Thursday, July 9, 2015

Networking Wardens and Staff at CMIT

After almost six years with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), Ashley Koonce has found her way into program coordination at the Correctional Management Institute of Texas (CMIT), serving wardens, senior level staff, the Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI), and the Annual Gangs Conference.

“I love it,” said Koonce of her new role as Project Coordinator. “I love learning new things and I feel like being able to provide training to others is my niche. I like to learn, and I like to see other people learn. It’s great to be able to take part and facilitate that.”

Before joining CMIT, she served in the Rehabilitation Programs Division at the TDCJ, coordinating volunteer efforts to assist with the rehabilitation of offenders and multiple special programs and projects. In her role, she managed and addressed a wide variety of issues, including a Divisional Business Risk Assessment, Incident Command Procedures, and policies and procedure writing and oversight of multiple programs, such as the Darrington Unit Seminary College. During her tenure, she helped coordinate several projects across multiple divisions and agencies, a skill that will come in handy in juggling training programs.

“After six years in the (Texas Department of) Criminal Justice, I hope I can help provide continuing education and training to other criminal justice professionals,” Koonce said.

Koonce will oversee the Wardens Peer Interaction Program, which is cosponsored by the North American Association of Wardens & Superintendents (NAAWS). This program is designed for wardens and superintendents, including deputy or assistant wardens and superintendents. It provides an excellent opportunity for participants to interact with their peers to discuss current management and direction for prison/jail operations and programs as well as time to explore best practices and prepare strategies for handling critical correctional challenges. She also handles the Senior Level Correctional Leadership Development Program, which aims to equip selected participants with the necessary correctional knowledge from an academic research standpoint and with the necessary leadership skills from a practitioner perspective that are required for senior level corrections leaders.

Koonce is also responsible for the Annual Gangs Conference, which shares information on the latest trends and information available on gangs with corrections personnel, law enforcement officers, district attorneys’ offices and schools.

Koonce also serves as the Secretariat to APAI, a global organization dedicated to public safety and successful offender reentry through training, education, promotion of best practices, technical assistance and support.

“We are excited that Ashley has joined our CMIT team,” said Doug Dretke, Executive Director of CMIT. “She has significant experience and background from her tenure with the Rehabilitation and Programs Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and has a passion for professional development within our profession. She definitely increases and enhances our ability to serve the correctional profession through service, training, and professional development programming."

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