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Officers from Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, Department of Corrections Unite for Fall Conference

Highlights:

  • Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles and Alabama Department of Corrections officers and employees united for the 2021 Alabama Council on Crime and Delinquency Fall Conference.
  • The event provided an opportunity for learning and collaboration for Alabama’s agencies and organizations serving justice-involved individuals.
  • Several high-profile speakers presented, including Gov. Kay Ivey, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and bestselling author Damon West.

Officers and employees of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles and the Alabama Department of Corrections united for the 2021 Alabama Council on Crime and Delinquency Fall Conference. The conference took place Sunday through Wednesday in Orange Beach, Ala., consisting of events to unify law enforcement officers and employees in Alabama state agencies. The conference was an opportunity for learning and collaboration for Alabama’s agencies and organizations serving justice-involved individuals.

Throughout the event, officers were visibly enthusiastic while learning about their counterparts’ roles, both inside and outside their home agencies. Bureau Director Cam Ward said, “I am proud to see so much enthusiasm from the officers and staff of the Bureau and the Alabama Department of Corrections as they united and got to know each other better in our combined efforts to reduce recidivism.”

The event welcomed many special guests, including Gov. Kay Ivey and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth. Both spoke on the optimism they feel as the Bureau and ADOC continue to work together more closely in support of mutual goals.

ACCD President and Bureau District Manager Kristi Smith said, “It was an honor to have great leadership come out to speak with and train our officers. I appreciate the support of the businesses and communities across the state that have helped with the conference. ACCD has been around for 72 years providing training and a network base for the criminal justice field across the state, and I’m happy to see the growth and support of the organization.”

A highlight of the conference was attendees welcoming bestselling author Damon West, who spoke about his changed life after spending seven years in a Texas maximum-security prison. His message encouraged many after the presentation, with employees telling each other to “be a coffee bean,” a reference to West’s often repeated mantra.

After the conference, West said, “Every person needs to know their jobs matter. This presentation was special to me, as a parolee, to tell the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles and Alabama Department of Corrections that they are the face of hope for so many men and women.” To learn more about Damon West, visit: https://damonwest.org/.

Two sets of concurrent workshops, facilitated by subject matter experts, also provided opportunities for officers to receive required continuing education credits. The first session gave officers the option of attending presentations from Allison Dearing, Executive Director of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center, speaking on domestic violence prevention or Trisha Cater, Deputy Director of the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services, detailing Alabama’s Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act. Likewise, the second session gave officers the option of attending presentations on gangs or the dark web, from, respectively, ADOC Director of Law Enforcement Services Arnaldo Mercado or Turning Point Executive Director Derek Osborn.

The three-day event was packed with Alabama leaders who prepared training presentations for our officers and employees. These experts included Alabama District Attorneys Association Director Barry Matson, Clinical Director of Behavioral Health Services at the Alabama Department of Youth Services Dr. Scott D. Holmes, Executive Director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission Bennet Wright, Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Chris McCool, and Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon.

The Bureau expresses their gratitude to the following for making this event a success: Gov. Kay Ivey and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, ADOC Commissioner Jefferson Dunn, the vendors who provided resources for this event and services to our offices, and each of the event presenters. We also gratefully acknowledge Alabama Council on Crime and Delinquency President Kristi Smith, along with all the members who serve on the ACCD Board and various committees, whose efforts made this event a success. For more on the ACCD, visit: https://www.accdonline.org/.

ACCD President Kristi Smith with Gov. Kay Ivey
ACCD President Kristi Smith with Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth
Bestselling author Damon West speaking to attendees
Event attendees
Motivational presenter Dr. Scott D. Holmes, Clinical Director of Behavioral Health Services at the Alabama Department of Youth Services
Speaker Allison Dearing, Executive Director of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center
Trisha Cater, Deputy Director of the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services, speaking to a group
Judge Chris McCool speaking to attendees
From left: Bureau Director Cam Ward, Judge Chris McCool, ADOC Commissioner Jefferson Dunn, Executive Director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission Bennet Wright