Greetings to our AJA Members and Partners
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
by: Darren Sieger, MS, CJM

Section: President's Commentary

This edition of the American Jails Magazine is focused on veteran’s issues. To all veteran’s, active duty, and reserve military personnel, a heartfelt thank you for your service to this country. Your bravery and sacrifice does not go unnoticed. To your families, thank you for your sacrifice. Our debt to the men and women who serve this country can never be repaid. While you defend our freedom, possibly deployed in harm’s way, we are able to sleep comfortably in our beds. Taking proper care of our veteran’s when they return home is so very important. As John F. Kennedy stated, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

The American Jail Association recognizes the importance of supporting our veteran’s through various initiatives and continuously enhances our offerings either through information or resources. Our headquarters staff, Board of Directors, and Committee members continue to work on your behalf. AJA has two committees which concentrate on developing these initiatives; the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and the Staff Health and Wellness Committee. In 2021, Immediate Past President Amanda Lambert’s platform initiated the Staff Health and Wellness Committee and created the First Annual Summit with this focus, held in Columbus, Ohio during October 2021. The event was fantastic and a big success. My Presidency continues to concentrate equally on the well-being of our staff through AJA offered various workshops and guest speakers at the Second Annual Summit just held this past October. I am hopeful you were able to attend and found it to be rewarding, educational, and a lot of fun.

While our military and veteran’s protect our country and freedoms, our nation’s jail professionals serve their local community. The simple definition for service is the action of helping or doing work for someone. Regardless of your position, title, rank, sworn, civilian, vendor, or volunteer; all of you perform an incredibly valuable service for the community and the populations we serve. Over the years I have met enumerable colleagues from across this great nation who express and demonstrate  an enthusiasm and passion for service within their facilities, at the state, and national levels. Another amazing quality I have seen is the commitment to giving back to the community. You may have donated your time and unds to building a house for Habitat for Humanity, given toys to needy children during the holidays, or assisted neighboring jail colleagues who suffered through a natural disaster.

This is a perfect opportunity to acknowledge and introduce AJA Medical Director, Dr. Marc Stern. Dr. Stern is an internist with 20 years’ experience as a correctional physician in a variety of settings including as a jail medical director, a regional medical director or a state DOC, a regional medical director for a for-profit provider of health services to a state DOC, and as assistant secretary/medical director for a state DOC. He has provided consultation and assistance on correctional health care to a variety of organizations and agencies including DHS, USDOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, California Attorney General, Human Rights Watch, ACLU National Prison Project, American Jail Association, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, and Federal courts. For the past 20 years he has worked closely with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care contributing to development of their prison and jail standards, teaching the standards, conducting accreditation visits, teaching on a variety of other topics, and serving at the principal author and teacher of a week-long Executive Manager in Correctional Health Care course developed in conjunction with the National Institute of Corrections/Federal BOP. Dr. Stern also conducts research and teaches at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and chairs the Education committees of the American College of Correctional Physicians and the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health. Dr. Stern has been tremendous friend to AJA and volunteered for over a decade in various capacities. His AJA work includes being assigned for years as the medical and mental health track manager for the AJA Annual Jail Conference and Expo. He continues to use his expertise and connections to support jails and make a positive difference in the field. Thank you very much Dr. Stern!

Once again, thank you to our Veteran’s and military personnel for the selfless acts of heroism and inspiration.  

Best regards and be safe.
American Jail Association
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