Essay On Women's Center Of Jacksonville
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This paper examines the core values of the organization Women's Center of Jacksonville and checks for any ethical limitations. This organization celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. It has rendered services to the women belonging to Nassau, Duval and Baker counties. Their programs include the Women Renewed Employment Reentry Program (WRERP) that provides vocational and employability training for former women convicts who are newly released from prison. This program also enables the participants to acquire jobs and financial stability (Nelson, 2013). They have other training programs for young girls such as the GIRLS (Gaining Independence, Respect, and Learning Self-Awareness) that provide training in Arts and Crafts.
The codes of ethics that are followed by the center are dignity, integrity, balance, advocacy, respect and passion. Treating women with honor and respect is their primary ethical code. This is closely followed by the commitment to take difficult decisions in delicate situations. Providing counseling for women to make good decisions that would eventually affect their lives. A promise to work towards the empowerment of the women in the community and hold a zeal for the work that is conducted at the center (Women's Center of Jacksonville, 2015).
What ethical challenges that has surfaced?
The Women Renewed Employment Reentry Program has enabled over sixty women every year to change the course of their lives and become responsible, law-abiding citizens. However, there are a few noticeable chinks in the armor. The passion that is well advertised all over the center’s web pages holds good only on a conditional basis. The program cannot be availed by someone who had a rap sheet as a minor. The most vulnerable section of the crimes committed is by juvenile offenders; the girls are specific targets for all kinds of criminal activity. Yet, this organization does not have any programs for them. While the GIRLS program exists for young girls especially teenagers; such options are not available for female juvenile offenders. The reason seems to be very evident. The GIRLS program has a cost of $1000 per student (inclusive of materials and textbooks). Although the organization is recipient of over $700,000 in funding from the government every year, they do not have the option of taking on juvenile girl offenders.
The next aspect of their Women Renewed Employment Reentry Program that has a flawed approach is the selection of newly released offenders only. There are several women in Jacksonville who want to turn their lives around but do not have the means of funding themselves through college or night school. Yet, the choice selection of only newer reentry female inmates is a cause for worry. The choice selection not only questions the zeal factor that is so widely publicized by the organizational website; it also raises the question of the commitment that the organization has towards reducing the involvement of women in criminal activities.
All nonprofit organizations face the dilemma of shrinking finances and the need to expand. The Women's Center of Jacksonville is no different. Their annual report is very differently portrayed. Community colleges and other government aided organizations have detailed descriptions of the expanses and costs incurred during a fiscal year. Although they make a note of generous contributions, they do not differentiate the donors based on race. The chart for contributors is divided into Caucasian, African American, Asian American, Native American and multiracial communities. An organization that spreads the message of equality among the genders is somehow divided on racial lines among contributions received. These contributions only account for 15% of the total income gained by the organization. In addition, the Women's Center of Jacksonville operates only within the confines of select locations geographically. Do they not foresee racial divides within the participants if the contributions towards the organization are split across race?
What does current field research suggest for improving the ethical behaviors of the personnel in the organization?
The Women's Center of Jacksonville has its share of ethical behaviors and is not immune to the factors that affect the world around it. Yet this organization helps over 10,000 women and girls every year. This number is significantly higher than those processed by federal and state run halfway houses. The success rate exhibited by the participants of this organization is almost unachievable if attempted by correctional programs. Hence, there is no legitimate reason to condemn them over a few unethical practices. However, these practices could create a rift between the communities and staff in the long term. The following are recommendations that the organization can implement to increase the length of their arms and aid helpless girls/women.
The first recommendation is to select five girls with nonviolent rap sheets from the state’s juvenile detention centers for every batch of the GIRLS program. These girls need to inculcate confidence to reenter society and their neighborhoods with new skills that will enrich them. The second recommendation is to allow all willing ex-offenders to get involved in the Women Renewed Employment Reentry Program. Technically, the women who had failed to make any headway towards the right career path since their release from prison are all eligible since none of them made credible reentry. The final recommendation is to have the racial divide contribution chart removed. This chart sends a lot of wrong signals by denoting the Caucasian population as the leading contributors. The African American and Hispanic communities require a lot of attention especially in the area of women’s empowerment. The last thing they want is for these minorities to turn those away help because a chart was divided across race.
What have other agencies tried? Did it work? Why or why not?
The state and federal correctional systems have collaborations with faith and nonprofit organizations to enable ex-offenders who reenter society upon release. However, despite government funding, most of these organizations were unable to make any inroads; especially for female offenders. The solutions offered are drug rehabilitation, vocational courses and select occupations that are sponsored by the faith organization or church. The drawback in this is the number of people to be processed (Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2008). None of these organizations are equipped to handle selective problems and provide custom counseling. Generic counseling sessions are ineffective since the problems of each individual are different despite their sentence or crimes are identical (Weathersbee, 2009). There is no training provided that allows the participants to gauge the world along with its opportunities with the individual skills that they possess. Hence the scope for successful rehabilitation and reentry is hampered.
Women's Center of Jacksonville Staff (2015). About the Women's Center of Jacksonville. Retrieved from: http://www.womenscenterofjax.org/about.shtml
Nelson, Keitha (2013). Women's center starts new program for ex-offenders. Retrieved from: http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/local/2014/01/18/4616015/
Council of State Governments Justice Center Staff (2008). Reentry Partnerships: a Guide for states & faith-Based and Community organizations. Council of State Governments Justice Center. New York: New York.
Weathersbee, Tonyaa (2009). Local inmate re-entry center only first step in true reform. Retrieved from: http://jacksonville.com/opinion/columnists/tonyaa_weathersbee/2009-08-18/story/local_inmate_re_entry_center_only_first_step_
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