share problems, to get
acquainted with workers in private agencies and allied fields and to help train
and inform lay workers. Shared knowledge and experience strengthened the
administration of the total welfare program in local areas.
Chief Probation Officers
from all parts of the state began attending and some joined the Washington
Association of Social Welfare. Out of "get-togethers" of some of these officers
at conferences, a Probation Officers Association was formed. At first, it was
quite an informal organization without a written Constitution or By-Laws, but
was close-knit and made up almost entirely of Chief Probation Officers.
In 1939, a study was made of
Juvenile Courts in Washington. The study was highly critical of many of the
Juvenile Courts as compared with national standards, and set off a lot of
publicity about the extent of delinquency, inadequate personnel and poor
detention facilities. It put a lot of Chief Probation Officers on the
defensive, and soon they began meeting regularly with duly elected officers.
Enlarged membership in the Association followed shortly thereafter with the
inclusion of Adult Probation and Parole and institutional and correctional
personnel of various field staffs.
The first written
Constitution of the Association was drawn up and adopted in November of 1947.
It was a simple, one-sheet affair, defining the name, purpose, membership,
officers and meeting times. The following year the document was formalized to
include three officers and an executive board. This Constitution provided for
Association Membership without power to vote or hold office, "for any resident
of Washington interested in the work of the Association and willing to
participate in its program and further its objectives."
For some time there had been
consistent requests to widen full membership and a new Constitution was prepared
in 1955 which provided for Sections of interest and geographical regions. This
gave a greatly augmented membership opportunity to reach meeting places more
easily and less expensively. An attempt was also made to change the name from
Washington Probation and Parole Association to Washington Correctional
Association, but this was not effected until 1961. By that time, the National
Probation and Parole Association had become the National Council on Crime and
The Association was active
in requesting funds through the N.C.C.D. to establish a citizens committee in
the state. That Washington Citizens Committee has since become the Washington
Council on Crime and Delinquency. An annual Juvenile Court reporting system was
established in the 1950's through the efforts of the Association and the newly
established Division of Children and Youth. The Newsletter, (now the PROBE),
was implemented to serve as a communication vehicle for the membership.
During the 1960's,
correctional agencies at all levels grew rapidly, and as a result, staff
training as well as many other functions formerly provided by the Association,
have been assumed by them. The need for change within the Association resulted
in the formation of a Revision Committee in 1969, which made several
recommendations to the membership to broaden the scope of the Association and
streamline many of its operations. By the vote at the annual business meeting
in Richland in October of 1969, changes in the Constitution provided a broadened
conception of the Association purpose to focus on the community, behavioral
change, and the entire correctional process. The elimination of Sections (adult
and juvenile), the strengthening of the requirements for major offices, and
regional re-alignment, provided some additional means to an integrated,
cohesive, statewide association with possibilities for a greater representation.
The field of corrections
faced major changes in the State of Washington during the 70's and 80's. State
corrections agencies were first absorbed into the Department of Social and
Health Services, an "umbrella agency," and then separated by the creation of the
Department of Corrections, with state juvenile programs remaining under DSHS.
Both juvenile and adult corrections experienced substantial change in philosophy
and procedure as a result of the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977 and the Sentencing
Reform Act of 1981, which implemented determinant sentencing in both systems.
Throughout the development of these laws, the Association interpreted bills for
its members, solicited recommendations, which were then presented to members of
the Legislature, and made numerous recommendations for needed modifications.
Due to the broad scope of
these changes, national attention was drawn to the State of Washington. The
Association, therefore, after many years of formal affiliation with both the
Western Correctional Association and the American Correctional Association,
voted to strengthen its ties on a national level by applying to the dual
membership program of ACA. Washington was accepted as a chapter state in
In an effort to become a
more forceful and effective entity, the Association began developing specific
goals and methods of implementing these goals in a variety of areas. To
maintain a special focus, a mission statement was adopted and incorporated into
the Preamble to the Constitution and By-Laws of the Association in 1985. That
statement is as follows:
"To provide information, education and
leadership for members and the community in order to promote an effective criminal