On Monday, June 15, NCIA will celebrate our 43rd Anniversary of providing human services, criminal justice services and public policy advocacy. Over the past four plus decades I have been proud of our work, and that pride continues through this day, especially with the effort everyone has shown through this Covid-19 pandemic. Many agencies closed completely, and remain closed, while we have adapted our services and continue to honor our mission to take care of those most vulnerable. Our staff in all programs have been diligent in coming to work, maintaining “touch points” with all of our individuals and following the safety protocols that we put in place over three months ago.
On the opposite side of this page, you will see a timeline of NCIA’s programs over the years. It is a remarkable story of our journey, beginning with Dr. Jerry Miller and myself in June 1977. During our journey we have developed programs in over 20 states, focusing on our core principles of individualized planning, unconditional care and working for those individuals other programs refuse to serve. We have literally changed the lives of tens of thousands of people we have served through our panoply of services. We have helped states to close juvenile prisons, mental hospitals and other institutions that destroyed lives, while developing community based alternatives with caring and dedicated staff. We have taken on the responsibility of providing an educational environment for those students rejected by the traditional school districts. And we have become nationally recognized experts in suicide prevention in jails and prisons, as well as sentencing advocacy.
In addition to our direct service work, NCIA has also been a national voice in the public policy arena, particularly around the issues of racial justice. As mentioned previously, as far back as 1992 NCIA conducted studies regarding the disparate number of African American men impacted by the criminal justice system. We have sponsored conferences aimed at issues such as the need for rehabilitation and the release of elderly inmates. We have partnered with the State of Maryland to develop programs for repeat offenders. And Dr. Miller was a tireless writer and advocate for fundamentally changing the racism in the criminal justice system through his books: “Search and Destroy: African American Males in the Criminal Justice System” in 1996 and again in 2011.
None of this would have been possible without you and the thousands of NCIA alumnae who have been part of our NCIA family over the past 43 years. NCIA today has more than 150 staff members that have been here more than 10 years working tirelessly to achieve our quest. The commitment to our mission and our core values are critical to our success, and I am grateful and blessed to be able to say without equivocation that we rank in the upper echelon of human service agencies.
As we enter our 44th year of service (and our 14th week of the COVID-19 pandemic) we are announcing some safe residential visitation procedures in our adult programs. Additionally, we are opening new cohorts in our Vocational Training Centers in Charlotte and Baltimore, where we will training over 200 new students. As the rules get a bit more relaxed, please continue to stay safe and follow the NCIA procedures and protocol. They have gotten us this far safely, so now is not the time to relax.
With thanks for your commitment and continued gratitude—
Herb Hoelter, CEO