and the membership has come to rely on VCCJA leadership to do the most important thing it can do—lead the association and keep it moving in a positive, forward direction. And I know it is just not one person leading the way, but the work of many!
We face many issues and challenges in the next few months and years:
- Standards of probation supervision and how to best address the concern that we must now meet with clients every 30 days. I have been involved in this field in one capacity or another for 40 years, and during that time we have always supervised clients based on risk and needs, placing them into levels of supervision that best addressed the safety of the community and the well-being of the clients. We may be taking a step backwards right now, but working in partnership with the DCJS leadership, I am confident we will eventually return to evidence based supervision and contacts based on risks and needs. We know this standard will hamper us, and we know it is not effective in the supervision of our clients, but we will adhere to it and see what changes we can make over the course of time to return to evidence based supervision of clients in the community. We must look at how we move into a next phase of EBP, such as EPICS, if we adhere to the 30 days contact standard. It potentially hinders us in the quest to be innovative, creative, and forward thinking in our supervision of clients. We must ensure that all the Directors, members, and stakeholders fully understand the reasoning and science behind doing supervision in the right way.
- We are going to experience the changes in PRAXIS and we will, again, work closely with DCJS to ensure we implement those changes in the right way—thoughtfully, professionally, and with input from the field. We do it that way so that we can ensure our courts, prosecutors and defense bar fully understand why the changes are being made and how they will improve pretrial services.
- As many of you know, the Virginia State Crime Commission is now studying the pretrial system in Virginia, and we faced a loss in anticipated new pretrial funding this past year. We must work closely with the Crime Commission, DCJS, and others to ensure that the study reflects all the good that pretrial services brings to the field of community corrections and the criminal justice system. We also must closely work with DCJS, the Secretary’s office and others to ensure that the new funding comes about and is applied to those jurisdictions lacking pretrial services.
- We must get our members more involved with committees and running for elective offices within VCCJA. We must strive to make committee work and elected office appealing to all. Our association is fueled by the work done in committees—Probation Advancement, Conference, Training, Public Relations, Legislative, Fund Raising, Awards, Nominations/Membership, Cultural Awareness; and those ad hoc committees working on specific projects. We must have Directors supporting our members being involved in the association’s work—serving on committees, running for office, contributing in some manner. We must encourage this and we must appeal to members to be leaders. I have always cringed when I have heard a Probation and/or Pretrial Officer say: “I am just a PO.” They are so much more than just a PO, they are a professional, leading offenders to change, serving as a positive role model, effectively changing someone else’s behavior, and being a leader in the community. And they can be a leader in VCCJA.
- We must continue to work closely with DCJS on matters related to advancing our profession, whether through our committees, through training, through ongoing dialog with DCJS leadership. DCJS is not only our primary funding source, but the agency is our primary partner.
- PTCC is a system in need of changing. We recognize that, DCJS recognizes that, and it is time we begin working together with DCJS to make the changes necessary to provide us with a client data system that meets everyone’s needs.
I know there are other issues, challenges, and opportunities we must look at in the upcoming months and years; and by no means are the items above all that I see in the future to be work items. We are in an ever changing profession and we have made great strides to be leaders in our profession. My overarching goal is to ensure that VCCJA remains a progressive, forward thinking, dynamic association; that continues to serve its membership, partners, and stakeholders in the highly professional manner it has for many years.
I look forward to serving as your President for the next 2 years and I thank you very much for the opportunity to serve.