MARCH 6TH - 10TH, 1996

New ERA for NCRA - Correctional Major is Developed

Kelly Asmussen Asst. Prof. and David Dunnigan Instructor of Physical Education
Both from Peru State College NE.

This presentation was actually a double presentation with one session right before lunch and another session right after lunch. The afternoon session was a little lighter attended as Kelly shared that Dr Jimmy Calloway had predicted it would be because people were having to think in the session vrs just listen to a lecture and that is uncomfortable.

The general purpose was to discuss how to establish a program, curriculum, set of experiences at a University to allow students to major in Correctional Recreation and its graduates to be prepared and qualified to enter the field.

What are we focused on?

  • behavioral modification
  • occupying time
  • use and misuse of free time and leisure time

    Physical Fitness

  • skill related
  • fitness related

    Competition divides groups of people into winners and losers

    The group began to discuss if Correctional Recreation was a good term for the major or not.
    Correctional Recreation is a politically sensitive term
    What about "activities"
    What about the word "management"
    Mental, emotional, spiritual health?
    Adaptive physical education will be a key in the future

    In the past, some who set out to be Correctional Recreators were unable to qualify for the job due to past events on their personal legal record. Peru State reported taking their students to a place where a quick background check could be ran on them. This helps them be sure they have not forgotten something in their past that might be an obstacle to employment in this field.

    Some areas the graduates need to be fluent in were discussed.
    Standards, regulations, legislative policies, marketing?
    The field needs more publications and more statistics
    How to look at and write / analyze data is a much needed skill
    Computer literacy
    Computers are forbidden in some areas of prison
    The Strength Tech web site was mentioned as an educational and communication tool
    Florida reported they are not allowed to use computers because they have inmate orderlies.

    Recreation is not seen to be of value because it does not directly bring money to the institutions.
    The group was asked "How many of you see what you do as education?"

    Dr. Calloway took the group back to the name change discussion. He said he does not think they need to apologize for being recreators. A name change might create confusion. Those in attendance agreed.


    The second session tried to focus more on curriculum development

    One major focus is "Time management in the prison setting"
    Trying to get behavioral changes.
    Trying to keep the jv population out of prison

    We talked about developing a list of activities / an inventory of things to do
    Are there any good books out there?
    Students need to be taught the entire span of corrections, not just recreation so they know how the system works and what to expect in their interactions with inmates.

    The Univ. of FL at Gainsville (Gail McCall) and a university in the Northwest (Univ of Washington??) have a degree program running now. Dr. Calloway suggested and the group agreed that the board of directors be encouraged to put something in writing that the NCRA would try to assist these 3 schools (those two plus Peru State College in NE) as they try to develop and optimize their programs. This combination of 3 schools offers an east coast, midwest, and west coast site for students.

    At the end of the session we were asked to write down any thoughts, ideas, comments we might have that could help in the guidance of the establishment of a Correctional Recreation major.

    I passed in a chart showing the how the major might be broken into four areas.

  • Family. The student will have some special stresses on their family as they work in this occupation and will be working with many people who have a lot of family problems. A good understanding of family living and its related psychology are important.

  • Temporary Inmate State - This is where the employee works with the inmates in prison. Hopefully it is a temporary state for the inmate. They will one day be released. This is the area most of the education is for. The student needs to understand recreation, time management, budgeting, planning, scheduling, recreation, programming, politics, corrections, etc.

  • Transition Inmate State - This is the state you are trying to help the inmate prepare for. It is when they are first released and are in transition into society. Students need training in how they can help prepare inmates for this period. Many inmates return to prison from this state.

  • Long Term Inmate State - This is the state you want the inmates to be in. They have been released for some time and have worked their way back into a productive life in society. Behavioral and Psychology classes may help the student help the inmate prepare for this state.

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