“I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.” - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
In the day to day operations of risk assessment, treatment, endless documentation, meetings, violations, talk about “EBP”, strategic planning, and emails, it can be easy to forget that community corrections is always about one thing: People. Risk management, recidivism reduction, offender reentry, transition planning and regulatory compliance are all part of our work, but they are a means to an end. Your annual report includes data, trends and numbers. All represent people. People who have made bad choices (i.e., clients). The people directly impacted by those choices (i.e., victims). The people who are, at times, temporarily without a parent (i.e., children). The people working endlessly to help clients (i.e., employees). The people giving clients a second chance (i.e., employers). The people nervous about the zoning of a community corrections program near their residence (i.e., community members). The list can go on.
When something bad goes down, it makes headlines (you check them daily for your clients’ names!) However, we rarely get to see the impact we have had on people. In our renewed effort to raise the bar in community corrections, let us not forget that our clients, employees, victims and community supporters are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters. They have computer problems, relationship issues, financial problems, deaths in the family and a crappy golf game. In other words, they are a lot like us.
Like a stone tossed in still water, the ripple effects are wide. The cause often goes unnoticed, but when you help a client, you help countless other people.