20 Years of the ICPA

20 Years of ICPA Commitment to Improving Outcomes

From a few dozen people gathering to discuss common corrections issues in 1998 to a multi-day conference of more than 500 professionals from over 60 countries – the ICPA has established itself as a difference maker.

As an organization committed to bringing together executives to discuss and understand some of the most pressing challenges facing corrections leadership around the world, the International Corrections and Prisons Association has been making a difference for 20 years. The annual conference, combined with regional technology and research gatherings, enables public policy experts, academics, technology specialists and corrections agency innovators to present the results of research and projects that have had a positive impact on the understanding and delivery of correctional services – many of which are focused on ways to improve offender outcomes and reduce the stigma of incarceration for former offenders.

As we approach the 20th annual conference in Montreal in October, it is important to underscore the importance of the work the ICPA does, and the benefits that come from connecting with like-minded professionals from around the world. Our own participation over the years has helped us to establish a strong network of agencies, advisors and partners, enabling valuable insights on all aspects of correctional business. And for Abilis, which has been an active sponsor of the ICPA for more than a decade, this year’s event is particularly special, as it will take place in our hometown.

The theme for 20th Annual Conference is ‘Beyond Prisons: The Way Forward’.  Jointly hosted by Correctional Service Canada, the ICPA has structured a conference agenda that will challenge participants’ thinking about the primary philosophies, strategic direction, policies and practices in their own jurisdictions, and how they compare to innovations from around the world. Key agenda topics will include:

  • Policies, programs and practices aimed at making imprisonment and community supervision both more humane and effective
  • Research to practice – emphasizing lessons learned in the implementation of evidence-based practice and examples of successful, integrated and sustainable strategies
  • Community engagement and how to do it effectively
  • Staff commitment and retention
  • Technology innovation including how to use it to further humanize correctional efforts

Corrections agencies everywhere face common, yet complex, challenges: ensuring offender and officer safety in secure environments; increasing the use of community-based sentencing approaches in an intelligent and safe manner; improving the likelihood of successful community re-entry for the offender; and embracing efficiency and innovation as a means of stretching constrained budgets. The leaders of these agencies are under constant scrutiny from elected officials, public policy experts, the media and others to drive improvement quickly and sustainably without compromising safety and security. Among so many pressures and competing objectives, it’s difficult to gain the perspective necessary to navigate the broad range of options an agency might want to consider for any particular issue.

Our experience is that the ICPA consistently and effectively shines a spotlight on these challenges in ways that motivate the attendees and spark meaningful dialogue among people who can make a difference. As a not-for-profit professional organization, the ICPA has built a strong network of experienced corrections, justice and public safety professionals, university academics – many of whom are globally recognized leaders in their field of research, non-profit organizations committed to assisting offenders during community re-entry, and business and technology leaders focused on innovation and service to the global corrections market. Together, the ICPA and its membership strive to put forward sustainable, evidence-based practices that will result in improvement in every aspect of the corrections domain.

We hope you will join us – along with hundreds of others – in Montreal from October 21 to 25. It is a wonderful time of year to experience the hospitality and history of our beautiful city. For more information regarding the conference and registration, please visit www.icpa.ca/montreal2018.

© 2018 Abilis Solutions. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ken McGovern

In his role as senior advisor to Abilis, Ken provides strategic advice to the executive team by leveraging his extensive correctional industry knowledge gained over more than 10 years. As vice president for marketing and sales for Abilis for nearly five years, Ken was instrumental in the company’s success in securing new corrections agency contracts. As an active member of the Corrections Technology Association (CTA) and the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA), he regularly engages with corrections business and technology leaders on their approaches to address long-term agency challenges.

Ken has more than 25 years in enterprise software markets, with emphasis in marketing, sales, product marketing and corporate strategy. He has an MBA from the University of British Columbia and a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Arizona.

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